Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Definitions of Fairy Tales

When most people think "fairy tale", their minds immediately go to the stories that they were read when they were younger. Most people think this is really the only definition of a fairy tale, when it is actually a bunch of different ideas and interpretations all rolled into one. Fairy tales can actually be for anyone of any age, not just a toddler who likes hearing about prices and princesses. A child can often take out of a fairy tale what they want to hear and relate to it. But the same thing can also be true to an older individual who hears a different version of a fairy tale from a different culture. These interpretations that they create can also be a way to shape the reader's personality and/or morals in life. All fairy tales have a villain/hero, good/bad aspect to them. These conditions of the story sort of define the meanings of fairy tales to the audience and can differentiate a myth/legend/fairy tale from other stories. A child's fairy tale often ends with "And they lived happily ever after", with a scene of the prince and princess riding away into the sunset or getting married or something along those lines. These versions are often written like they are to be suitable for young children to watch/read. They way that most fairy tales were ended in the old times were often of the hero/heroine dying or something terrible happening to them as a result of their actions. Not everything is a happily ever after scene. I get the feeling that the writers of the original fairy tales wanted the stories to be fantasy with a touch of reality, because nothing in reality can really be as perfect as some fairy tales try to make it. They just created archetypes to give some sort of symbolism to certain things that readers could relate to. So in the end, a fairy tale is a story that is full of lessons to be learned for an audience of any age/culture to connect to and model themselves after.

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