Thursday, May 9, 2013

And They Lived Happily Ever After

This semester, I feel as if I've traveled all about the Western hemisphere. Except, it was by fairy tales rather than actual traveling! I feel as if I've been to Africa with the guest speakers vividly telling us tales that they learned growing up in villages or passed down through the generations. From them, I also learned that there can be a story for anything at all, if you use a little bit of imagination. I feel as if I have traveled to Jerusalem, where the Jewish religion originated from, and talked to Rabbi's who impart witty wisdom in every story they tell. I feel as if I've traveled to various Arabic and Indian countries to see how they bring their stories to life with paintings and dances (and even "possession"). And I feel as if I was taken back to the Renaissance times of Europe, with the many different German folk tales which all had their different symbols and motifs. And each tale is different; be it the characters, the settings, the language, the symbols relating to that specific time period. But they all can have the same motifs no matter what culture the tale comes from. All the tales that we discussed in class were all very entertaining, and very thought provoking in the idea that you had to know a bit about the culture/time period where the story originated from. That was one of the challenging portions of the course - knowing specifics about cultures and what was happening in them around the time that the story was told/written/interpreted, etc. I spent a lot of time reading the stories, mostly before bedtime to relax myself, but learn something new everyday (reading before class helped to refresh my memory too).

In my first post for this class, I asked myself, " but how did those stories come to mind in the first place?". Now that this semester is over, I can answer; Fairy tales are created to become answers for inquisitive children, to impart wisdom on any person at any time, to teach lessons of good/evil & right/wrong to young children, and to give something for a troubled person to hold and have faith in. They're a solace to some, and to others they may just be simple things to pass the time with.
As for my personal take, I gained a few new favorite stories! The Selfish Giant was one that I had read a loooong time ago, but was reminded how beautiful of a story it was when I re-read it for class. The same with Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid tale and The Beauty and The Beast (although I still love the Disney version too). This class was a pleasure to take and I'm glad that I enjoyed it all through the semester!