Excursions Of A Bibliophile

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Fairy Tales – A Generational Journey

Posted by Vish Mangalapalli on July 30, 2012

In their generational journey, fairy tales start as tools of entertainment and sense-giving in the hands of adults. However, while being received, they get transformed into platforms of sense-making by a child even while having fun with the inherent entertainment content in them. The sense making is largely around probable human predicaments, values, emotions and the complex nature of the world they inevitably inherit. Choices and their consequences, insights into morality, ethics, hard times, happy times, honesty, diligence, loyalty, courage, kindness, wickedness, fairness, avarice, fear, jealousy, grace, beauty, reciprocation, wit and chance are all made available for internalization. These themes play an important role in offering alternative world realities and thereby contribute to the overall development of a child.

The single biggest charm of almost any of the fairy tales is its highly imaginative quality of story-telling and the simplicity of the plot. This is further enhanced by strong references to elements of magic and anthropomorphism. Which child would not suspend her disbelief when wands do the work and birds and animals talk? However, for all their charm, fairy tales carry with them strong traces of harmless stereo-typing. Step-mothers are wicked, wolves are hungry and rapacious, giants and ogres are seldom kind, foxes are always clever and manipulative, princes and princesses are rarely ugly, step-sisters are inevitably lazy.

As a child grows and starts to interact with the real world, the once intensely felt charm starts to lose its potency. They no more have the same sense making ability and utility they once appeared to have. There is a gradual fading of their presence into a limbo only to be retrieved later as ones children and grand-children start to arrive on the scene and the need to entertain during bed-time starts to press heavily. And now in the hands of these new adults they become tools of entertainment and in the minds of children tools of sense making…and thus the generational journey continues……..

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2 Responses to “Fairy Tales – A Generational Journey”

  1. Lakshmi said

    Good one…I actually find a lot of fairy tales too blood curdling to be read out to little children..Besides, they are all so full of animals. My child is not that interested in the lives of lions and foxes…I have started writing my own stories for my daughter…there was no other way to fill the gap!

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