Fairy Tales and Modern Stories

1 January 2017

The author Bruno Bettelheim is telling us in the first two paragraphs how a lot of parents have replaced fairy tales with more realistic stories like “The Little Engine That Could. ” This story encourages children to believe that if they try hard and does not give up, he will finally succeed. (Bettelheim) (Sims) When I was a child I was read many fairy tales as well as modern stories. My grandmother told me the story “The Little Engine That Could. ”

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I thought that it was silly. How could you succeed by saying “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can? (Piper) Then one day I was with my cousin and we got lost in the woods, I started to think about the story “The Little Engine That Could” that grandma had told me. I started to think to myself “I think I can find my way home, I think I can, I think I can. ” We finally succeeded and found our way home, all because I believed in the story.

According to Bettelheim a young woman was convinced that one’s attitude does in fact affect one’s achievements. If she would approach a task with the conviction that she could conquer it, she would succeed. Bettelheim) (Sims) When a child encounters a situation that is challenging, just like when I was a child, and does not give up because of the story “The Little Engine That Could” tell us that this is an encouraging story. This is a modern story that gives children the mindset that they don’t have to have magic, super powers, or anything else to succeed in life. They only need to believe in themselves. In the next two paragraphs Bettelheim talks about the story “The Swiss Family Robinson. ” This story had a completely different effect on another little girl.

She read the story to escape the reality of her life, her father was away a lot and her mother was sick. “The Swiss Family Robinson” is a story about a family who is shipwrecked and always together helping each other. In this girls life by reading this story she imagines her life better and her family like this. It helped her get through her life as it was. According to Bettelheim she was able to counteract the impact of harsh reality by imaginary gratification. (Bettelheim) (Sims) “The Swiss Family Robinson” is not a fairy tale but it also does not give anyone hope that their life might change for the better. Bettelheim) (Sims)

It does, however, give people an escape from their everyday lives, gives then an adventure that they can be a part of, as well as teaches them how to survive in any situation. In the next three paragraphs Bettelheim talks about the story of “Rapunzel. ” He talks about a third girl who had a hard life. Her mother had died in a car accident. Her father had been driving the car when she died. He could not take care of her by himself. So he got married again about the same time that Rapunzel became an important story in her life. (Bettelheim) (Sims)

According to Bettelheim the little girl thought of her stepmother as the witch. (Bettelheim)(Sims) She felt trapped like Rapunzel. “Rapunzel’s long hair was the key to the story. ” (Bettelheim) (Sims) Her stepmother would keep her hair cut short as a way to control her. She wanted her hair to be long like Rapunzel’s, because it was a symbol of freedom for her. (Bettelheim) (Sims) The little girl pictured her father as the prince in the story. She hoped that one day he would come rescue her from her stepmother. “’Rapunzel’ suggests why fairy tales can offer more to a child. (Bettelheim) (Sims) Rapunzel is a fairy tale that offers a rescue for the trapped girl.

One day she will fall in love with a man and then he will be her new prince charming, then she will not have to look to her father any longer as her prince, and when that day comes she will be happy. In the last paragraph Bettelheim compares fairy tales to modern stories. Fairy tales give children hope that no matter what happens in life things can always be better. In the older fairy tales the evil person or thing always gets what is coming to him and the good guy always lives happily ever after.

Modern stories do not always give you the hope that things will get better. They are usually only an escape from reality and the things in your life that is bad while you are reading them. So fairy tales and modern stories are both in their own ways a way to escape the reality of things even if only for a moment.

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