Monday, March 02, 2015 06:00
March retelling link-up | Fairytales are over?
It is March already, can you believe it? How is your progress so far, are you on schedule? Here is the master sign-up post. At the end of this post you can put links to your challenge page/post and every review you post on your blog. Please make this easy to navigate by putting it like this:
UPDATE @ your name/blog name.
REVIEW – book title @ your name/blog name.
Don't forget to check out Away to whimsical fairy tale land. In this event people will analyze fairy tales and their meaning & retellings. This sounds perfect to me! I also want to link back to a post I made a while back, you might be interested in it: a fairytale survey. Also, don't forget to use the hash tag #FairytaleRC so I can keep up with all your tweets.
“The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.” - Tolkien.
Today I want to start a discussion about the fact that a lot of people feel that fairytales have lost their magic or that they should be forbidden because of the wrong message they give to children.
UChicago scholar of Renaissance and contemporary culture and early-modern Italian literature Maggie believes that fairytales have lost their magic. He calls it an ‘exhausted art-form’ and now I quote from the Uchicago article: “The glass slippers and poison apples, the evil stepmothers and fairy godmothers and princes charming—and the kisses that lead to happily ever after—these things no longer exert much imaginative or intellectual force.” He feels it’s time for new stories, because “It’s just that the stories we’ve been using—mythic stories, fairy tales, legends—they’re not working anymore. We need something new. What we long for is a remythologization of reality.”
In a way, I get where the is going. It’s true that we are reusing old stories, but based on selling numbers I say that these stories still work for us. Movies and books nowadays are also often about the same topics and use the same basic things. Superhero movies use the same principle and yet, we seem to long for this. Why would it be so bad to use ‘unimaginative stories’ to create something new? I think it's great when you can make something new and refreshing. Taking inspiration from other stories and creating your own content is a challenge and I think there is nothing wrong with re-using older stories if you make it your own. I think fairytales are ageless stories that will survive like all classics as Pride and Prejudice & Romeo and Juliet. They will always stay magical to me and their messages will always be important to remember.
This article in The Telegraph even shares a list of fairytales that are no longer read to children, with the main reason that they are too scary.
1. Hansel and Gretel - Details two kids abandoned in the forest and likely to scare young children
2. Jack and the Beanstalk - Deemed too 'unrealistic'.
3. Gingerbread Man - Would be uncomfortable explaining gingerbread man gets eaten by a fox
4. Little Red Riding Hood - Deemed unsuitable by parents who have to explain a young girl's grandmother has been eaten by a wolf.
5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves - the term dwarves was found to be inappropriate
6. Cinderella - Story about a young girl doing all the housework was outdated.
7. Rapunzel - Parents were worried about the focus on a young girl being kidnapped.
8. Rumplestiltskin - Wouldn't be happy reading about executions and kidnapping
9. Goldilocks and the Three Bears - Sends the wrong messages about stealing
10. Queen Bee - Inappropriate as the story has a character called Simpleton ENDS
Sure, the original fairytales have a grim and dark tone, but I grew up with the mild version (like Disney) and toned down stories. Later on I moved forward to the original tales and I never found any of these scary or strange. This was an interesting article: Fairy tales or scary tales: Should we sanitize stories for our kids? and I have to agree with Prof. Zipes, who says the following: "the notion that we should shield children from dark fairy tales is “hypocritical – the honest thing is to tell children violence does occur. The world is filled with struggle and conflict.”
When I read Cinderella I was enchanted by the fact that she turned into a princess by a fairy. Hansel & Gretel was a movie I loved, because it was so exciting when they were captured by the witch. Rapunzel; such a beautiful hair! I think we put too much thought into these tales and prevent children from finding out on their own what crosses their lines. I think children will see more scary things on TV and I think they can handle more than we think. I also believe they don’t see the stories the way we see them, because of their own imagination and innocence.
The last thing I want to share with you is this: On fairy stories. I could not say it any better than this.
Tolkien suggests that fairy stories allow the reader to review his own world from the "perspective" of a different world. This concept, which shares much in common with phenomenology, Tolkien calls "recovery," in the sense that one's unquestioned assumptions might be recovered and changed by an outside perspective. Second, he defends fairy stories as offering escapist pleasure to the reader, justifying this analogy: a prisoner is not obliged to think of nothing but cells and wardens. And third, Tolkien suggests that fairy stories (can) provide moral or emotional consolation, through their happy ending, which he terms a "eucatastrophe".
How do you feel about this? Are fairytales too much for children and out-dated?
Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.