Task One

Task One: Story Telling: Fairytales

In my research I plan to find out what exactly a fairytale is and why people can become tethered to fairy tales.

By definition a fairy tale is, “a story, usually for children, about elves, hobgoblins, dragons, fairies,or other magical creatures.”

Fairy tales have been with us for centuries and we have grown to love them as many of us grow up with having them red to us before we go to sleep, There are many components that make up a fairytale, such as a ‘good vs evil’ plot theme, a beginning that begins with “Once Upon a Time”, “Once there was”, “Long ago in a land far away”. There is always the ‘good’character and the ‘evil’ character and magical elements with a witch, wizard or talking objects/animals. This are the key elements however their are also common motifs that help fill the plot.

Common motifs ~

  • Talking animals / objects

  • Cleverness / trickster / word games

  • Traveler’s tales

  • Origins ~ where do we come from?

  • Triumph of the poor

  • Human weakness explored (i.e., curiosity, gluttony, pride, laziness, etc.)

  • Human strengths glorified (i.e., kindness, generosity, patience, etc.)

  • Trickster (sometimes a hero, sometimes on the side of evil but humans benefit)

  • Tall story (slight exaggeration – hyperbole)

  • Magic words or phrases; repetition of phrases/words (abracadabra!)

  • Guardians (fairy godmothers, mentors, magical helpers, guides, etc.)

  • Monsters (dragons, ogres, evil creatures, etc.)

  • Struggle between good and evil, light and dark

  • Youngest vs. Oldest (sons, daughters, sibling rivalry)

  • Sleep (extended sleep, death-like trances)

  • Impossible tasks (ridiculously mind-numbing, fantastic effort needed to complete, etc.)

  • Quests

  • Gluttony / Starvation (there’s a fine line between eating for survival and succumbing to temptation)

  • Keys, passes (opening new doors)

  • Donors, Benefactors, Helpers http://www.surfturk.com/mythology/fairytaleelements.html

Most of these can be found in the same story as they are what make the story complete. Sleeping beauty is the classic fairy tale of good vs evil and includes the common motifs such as monsters, human weakness, sleep, quests, magic words/phrases, guardians.

sleeping beauty disney

Through my research I have that found that fairy tales have developed over the years to become more suited to their specific audience I know this because of the story ‘Cinderella’ and ‘snow white’. There are many elements of the original tales  that separates it from the “disneyfied” version of the story.

“None of this wimpy “my foot doesn’t fit” stuff for the Grimms. To fit her into the tiny golden slipper, one of her sisters cuts off her big toe, the other a bit of her heel. Their plans are foiled by the blood everywhere (which surely somebody must have thought about), but hey, points for trying.”


disney cinderella

“The biggest difference between the Disney movie and the original Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale is the Evil Queen’s punishment. When the Evil Queen arrives at Snow White and Prince Charming’s wedding, Snow White punishes her step-mother by forcing her to wear hot iron shoes and dance until she dies.”

Their is also suggestions of cannibalism with the evil queen wanted to consume her heart lungs and liver which is why this would be taken out of the newer versions of the stories as it is rather horrific for children to be hearing.


The link above is a video I have come across looking at fairy tails in a different point of view, in the video Carrie Fletcher is looking into the issues within the story and how obscure and often ridiculous the stories can be. This is rather opinionated from her own views however this does inform you of how the stories are different to how we remember them as children. It makes you realise how strange the story is and how foolish the characters are, this is apparent through out the video however it is most dominant at 2:55 minuets into the video .

However unrealistic fairy tales are the more we love them for it. Fairy tales send us into another world where nothing makes sense but everything is beautiful, a world where true love really does conquer all and happily ever after does exist.

Why are we so attached to fairy tales?

I have found many things on this that give different explanations but i have picked the following because they are the ones I think apply to the majority.

“Fairy Tales Show Kids How to Handle Problems

We learn from the characters in stories, even as adults. They help us because we connect to our own lives, dreams, anxieties, and consider what we would do in their shoes. Fairy tales help children learn how to navigate life.

Fairy Tales Build Emotional Resiliency 

Fairy tales show real life issues in a fantastical scenario where most often the hero triumphs. (Except inGrimm originals.) Children need to discover in a safe environment that bad things happen to everyone. Because guess what? No one in life is immune from challenges — so we need to build capacity in our children. Do we build emotional muscles so our children can hang on during tough times or do we shelter our kids, protecting them, leaving them so weak they can’t handle anything requiring strength?”


These two reasons can be applied to an awful lot of people who are attached to fairy tales along with the idea of escapism form the real world and real life in general is allows people an escape rout for a small amount of time, almost like a break form being you every second of the day. You can be someone else in the story, you can be the hero and rescue the damsel or be the damsel being rescued or sometimes your both and you save yourself. From an early age fairy tales are a big part of our lives and can potentially effect our personality as we grow up as they do teach us how to over come problems and issues

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

In conclusion I have found my answers to my questions at the beginning of this research task on fairy tales and discovered what a fairy tale is, why people have this attachment to fairy tales, however i have also found how dark the originals can be and why they have developed over the years as well as discovering how ridicules the story is if you strip it right down to its simplest form.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s