Essay about An Analysis of Fairy Tales

1684 Words 7 Pages
Sagas about princes and princesses, beauty, magic, and love, fairy tales like Snow White and Cinderella among others have become children’s favorite bedtime stories. However, as parents tuck their sons and daughters in, they fail to realize that there is a much more daunting purpose to these stories. American writer and poet, Jane Yolen suggests that fairy tales indicate life values. Furthermore, Yolen insists that these tales are “thumbprints of history” (Yolen 27). Studying fairy tales in depth, she proves that the “functions of myths” consist of “creating a landscape of allusion [and] enabling us to understand our own and out culture from inside out” (Yolen 18). Yolen confirms that these stories comment on, “the abstract truths of our …show more content…
However, few realize that there are many communal ideas imbedded in the plots that often go unrecognized. Fairy tales, more often than not, highlight a multitude of social aspects which might seem inappropriate for children. Constantly evolving, fairy tales, as indicated by Yolen and Zipes, illustrate the sexist views of the dominating class, the societal beliefs as they change throughout history as well as the community’s values especially during crisis.

First of all, a rather sexist view of women has emerged from the evolution of a variety fairy tales. In older versions of many fairy tales, on can see the female dominant, matriarchal societies through the strong female protagonists. For example, as Yolen reminds, “Cinderella until lately has never been a passive dreamer….The forerunners of the Ash-girl have been hardy, active heroines” (33). One of the earlier Cinderellas belonged to a hunting community where “most important is the function of a female. She was at the center of this society and maintained a nurturing element” (194). As time went by Zipes concludes, women lost their supremacy and “fairy tales…reinforced the patriarchal symbolic order based on rigid notions of sexuality and gender” (qtd. in Tatar 338). As Zipes explains, “the heroines in these fairy tales remain pathetic , passive, and pale in comparison to the more active characters”, usually the men, when compared to those of the first generation of fairy
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