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  • Titill er á ensku The Impact of Fairy Tales. An Exploration of the Relationships of Parents and Children in Selected Fairy Tales
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    This essay explores the relationships of parents and children as demonstrated in a few selected folk fairy tales, with regard to the ideas of the child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, Freudian psychoanalytic theory, as well as the feminist theories of Sandra Gilbert, Susan Gubar and Julia Kristeva. The child protagonists in fairy tales and the influence their personal burdens and victories have on the young listeners of the stories are discussed, and the effects of introducing parental figures as antagonists or serious villains are considered. The power relationships between adults and children are discussed, as well as the ways fairy tales can help children come to terms with their position in the social hierarchy of their lives. Oppressive parental figures are then considered further as the evil Queen of “Little Snow-white” is analysed through feminist and psychoanalytic theory, and the oedipal issues suggested by Freud are applied to the relationship of Snow-white and the Queen. Freud’s theories are then explored further in regards to the tale of “Hansel and Gretel,” as children’s fears of abandonment and survival without their parents are discussed, and Bettelheim’s ideas on that particular fairy tale are considered. Hansel and Gretel’s plight, and eventual happy ending is then compared to the tragic ending of H.C. Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl,” in which the young girl’s suffering, caused by her parents’ neglect, only ceases when she finds solace in death. The religious undertones in “The Little Match Girl” make room for discussion of religious aspects of fairy tales and the Christian myth of the Fall of Man – the original sin which leads God to shun his children, Adam and Eve, and leave them to fend for themselves outside of Paradise. Lastly the Grimm’s fairy tale “The Seven Ravens” is noted for its religious implications, and characters from the tale are compared with individuals from Christian mythology.

  • 6.5.2014

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