Silence in Fairy Tales

4 April 2015
Uses & purposes of silence, non-verbal action & narrative gaps in four Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales.

The purpose of this research is to examine the role of silence in fairy tales. The plan of the research will be to discuss patterns of silence in fairy tales and then to discuss the means by which these patterns emerge, the consequences to characters of the experience of silence, and complex power of silence as a narrative strategy.

In the unfolding pattern of the plot, silence accomplishes narrative purpose, moving along events by reason of the gap in time that it creates. It is left to the reader’s imagination to either fill in the gap or make a jump in narrative logic from one point to another. In The Water Nixie, there is no absence of events, but the events very much unfold in silence, with the little brother and sister jumping over gaps of time and experience, or more exactly thinking their way through these gaps.

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