Children’s Lit Class Updated: Classic Fairy Tales

The Classic Fairy Tales (Second Edition) (Norton Critical Editions)I am so enjoying this class!!  Re-reading fairy tales has been such an interesting experience as the tales are often dark, reflect few choices for women and, in the tales of HC Anderson have a lot of religious undertones.  I don’t think that I noticed any of that when I was a child.

Yesterday we spent a lot of time talking about Hansel and Gretel.  They were described as tricksters; they used their wits in order to survive and trick the witch.  An interesting note provided by the professor was that in the original folk tales many of the wicked parents were the children’s biological mothers.  However, as time passed, tale tellers did not want to condemn mothers and so we began to read about the many wicked stepmothers.  Also pointed out from H and G was the importance of food and how food was scarce for many at the time that the tale was first told.  An additional take was that there was more danger for children who were without their mothers.

We also began a discussion of The Little Mermaid which is not very much like the Disney movie.  It was noted that Anderson wrote his stories and that they did not come from folklore.  Anderson had greater powers of description and gave more of the character’s inner thoughts than earlier writers.  Religion was very present in the story.

Try rereading some fairy tales and let me know what you think.  i have been fascinated.  Next week we move to Alice in Wonderland.  I am excited.

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