Fairytales and Folktales

analytical Essay
2801 words
2801 words

Fairytales and folktales have been told around the campfire, in the living room, the class room, and before bedtime for centuries. First told orally, the “… stories had to have remarkable features in order to remain memorable (Nodelman 246).” These stories were passed down from storyteller to audience until they were eventually written down and collected for consumption by the public. Due to the passing of time and fallibility the stories have changed throughout the years and slightly differ from culture to culture, however, “Stories similar to “Cinderella” can be found in historical records from as far back as the seventh century, and from a variety of places around the world (Nodelman 246).” Although the classic tales differ in various ways from their modern counterparts (such as Disney films, etc.), the characters and their journeys are still very much identifiable. For centuries, fairytales have been used for instruction; to teach children what is expected of them as they age and what terrors behold them if they do not comply with the guidelines laid out for them by their culture/society. Many of the tales were purposely frightful in order to scare children away from strangers, dark corners, and traveling off the beaten path into the dark thicket. Charles Perrault first began writing fairy tales in the late 17th century to educate his children. The morals of those tales often center on what is expected of young women; that they should remain ‘pure’ and ‘docile’. He wrote the tales in a time period when fairytales or ‘jack’ tales were looked at as instructional lessons. They were also widely told around the fire, as entertainment, for adults. Angela Carter adapted Perrault’s classic tales in the 1970’s; changing the victim... ... middle of paper ... ...the end of the 1960’s – the mid 1970’s) was a revolutionary time period for women. In America, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected women from workplace discrimination and Roe v. Wade, 1973, guaranteed a woman’s right to choose when to be pregnant. In England, for the first time, a law was passed guaranteeing equal pay to women in Britain’s civil service (Women’s International Center 1). Carter, herself, was a self proclaimed feminist; she once said, “The Woman’s Movement has been of immense importance to me personally, and I would regard myself as a feminist writer, because I’m a feminist in everything else and one can’t compartmentalize these things in one’s life (Gamble 15).” Her writing began to be viewed, and still is viewed as feminist literature adored by college students, especially those concentration in gender related studies, and the literati alike.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that fairy tales and folktales have been told around the campfire, in the living room, and before bedtime for centuries. due to the passing of time and fallibility, the stories have changed throughout the years.
  • Explains how charles perrault began writing fairy tales in the late 17th century to educate his children.
  • Analyzes how charles perrault wrote for children as means of instruction, gender role enforcement, cultural pride, and entertainment. however, angela carter adapted his tales 300 years later for adults.
  • Explains that perrault invented the fairy tale, children's stories, in a time period in france in which feminine chastity was honorable, respected, and expected.
  • Explains that charles perrault was born into a bourgeois parisian family and socialized with the people of france, from the citizens to the royalty.
  • Explains that sex was a powerful hypocritical force in france during the age of seduction, when young girls were taught that their worth was in their virginity or pureness.
  • Analyzes how perrault cloaked his heroine in red, the color of scandal and blood, suggesting the girl’s sin and foreshadowing her fate. her chaperon, or hood, acquired the meaning in english, which it already possessed in french.
  • Analyzes how charles perrault's "little red riding hood" begins with describing our innocent/ignorant young star as a village girl, the prettiest you can imagine. the wolf that little red meets is not in disguise.
  • Analyzes how perrault's moral to the tale was to instruct young women of the dangers of communication with men and sexual knowledge and experience.
  • Analyzes how maria tatar and the other authors write cerebrally about the most basic of tales. the criticism for the sexist themes is sharp, especially in "little red riding hood."
  • Analyzes how charles perrault's "bluebeard" is a more horrific tale than "little red riding hood" and stands as cautionary tale against marriage.
  • Analyzes the story of "bluebeard" by charles perrault. the gruesome character proposes to two sisters and leaves the choice to them of who would become his wife.
  • Analyzes how bluebeard tells his young wife that he must leave on a business related trip, handing her keys, and telling her not to open the tiny door with the smallest key or she will feel his impenetrable wrath.
  • Analyzes how perrault's eloquent moral suggests to readers, especially those who are female, to restrain their curiosity or a swift and cruel punishment may be delivered.
  • Argues that while many literary critics and historians believe serial killers inspired this tale, others believe that it is folkloric; its origin resides with women and girls, a cautionary tale told to young girls about marriage.
  • Analyzes how angela carter's story, the magic toyshop, was given a 20th century facelift, changing the victim to the heroine and the villain into the fallen.
  • Explains that the 1960s – 1970s were revolutionary times for women. the civil rights act of 1964 protected women from workplace discrimination and roe v. wade, 1973, guaranteed equal pay to women in britain's civil service.
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