Fairy Tales have been around for many years for a reason. They appeal to us all, regardless of age. They reach us at the unconscious level, and deal with universal worries. They carry an immense wisdom and their symbolism help us understand ourselves, and make sense of the world. Ultimately fairy tales gives us hope.
There are many people who study and research fairy tales. Some of them are firm believers on the transformation power of those type of stories. I also believe that. I believe fairy tales enhance emotional intelligence and that they are very helpful for children to cope with traumas and hardships in life. Many psychologists use fairy tales in their practice with children as well as adults.
Below are quotes and excerpts of books from authors I highly respect and admire. They have a vast knowledge of fairy tales and all of them have written books on the matter.
Excerpt from Maria Tatar’s book “The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales,” which I highly recommend.:
“Disseminated across a wide variety of media, ranging from opera and drama to cinema and advertising, fairy tales have become a vital part of our cultural capital. What keeps them alive and pulsing with vitality and variety is exactly what keeps life pulsing: anxieties, fears, desires, romance, passion, and love. Like our ancestors, who listened to these stories at the fireside, in taverns, and in spinning rooms, we remain transfixed by stories about wicked stepmothers, bloodthirsty ogres, sibling rivals, and fairy godmothers. For us, too, the stories are irresistible, for they offer opportunities to talk, to negotiate, to deliberate, to chatter, and to prattle on endlessly as did the old wives from whom the stories are thought to derive. And from the tangle of that talk and chitchat, we begin to define our own values, desires, appetites, and aspirations, creating identities that will allow us to produce happily-ever-after endings for ourselves and for our children.”
quotes from the psychologist Sheldon Cashdan:
“The common theme in fairy tale is that of a child pitted against powerful forces in the world. The hidden meaning as I see it, is the struggle with powerful forces within the self.”
“Many Fairy Tales address common conflicts children have: greed, envy, gluttony, etc.” An example from Sheldon’s writings: ” Jack and the Beanstalk in particular can be used to address issues of greed.”
“I think that Fairy Tales should be enjoyed as entertainment first and foremost. A lot of what they have to offer kids occurs on an unconscious level. But if the child picks up on an issue in a story, then parents certainly can explore it with them. ”
Quotes from Jack Zipes:
“The best fairy tales and fairy tales films deal with the human condition and survival. One of the reasons that we keep returning to fairy tales after we have heard, read, or seen them since our childhood is that they touch on vital and relevant issues in our daily struggles and endeavors to control our destinies. We want all to become “kings” and “queens”, that is, to be powerful enough to rule our lives and the world around us, However, we may have obstacles (problems) … These “problems” are the stuff of fairy tales, and it’s no wonder that we keep repeating them because most of the problems we experience as we try to become narrators of our our lives, are depicted in fairy tales with the hope that we shall resolve them, and can come out on top.”
“I’m attracted to the hope that fairy tales can offer. There’s always a way out, the chance that maybe there will be a good fairy or creature that will help us. A lot of the better fairy tales involve the cooperation of human beings with one another, or animals who come out of the blue and help human beings who are experiencing a great difficulty. For me, personally, I think that I continue to be awed and inspired by the tales that I read and collect.”
Quote from Marie-Louise von Franz:
“Fairy Tales are the purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes. Therefore their value for the scientific investigation of the unconscious exceeds that of all other material. They represent the archetypes in their simplest, barest, and most concise form.” (The Interpretation of Fairy Tales – revised edition)
Quote from Bruno Bettelheim. His book “The Uses of Enchantment, the Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales” written from a Freudian perspective still offers a very interesting view of fairy tales.
“Fairy tales are unique, not only as a form of literature, but as works of art which are fully comprehensible to the child, as no other form of art is. As with all great art, the fairy tale’s deepest meaning will be different for each person, and different for the same person at various moments in his life. The child will extract different meaning from the same fairy tale, depending o his interests and needs of the moment. When given the chance, he will return to the same tale when he is ready to enlarge on old meanings, or replace them with new ones.”