The Telling Nature of Fairy Tales

Powerful Essays
The Telling Nature of the Fairy Tale

Fairy tales have been part of the human experience from the beginning. Whether they have been written or oral they have been passed down for centuries. One of the most interesting features of fairy tales is how they can carry history along with them. Moving from culture to culture, decade to decade, or even century to century. Carrying with them bits and pieces of the previous cultures/times histories and values. Leaving with the new owners of the tales hints of a time past, or hints to their own cultures beginnings.

One such way that a fairy tale can shed light onto the inner workings of a culture, from a former time, is through how human relationships are dealt with in the course of the story. This can become very revealing to how relationships are valued in the culture that adapted the story into their lives, making it their own.

During the process of adapting a tale into a culture the tale is changed in minor ways in order to mirror the values and realities of the culture and society at hand. These tales become a very important tool used in the process of enculturation. The children that these stories are told to learn important values and ideals from the characters and situations found in the stories. So fairy tales not only hold a historical record of the morals and values of a given culture and society but also help in the process creating that culture at the same time. Doing double duty so to speak.

One very famous fairy tale this can be seen in is that of Cinderella. Found in the very first few sentences of the story you can find how the dissolution of marriage is viewed by the culture and society of the time it was released. We’ll talk more about this later. For now let’s lo...

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...Vol. 43, No. 9,

Supplement. 22 March 1995. Print.

Provides statistical reference for divorce rates in the United states.

Salda, Michael N.. The Cinderella Project. de Grummond Children’s Literature Research

Collection, University of Southern Mississippi. Web. 27 April 2010.

Source of several historic versions of Cinderella contained in one archive.

Provides images and original text of the fairy tale.

Wolfram, Sybil. “Divorce In England 1700 – 1857.” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies.

1985; 5: 155 – 186. Print.

Gives the legalities of divorce and procedures prevalent in western culture in the

18th & early 19th centuries. Provides a look at what was culturally acceptable in terms of divorce and marriage at the different times separate versions of Cinderella were written and published.