Fairy tales do matter not only in children’s lives, but also as you mature into adulthood. When you are a child you view fairy tales as a silly, light-hearted story that emphasizes important life lessons and a happily ever after. However, as you begin to mature you realize there is more to these fairy tales than what you believed as a kid. Fairy tales do shine light on life lessons including, having a kind heart, don’t be greedy, not to trust strangers, etc., but they also include deeper issues. Behind the characters and silly plot lies real life problems, such as, being kidnapped, rape, pregnancy, women being mistreated, stepfamilies, conflicting family relationships, poverty, and many more real life issues are present in fairy tales. This helps connect fairy tales to the adult audience, as you get older these problems could be more relevant in your life. We don’t notice these issues when we are kids, but as we become aware of these problems we see them present in the stories we used to think were innocent. Adults can reflect and relate to these stories and see how the character overcomes their challenges which inspires them to overcome their own challenges as well. While reading and discussing the themes and social problems of each fairy tale in class, I noticed how these stories connect to current events and are still relevant throughout all these years.
What I was surprised to learn this semester was the history of how fairy tales were told. How they started as oral tellings that were made for everyone to listen and then adapted into literary tellings; which were exclusive for people in high society and not for people who were illiterate. I also was surprised and interested in the Bruno Bettelheim essay that suggests that children need fairy tales to express themselves. I didn’t realize the importance fairy tales had on my upbringing until I read that essay and took this course. I was also interested in the research paper we did, where I got to examine the different versions and history of a specific fairy tale. It was interesting to learn how other cultures interpret and alter popular tales to fit their traditions and culture. Also, how modern day versions including literature, films, music, video games, etc. have also made traditional fairy tale tropes modern and incorporated them into their forms of entertainment. With the next class I think taking a dive into modern fairy tales would be worthwhile and comparing them to the older stories. Seeing how themes, characters, gender roles, and issues have changed over the years to adapt to our growing and changing society. Overall, I really enjoyed taking a deeper look into the history and meaning behind the fairy tales that I enjoyed as a kid, and will appreciate as an adult.