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Thread: Does Brothers Grimm fairy tales teach us some purports about Life in its tales?

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    Does Brothers Grimm fairy tales teach us some purports about Life in its tales?

    I've read a National Geographic magazine article in my teenage which carried a cover story saying the importance of 'Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales' in the history of literature. It said that those tales have a lot to teach about life and well being to us all. I've started reading a volume of those tales and realized some very important things about goodness of life in those tales.

    Here I'm giving the list of all the tales from the book. Please post the purports you realized if any from those classic tales. This is my research on the ancient folklore literature. Thank You so much.


    [I thought of posting the complete list of tales, but it seemed a bit too long that people would be bored of scrolling it down, so I'm just posting a url that contained both the list and the tales themselves.]

    Complete List: http://www.familymanagement.com/lite...rimms-toc.html

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Of course the Grimm's tales tend to be darker than the permutations that make it to us as wee ones, or to Disney films. As far as morals go, or life lessons: like all folklore, the initial stories were invented with some instructional purposes in mind. Such themes that come up often in these tales as "don't trust strangers" or the importance of family, or overcoming fear &c.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    Grimm's versions are already modified for their purpose (for pedagogy, for germany, with burgouise mindset, etc)....

    we have Red Hood, the mother is more adamant on her preucations, the hunters (the addult presence, also a form of police at the time), the happy ending (if compared to Perrault open and erotic end), changes the tale enough.

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    You are right that they teach about life, but the brothers Grimm, as JCamilo said, already changed the fairytales to make them more acceptable (or obvious) to their public. If you read older versions like Sleeping Beauty in its medieval Italian version, it's quite harsh, puberty. Get raped when you are innocently sleeping and only wake up (not smelling the coffee ) when you've already got two babies. The Grimms take the focus away from puberty and sex to love. Typically romantic.

    I believe fairytales, loose from their version, speak rather in symbols and they are mostly about crucial phases in life or about life's issues (riches, beauty, etc.). There are a substancial amount of women spinning wool, for example. Even in the 19th century, that practice was going out of use and out of the general image in society, but it still remained a thing and activity firmly part of 'woman' because it had been one since Celtic times (there were even godesses) and thus, women spinning in fairytales are women who are making their lives (the thread). It's a kind of magic action.

    You could probably find many more of these type characters.

    There is a list somewhere of fairytales according to 'type' (i.e. girls lost in a wood, princesses locked up in towers, sleeping beauties, etc.), from all over the world. Proving of course that these type characters are a worldwide phenomenon and not a mere European one. Very intersting.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    I'm currently in a class focused on the Brother's Grimm tales and yes, there are of course many lessons and morals to the tales. Two popular tale types are the Cinderella, which tends to involve abusive/jealous (step)mothers and sisters, with an absence of male roles; and Catskin, which involves the sexual desires of a (step) father toward his daughter. Some common themes are betrayal, justice, ability to follow rules, etc. In my opinion, while the tales are interesting in their historical context, they are quite boring to read, as they are intended for children. The morals and lessons are painfully obvious and repetition is used often to reiterate them. Also, many of the tales overlap, dealing with the same themes and morals.

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    The overlapping could be because the brothers Grimm set out to collect the folk-fairytales (Volksmärchen) from all over the German laguage area. So, logically, the one region would have had its Cinderella-like story and the other one too, with minor changes. Really small changes they included in footnotes (for example, I think I can recall a footnote that in another region so-and-so Red Riding Hood's woolf was not killed by the hunter, but chased away), but bigger ones like the Cinderella story with lentils, as opposed to the one with the frock in the tree and the blood in the shoe, as opposed to the one we know from Disney would have been recorded in three separate ones.

    I agree that often things are repeated, although the number three seems to be a recurrent one in tales of all sorts. Of course, telling it to your children or grandchildren, would not make it as boring as reading it three times over in the very same wordings. Although most of the tales are not really long anyway.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    I am not so sure whether tales teach me much about well being and life. I believe it is within us to detect what is dangerous and what isn't.
    Humans are equipped well enough to know where not to go.
    However I fell fairy tales such as the grimm brothers only set out to use what we already now as predatory danger to write tales about it and get a reaction from their readers.
    It plays on the scarce element to write stories and not the other way to sway us from danger.
    A bit like horror films. The gorriet the better because humans have tendencies to want to experiment with the unusual to want to scare themselves but with the added security of their living room. Why? I have no idea.
    I think the Brothers Grimm tales exploit the notion of fear that is within us and take it one step further into the ether of the unknown. Provocation of fear does not satisfy wisdom or moral lessons but distort a reality that otherwise is remedied with rationality and reasoning.
    Tales such as these I feel shrowd the intellect with doubts and irrationality and stops the inner reflective sense from reacting swiftly and naturally.
    Tales such as this I see as a deterent to our instinctive healthy development.
    I want to read about stuff that are happy to digest in orde to empower me more with reasonable assurances that life is not a bad wolf waiting to jump on a being and at a random pace.
    Last edited by cacian; 10-27-2012 at 09:45 AM.
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    I suspect they do.

    There's probably a lot on there in the underlying theme.

    But need to analyze each one to say exactly what. A job for some masters/phd student.

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    There's a really good discussion here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00h8t18 which may answer your question.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I spent some time in my youth with a Rudolf Steiner community. They were very big on Grimm's fairy stories and regarded them as full of ancient wisdom which was to be clarified in Steiner's own esoteric ideas (ie, the town musicans of Bremen represent the four part of a human being, the physical body (the donkey), the etheric body, the astral body and the ego (the cockerell). I must say I have my doubts.)

    Jungian analysis is very keen on the archetypes found in Grimm and Robert Bly makes one of the stories, Iron John, the basis of his study of masculinity.
    Previously JonathanB

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    I remember Grimms brothers Fairy Tales by Disney's movies, but I had never read all the stories. When I compared Disney's movies with real tales, I found a lot of differences. Grimms tales are darker and sad, and some authors believe that these stories were made to scare young people instead of entertaining them. However, I enjoy reading and recommend a lot this collection.

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    Links to Brothers Grimm

    This link is of interest: http://www.rhymes.org.uk. It gives some ideas of what lay behind some of them.

    Here is an example - http://www.rhymes.org.uk/who_killed_****_robin.htm. There are many more.

    Some are clearly written the way they are because of censorship. That is, the rhymes are about people who had a mythical status, like Robin Hood, in the above example. Others are about illnesses like plague, other about step-parents and their step-children.

    Jonathan B. mentions Rudolph Steiner, and I agree, as we have lived in Steiner communities.

    All in all a fascinating thread, pity I found it so late, its a couple of years old.

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    In the movie Shrek, Cinderella was described as sushi-loving by the Magic Mirror on the Wall to Lord Farquard. Could anyone please explain the sushi connection?

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    Can be just a random joke, albeit the chinese "cinderella", has a fish helping the girl, no?

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    Some decades ago the Austrian psychologist Bruno Bettleheim came out with "The Uses of Enchantment" in which he espoused exploiting fairy tales for their symbolic value, thus contributing to the emotional development of children. To me, that theory is all wet, mainly because literature should not be forced to "earn its keep." Ol' Bruno was already on my s-list for his wacko opinions about autism. "Refrigerator Mothers" --my foot!

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