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

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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 fée" 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. This made a tale subject to change, dependent on the teller's culture, values, and the desired moral lesson to be taken away by the listener. However, it was only when oral folklore was transcribed on paper that fairy tales solidified into a genre.

The reader of modern fairy tales brings to the experience a mind already well populated by stock character types. As in the tabloid press, the doings of the royals are featured, princesses are beautiful, and princes are handsome. When people have children, they usually have either one, who is long-awaited and therefore special, or three, one of whom, usually the youngest, is differentiated sharply from the other two. Adult female types are shaped by the primordial images of the good and bad mother. The mortality rate of natural mothers is high, especially in childbirth, as is their rate of prompt replacement by evil counterparts. Old women, hags and witches, have supernatural knowledge and power. The human characters of the fairy-tale world are supplemented by creatures from another world: giants, elves, fairies. The landscapes are familiar: the castle, the humble home, the fearful wilderness outside both. To a child all of these features seem magical and fantastic, however to an adult who has experienced the "real world" these fairytales can seem superficial.

Fairy tales are magical. They may provide a window to another world, a chance to look beyond the mundane. They may provide a means of relief from some of this world's troubles simply in their otherworldliness. This otherworldliness is one of the many questioned virtues of fairy tales. Some people worry that fairy tales do not give a truthful rendition of life. They fear such stories are therefore unhealthy for children. Bruno Bettelheim, an educator and therapist of severely disturbed children, confronts this misconception. Speaking of the people that fear that fairy tales are untruthful, he says, "That 'truth' in the life of a child might be different from that of adults does not occur to these people". He goes on to say that, "no sane child ever believes that these tales describe the world realistically". Children understand that fairy tales are not real. Some parents worry that telling such stories to their children constitutes lying to them. These parents' concerns are spurned on by the child asking, "Is it true?" A parent that is already convinced of the value of fairy tales has little trouble answering the child. "Such a parent is assured of the story's worth beyond its factual truth, and thus is confident that the story will still have meaning regardless".
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There have been many different fairytales, since they originated, and there have been many different versions of them. Charles Perrault wrote many fairytales, the most famous being "Cinderella" and "Little Red Riding Hood". His elegant and simple style made these tales extremely popular, and they quickly became the accepted version of the stories. These tales, as we have them today, owe their form and beauty to Perrault's magical retelling. J.R.R. Tolkien has said that Perrault's influence is "so pervasive that most people, when asked for the name of a fairy tale, will cite one of the eight stories ...

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