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SUMMARY of Thursday's Conversation

After reading The Uses of Enchantment the members of our CSEM class had very different, strong reactions and opinions. 

We talked about why women were the villains in most fairytales. One idea for this was because women have always been the caregivers for children and generally men are not present in their day-to-day lives, so children have more to fear from an evil woman than an evil man.

We discussed whether or not hearing "Happily Ever After" stories was detrimental to a child's worldview. It was suggested that the fairytales always have a happy ending, and in fact if things always ended happily no one would be happy because there would be no negative experiences to compare against them. An intersting point that was raised was that children are stuck in a world where they make few decisions and have little control because the world is run for them by adults, and that fairytales illustrate negative power figures and the triumph over them. It was decided that most people can distinguish between their life and the world of imagination and niceties.

We discussed the differences between myths and fairytales, and concluded that a myth is a religious or scientific story with a value set while a fairytale is a story for everyone that contains "overt and cover" messages. 
A large part of discussion was centered around the funciton of fairytales and myths. It was decided that the function of a fairytale is to provide a feeling (uplifting, hopeful) while a myth provides understanding. From there we discussed the differences between understanding and feeling. 
Professor Grobstein ended class with the question : "Is reality a story?" 


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