The Evil in Fairytales

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The Evil in Fairytales These stories are suffused with the same purity that makes children appear so marvelous and blessed. Wilhelm Grimm, preface to Nursery and Household Tales Many adults are hardly prepared for the graphic descriptions of murder, mutilation, cannibalism, infanticide, and incest that fill the pages of these bedtime stories for children. Maria M. Tatar, The Hard Facts about the Grimm's Fairy Tales Introduction Children all over the world listen to fairytales every night at bedtime and hear colorful stories about evil witches, goblins, hobgoblins and other terrible creatures of the night. Indeed, the some of the most famous fairytales by the Brothers Grimm are filled with evil creatures that are out to do humankind harm. Moreover, many of the stories in fairytales do not contain the watered-down version of evil that is depicted by many Disney-type productions in modern media but rather describe the real thing where people can suffer and even die as a result of their contact with the evil creatures in fairytales. Some authorities even argue that fairytales can be disturbing for young readers, but most seem to agree that the good-triumphs-over-evil themes in fairytales make them timeless and appropriate for everyone. To gain some fresh insights in this area, this paper provides a review of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning the evil in fairytales, including examples, followed by a summary of the research and important
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