Fairytales and Folktales Essay

Fairytales and Folktales Essay

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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...


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...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.

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