Fairy Tales: Good or Bad

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There is no denying that fairy tales are a major part of our society, especially when it comes to children. The countless number of bedtime stories we were told as children left fun and whimsical tales of beautiful princesses, strong and heroic knights, dragons, and handsome princes swarming in our heads, but do those stories give off the right message? Do we convey the right message to our children, and how is it that the seemingly harmless stories that we all enjoyed as kids could actually be harmful? Maria Tatar, an American academic whose expertise lies in children's literature, German literature, and folklore and is Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, explores these questions and many more in her article An Introduction to Fairy Tales. Throughout Tatar’s article she tackles the developmental issues that result due to fairy tales, how fairy tales control behavior instead of teaching morals, and the irrefutable theme that beauty brings happiness. When it comes to a child’s moral development a parent always wants to make sure that his or her child is on the right path, but does that path involve fairy tales? Some experts say yes, “Research suggests that moral reasoning can be examined in youngsters and that reading experiences between an adult and child, especially with fairy tales, can have a positive influence on a child's moral development.” (Jackson 1), while others say no. One of those who disagree with there being positive developmental effects from fairy tales is Arielle Schussler, who in her article The Case against Fairytales states that “Another major issue with reading fairy tales to children is the fairy tales’ tendency towards an absolutist view of good and evil.” (Schussler 1) W... ... middle of paper ... ... edge of their seats wanting more, but it is also undeniable that when fairy tales and children are left alone together messages can be misinterpreted. With fairy tales in some cases harmfully effecting children developmentally, creating a scare factor, and labeling beauty as the ultimate key to success, the conclusion to solving these issues is parent or guardian supervision and interaction. Fairy tales are not evil, and in moderation are excellent ways for children to express their imagination and creativity. Creating a positive, accepting, and interactive environment involving fairy tales where children can connect the stories to their own world is important, but we need to continue raising questions about what role fairy tales play in our lives. Things are not always the way they appear to be and not everything can end with "they all lived happily ever after".
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