Far from Harmless Childrens Stories Essay

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Passed down orally from generation to generation, fairy tales have been produced throughout history. They tell stories of witches, demons, creatures, dragons, and ultimately good vs. evil. Yet, delving into the real meaning behind fairy tales sheds light into motives of the lower class. For as long as there have been classes, the upper class has been taking advantage of the lower class. The lower class tries to earn freedom and equality throughout history. Fairy tales offered the lower class with a market for spreading these ideas. Rather than being a way for the upper class to spread the ideas of the elite, the fairy tale offered the lower class the opportunity to criticize the upper class while arguing for more independence and…show more content…
The upper class used laws, battles, and force to control and prevent the lower class from gaining power which created a schism between the peasants (plebeians) and the upper class (bourgeois). The feudal system gave all the power to the nobles and aristocracy, leaving the serfs to struggle to make a living. Zipes notes the historical meaning behind Hansel and Gretel, “The witch symbolizes the entire feudal system or the greed and brutality of the aristocracy. The killing of the witch is symbolically the realization of the hatred the peasantry felt for the aristocracy as hoarder and oppressors.” (Zipes, Jack) Through children fairy tales writers were able to criticize the elites in society in their time and state the grievances the lower class had towards the upper class. A typical practice during the Napoleonic Wars was for the state to recruit soldiers and treat them poorly until they were no longer needed, Zipes sees this in How Six Travelled through the World which shows that common men can act nobler than kings. (Zipes, Jack). As time passed and the lower class began to gain status in society, fairy tales, too, began to change. Rather than directly stating the grievances of the lower class, fairy tales emphasized the writers view towards historical events. The late 19th century in the United States was focused on one major debate: the monetary policy. Frank Baum in The Wizard of Oz criticizes supporters of the gold
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