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Fairy Tales Essay

900 words - 4 pages

Fairy tales are a type of traditional literature that grew out of the human quest to understand the natural and spiritual worlds and was preserved through time by the oral tradition of storytelling before eventually being written down(Essentials 98). Entering the world of literature towards the end of the seventeenth century, fairy tales have long been enjoyed by all for many years. Traditionally, fairy tales are taught as entertaining stories for children. They have a predictable story structure and happy ending. However, this is not completely accurate. Historically, these tales were told at adult gatherings after the children had been put to bed and had tragic endings("History" 1). By exploring the history and origin of these tales and explaining the new and modern purpose, we can learn why this type of literature has been long recognized as a favorite. "Perhaps the first stories grew out of the dreams, wishes, ritual chants, or retellings of the notable exploits of our primitive ancestors.No one knows"(Essentials 99). Little is said about the early history of this genre of literature except that these stories only existed in oral form for thousands of years(Hohr 89). Many folklorists are intrigued by the similarities between many of the traditional tales around the world. Cinderella, for example, can be found in almost every culture.One explanation of this states that the first humans created these stories and took them along as they populated the globe. Another theory suggests the fundamental psychological similarity of humans for the similarities of their stories. Both theories have merit, and since the answer lies hidden in ancient prehistory, neither theory has prevailed over the other(Essentials 101). Although large numbers of fairy tales were written in 17th century France, most of the tales which are still told and retold are much older in origin. Many of the stories were edited and changed as they were written down, removing the darker and more gruesome elements of the stories("Unmasking" 1). The first major compilation of tales was Charles Perraults 1697 "Contes de me mere l'oye," which means in English, "Tales of Mother Goose"("Fairy Tales" 2). This collection included "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty," "Little Red Ridding Hood," and "Puss and Boots." The popularity of this publication is evidenced by it's many editions in both France and England, But it was another hundred years before the next collection of fairy tales appeared(Essentials 100). Still the most well known transcription of oral folk tales remains "Grimm's Fairy Tales," written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1812. This compilation included stories such as "Rumpelstiltskin,"...

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