The Vs. The Purple Crayon And The Frog King Or Iron Heinrich

1723 WordsSep 27, 20177 Pages
Fairy tales, beyond their value as charming escapes into realms of fantasy and wonder, are meant to teach children morals and demonstrate to them the traits they need to successfully function in society. These tales are sustained, generation after generation, in our collective consciousness as literary manifestations of our values. But to what extent is this consciousness collective? Are these morals consistent globally or do they vary from culture to culture?According to Bruno Bettelheim, morals are universal and fairy tales are the ultimate means of teaching them. However, in Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Frog King or Iron Heinrich—both are fairy tales but from different cultures—disparate cultural morals collide, simplified…show more content…
The frog demonstrates courage when continuing to pursue the princess despite her disgust. Because these morals are universal, children can benefit from internalizing them because they do not risk limiting their ability to transcend cultural barriers. Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim sees fairy tales as the best means of teaching and guiding children through development and to the set of values they need to function in society. He states: “fairy stories represent in imaginative form what the process of healthy human development consists of…the tales make such development attractive for the child to engage in” (Bettelheim 12). Of course we want children to embody the aforementioned “core virtues,” but what about the other culturally- or period-specific values that are be conveyed in fairy tales? Is the concept of “healthy human development” agreed upon across all cultures? Bettelheim either ignores the existence of non-universal morals or believes that all morals are universal. In stark contrast to Bettelheim’s implication of moral universalism, Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Frog King or Iron Heinrich demonstrate vastly divergent conceptions of the values of loyalty, seniority, and respect that are reflective of each tale’s culture of origin. The Frog King or Iron Heinrich is a Grimm Brother’s fable with Germanic origins in which hierarchy and loyalty are emphasized in two relationships. First, the king’s authority

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