The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim

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In "The Uses of Enchantment" writer Bruno Bettelheim states that fairy tales allow children to "find themselves" and "[...] find the other with whom they will be able to live happily ever after" (162); I agree with this because fairy tales present lessons in simple forms to help the child grasp the concepts, present daily life issues and anxieties, and allows children to understand the difference between good and bad. Fairy tales expose life in a fundamental way in which children are able to see that life is not always rainbows and unicorns. Bettelheim argues that these stories address "basic human predicaments" such as aging, death, and the pursuit of love and happiness unlike modern stories that tend to avoid them. He also states that the lessons are straightforward so that the child may understand, but are also presented in a way so that the child may think about what is correct and what isn't. In addition to Bettelheim’s argument, I believe that fairy tales are essential for a child's mind to grow and so that they may become the hero in their own story. In order for most children to understand a concept, it must be simple so that it won’t just go in one ear and out the other. Because of this fairy tales are written in in a simple form so that children may understand good is what the moral of the stories or as Bettelheim says in “the most essential form.” For example in “The Three Little Pigs,” the only house that remains standing is the one made out of bricks. This teaches children that with hard work and effort one may triumph. The other two houses made by the lazy pigs were destroyed because the pigs did not try hard enough to make them last and so the wolf blew them over. The moral in this story is very simple an... ... middle of paper ... them towards a happier and more satisfying life through growth from them. In his essay, Bettelheim argued that fairy tales were essential in a child’s life in order for them to achieve their happy ending. I can agree with his statements because of the fundamental concepts that they have which guides children to become mature and happy adults. Children see that the hero goes through problems like theirs, which then makes them look up to the hero. Once the hero becomes someone they look up to, the child will want to follow the examples that are set forth by the hero. Through morals learned in these fairy tales, children also have a better understanding of what decisions are right and wrong. Whether it be “Peter Pan” or any other fairy tale, children learn valuable lessons that help them grow. These stories teach lessons to kids that can last a lifetime.
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