• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Are fairytales 'just' stories for children? Refer to at least two tales in your answer.

Extracts from this document...


Are fairytales 'just' stories for children? Refer to at least two tales in your answer. There is a certain quality in fairy tales that enthrals us as children, and inspires us as adults. Although fairy tales do not necessarily contain fairies, they all weave a tapestry of a magical world where fairies, and other supernatural beings, are possible. The term "fairy tale" was coined in 17th century France. The French saying, "conte de f�e" was translated into the English "fairy tale". To define what fairy tale itself is, is not easy, for often the line between fairy tale, myth, folk tale, and legend blurs. Many have tried, but the task of setting the parameters for genres is as untidy and subjective as the knowledge of classification. However, it is generally accepted that most fairy tales have an undefined setting, "once upon a time" and "in a land far away", as well as characters with archetypical, static personalities. The study of fairy tales is, nowadays, usually associated with study of children's literature, and it is understandable. However, for the first thousand years or more of their existence, fairy tales were part of an oral tradition that was told by adults, to adults. Stories descended through generations by being told and passed from one person to another, as part of a communal bonding process. ...read more.


And today, because of the dominance of the culture industry, the Disney version, based on Perrault, has in turn become the standard story. "Aschenputtel" is another version of "Cinderella", which has clear Grimm elements to it. This version of the tale is more likely to appeal to an adult audience because of the retribution visited upon the stepsisters at the end and the cruelty she experiences is identified more specifically. Unlike Perrault's version, Cinderella is punished at the end. "Little Red Riding Hood" is another one of the world's most famous fairytales. Perrault was the first to write down "Little Red Riding Hood," but the tragic ending of this version has caused some to question whether it has a genuine folk origin. Shavit argues that it is a satire about "the city gentleman who does not hesitate to take advantage of the poor village girl" and she notes an eroticism in the description of the little girl as "a specific element encouraging the satiric reading", and the moral at the end tends to reinforce it. Shavit's criticism on "Little Red Riding Hood" is leaning towards the support of an adult audience. The Grimms' version, "Little Red Cap", is less satiric, more naive, and directed to the child alone, for educational purposes. ...read more.


In these tales as in the originals, the great revelations, for good or ill, most often take place in the house, within the family - the only setting considered worthy of tragedy by the ancient Greek dramatists. Like their great predecessors, these modern fairy tales dramatize the darker side of childhood, the end of innocence. Yet some questions must be asked. Fairy tales have been an important part of cultures all over the world. They have been passed down through generations and read and reread to countless children. But do they really have any place as children's stories? This is one of the questions that has recently been pressed against them and one which is well worth asking. If children are to be presented with fairy tales, it is quite reasonable to question the effect of these stories on them. This is reasonable to ask, but the answer may not come as naturally. Children are people too. They and their reactions can be just as varied as their grown-up counterparts. Through these shades of doubt, a general statement can be made. Fairy tales can make good children stories. Whether or not adults read them, they should read and learn to understand fairy tales so that they can better comprehend the structures of literature as well as for the sake of the wonder, pleasure, and human understanding these stories can provide in their own right. 2148 words. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Geoffrey Chaucer section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. Chaucer not only ridicules tale conventions of courtly love but challenges the concept of ...

    However, irony has taken it's toll once again as it is not January who is seen to pluck a rose for May, but Damian, January's squire. May is seen to fallen for the traditional courtly romance with Damian and we now feel empathy for January.

  2. How Is The Character Of Absolon Presented In The Miller's Tale?

    their donations to the church in line 243, in conjunction with the references to his effeminacy, it is not difficult to see why he is unsuccessful. Absolon also attempts to woo Alison by acting the part of Herod in a religious play, but considering that this was a part for

  1. Write an essay on the variety of ways in which Chaucer treats the subject ...

    Similarly in the Wife of Bath's Tale, the relationship is also described as monetary bondage, "I wolde ne lenger in the bed abyde/ till he had maad his raunsoun unto me" with both parties owing a debt to the other in love.

  2. The satirically reasonable voice of Desiderius Erasmus.

    The sources for "A Pilgrimage . . ." was two pilgrimages that Erasmus and a friend made to two shrines of Our Lady of Norfolk and St. Thomas � Becket of Canterbury. Erasmus was disgusted by the fraudulent relics - the milk of our lady and the familiar wood of the true cross- (enough in Europe to build a ship)

  1. Fragmentation in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land.

    and also of Queen Elizabeth I's affair with the Earl of Leicester. The continuous change in narrative voice highlights the fragments of images that make up The Waste Land, yet it also provides a link, some common ground, between the different sections: "throughout the poem, the "I" slips from persona

  2. 'Langland's Piers Plowman greatly influenced The Canterbury Tales'. Discuss, with particular reference to estates ...

    We may find evidence of Langland's influence, however, in the portrayal of a ploughman. It is interesting that both writers should specifically choose a ploughman rather than a peasant or a labourer. The plough was an important religious symbol5 and ploughing obviously figured highly in feudal society, but there is

  1. Discuss differences in effect and structure created by the first-person narration in Dante's The ...

    This is after outliving four husbands, all of whose deaths could not be said to be unconnected to the libido and outrageous behaviour of the Wife of Bath. It should be noted that, as far as the effect of the first person narration on the structure of the Canterbury Tales

  2. What is the Merchant like?

    clayme half part al hir lyf" By reading a book that overtly attacks the sacrament of marriage, the Merchant identifies himself with those who embrace misogynistic ideas and promote them. The Merchant puts forth the view that happiness in marriage can only be achieved by self-imposed blindness.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work