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Hyperpuffball's picture

A Modern Fairy Tale

While first reading this article, I had difficulty accepting Bettelheim's analysis about why fairy tales make better children's stories than "Peter Pan" or "The Little Engine that Could". I barely remember major parts of my childhood, so I suppose that trying to think like a child again was confusing for me. It wasn't until I read his three seperate stories about children who took their influences from three different children's tales that I began to understand why he considers fairy tales so pivotal in a child's life. And I agree with him, surprisingly enough. I agree that the comforts a child can gain from a fairy tale are far healthier than from "The Little Engine that Could" or other stories.

The only thing that remains to bother me is the constant representation that a girl in a fairy tale needs a replacement for her father; that she needs a savior, a knight, a prince, a husband to be happy or content. As if marital status should determine social status. This troubles me very, very deeply. There are so many other ways to find happiness than through a man on the track to be your husband or having a baby with the person you chose as your partner. While reading this article I wished for fairy tales that could show young girls that there is more than one road to happiness and more than one goal than a family of one's own.


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