Thursday, May 9, 2013

Final Blog Entry

I learned a lot in this semester about fairytales and folktales, mostly in the aspect of fairytales and folktales being psychologically analyzed by many different people. Before taking this class I never would have known or guess all the symbolism between items within fairytales, for instance I never would have taken the wolf gobbling Little Red up to be considered a sexual notion. I also never would have guessed that the red shoes or red lips in Snow White were symbolizing sexuality. Upon learning that a lot of fairytales and folktales symbols are related back to sexuality it really made me question if that was the authors of these fairytales intentions.
I really enjoyed learning about all the separate fairytales and folktales, there was a lot of them that I had never read before or had never heard that separate rendition of that story before. I found it very interesting because a lot of the fairytales included a lot violence that I never would have originally seen as a child. Also I found the material interesting in contrast with the disney movies I grew up watching in the way that disney took a lot of the main ideas from these fairy tales and put them into more child-apporiate terms in his movies. This is something I would have like to learn more about in the semester, the relation between fairytales as movies, especially those made by Disney in relation to the fairytales and folktales we learned about.
I read every reading required for class, I think I spent a fair share of my time dedicated to this class, I found it very challenging however to understand some of the readings. For instance Bettelheims' reading were very hard for me to follow because they were very dense. Regardless of the hard parts of the class I found it very enjoyable because I learned a lot and I know which fairytales are possibly portraying a positive message, and when I am older and have children I will know which tales to tell to my children and which ones I should stay clear of at least while they are in certain developmental phases.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Folktale and Storytelling from Kenya

I very much liked the lecture given by Dr. Ochieng' I found it very interesting and the information being covered very different from anything I had previously learned. Obviously with growing up in the United States I am accustomed and used to the kinds of fairytales that are told within the United States and the way that they are told. Dr. Ochieng' performed the folktales from Kenya in the way that are told in Kenya, and I found that very interesting and different from her. The folktale and storytelling I'm used to are when people are reading the stories to or the stories are just made up on the spot, around a concept or lesson you are trying to portray to the person you are reading or reciting to. But these stories from Kenya are passed down and recited and performed by mouth along with being performed with things like song. They are more performed than recited, peoples emotions play a role within the tales, and the details between the tales differ from every time they are told because it the tales are always told by different people, and different people will take away different aspects of the tale. The tales told in Kenya are similar to the tales told here in the way that they are trying to portray a message, or the point to any of the stories would be to teach some sort of lesson, or explain some sort of phenomena, just the way in which they tell these tales is what makes them so different. I liked learning about how the tales are told differently in Kenya, I would like to continue to learn more concepts about what is different within folktale, fairytale, and story telling across different countries as well.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Native-American Folktales

Native-American Folktales are distinctly different from those of European origins in a few ways, they focus on more of how things came to be and tradition where as European folk tales often focus on teaching lessons. For instance in the Native-American folktales we read about how men and women came to be, and how they learned to reproduce, we also read about how certain stars came to be in the sky, and that they came to be those stars as a punishment for not obeying by traditions and being selfish, and there was also the story of how mosquitos came to be. Now granted all these stories do also teach lessons but they are set up in a different way, they involve magic which do also Folk tales of European origin, but they show magic in a different way.
 Often in a folktale involving European origin magic is brought in as normal aspect or in way where something will just appear and you are supposed to accept the fact that it is a fairy tale and magic is possible. In Native-American folk tales magic is more of an aspect of reality, the magic is very apparent, for instance in the story of Deer Hunter and White Corn Maiden they are shot into the sky by someone of the spirit world. The spirit world itself involves magic and the fact that they are shot into the sky also involves direct use of magic, but this story incorporates the involvement of reality because it is telling the story of how two stars in the sky came to be.Also within the mosquito story the giant is turned into mosquitos after being killed, implying some sort of direct use of magic, and again portraying how some aspect of our world came to be.
The Native-American Folktales put more emphasis on religion and tradition as well, they always display a sense of community and a sense of togetherness. In all the stories it involves groups of people, their tribes or nations. This shows the people comprehending these tales and their sense of togetherness and community, it portrays the importance that these things have to these kinds of people. All in all the Native-American tales are more stories pertaining to their tribes and how things that relate to them came to be, but they also have few similar aspects to European tales.

This image reminded me of the tale of How Women and Men Came To Be because in the tale the women have beautiful clothes made from things like buckskin and the men when are seen as more attractive have red sacred face paint on and the chief has his headdress of feathers. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rags to Riches-Cinderella

I personally thing that Cinderella can be seen as a completely realistic fairytale not necessarily the magic from fairy godmothers and what not, but they aspect that good things do happen to people who are truly good at heart and pure. Cinderella is the ultimate pure example, she is treated like ashes and dirt she sleeps next to and she still does not resent or take her poor situation out on the world and still has the capability of loving and believing in the world and the possibility of a happy ending. Now not necessarily being a good person and having good things become of you is not a guarantee, one does not equal the other, bad things happen to good people but things in life always get better. Hard work pays off and in that case Cinderella's ability to deal with the challenges life throws at her results in her happy ending.
I think the fact that Cinderella has the help of magic to help her reach her success does provide the possibility that she wouldn't have necessarily found success without the magic, because the things provided, by magic, to Cinderella are the things that helped her reach her success, through marriage, by getting her a husband who was her escape and path to success, aka a way out of her life path and into a life of riches. This is not to say that success isn't possible without magic just in the case of Cinderella it might not have happened, she escapes through marriage which was provided by the aspects provided by magic. In real life needless to say good things don't always happen to good people but you don't need riches in order to reach happiness, just like you don't need magic to  reach riches, you can reach riches through hard work.
Relating to the movie and other aspects magic, riches and charm would all be helpful in order to reach success but they are not always provided in the real world, but they are al present in helping Cinderella reach success in this fairytale.

This picture shows the aspect of magic helping Cinderella reach the state which helps her to reach success through helping her into her marriage. 

Friday, March 29, 2013


The tale of bluebeard that I liked the most was the Brothers Grimm Fitchers Bird because I like all the different components of the tale, such as the sorcerer and his magic, and the fact that the girl finds a way to save her sisters and outsmart the villain. This tale is different in the fact that the girls were more stolen away from their parents rather than offered up or found by the sorcerer. Also the sorcerer in this tale says that if you enter this room it will cost you life, showing the exact ramifications of the girls actions and desires to enter the said room, but they all do so regardless of their further knowledge of the exact fate that would become of them if they entered the room "You can go anywhere you want and look around at everything, but don't go into the room that this little key opens. I forbid it under penalty of death."(The Classic Fairy Tales pg. 149)
This tale was special in the aspects of magic but it still contained all the major motifs of the key/egg and the girl loosing her virginity/ fedility with the dropping of the egg/key and the appearance of blood being stained, representing the ability to never be able to go back to that prior stage of purity, all because of their curiousity. In this Brothers Grimm tale however the girl save her sisters by putting them in a basket and sending them home, and she outsmarts "Bluebeard" by rolling in honey and feathers and disguising herself as a bird and setting a skull in the attic to make it appear as herself. Once she has outsmarted her and has thought that the skull was her, and gone into the house where the rest of his wedding guests were, she locks the doors and burns it to the ground. This shows a transition from the beginning where the woman are portrayed as weak for giving into the curiosity to the end when the girl outsmarts him and become the heroin.

This image shows the woman with all the keys given to her and you can tell by the look on her face that she is suspicious and that she is probably doing something that she is not supposed to be. I thought this captured what I had imagined one of the women acting like when in their situations, she appears to be looking around to make sure nobody is looking, but she knows that if she enters that room her fate is already decided according to Bluebeard, furthermore showing her weakness. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Snow White

The music video by Rammstein was cleverly put together and made an interesting twist to a fairytale that we all know as an innocent girl having her life dominated by her overtly jealous step mother. In the music video however the woman is her own demise which also identifies with the fact that in Snow White the fairytale, the step mother and Snow White could represent one person. There is also the somewhat present theme of the seven men that are shown through out several different versions of the fairytale that Snow White keeps house for and their accommodations are part of her survival. Even though the wicked step mother isn't present within the music video, her presence is still within Snow White and her addiction to beautiful things or in this case the gold that the men bring, which is eventually her demise. Within the fairy tale it is Snow Whites temptations that get her into trouble by constantly allowing things to happen, like the lacing of her bodice, and the brushing of her hair, and the final choice she made taking a bite of an apple, she couldn't control her temptations in the fairy tale and she couldn't control them in the music video either, that would be the central motif that the two have in common.
I like the story of Snow White as told by The Brothers Grimm most simply because it goes into all the aspects of the fairytale. It has everything from the father figure being absent but yet being present in the sense of the mirror and the huntsman, it has the hospitality of the dwarves and their forewarning to Snow White to watch out for her stepmother, portraying the fact that when Snow White does let her step mother in it is completely because of her own weakness. I also like the fact that in the end Snow White gets her prince and her step mother comes the wedding to meet her demise for being so evil and jealous. It portrays all the right messages in ways that are easy enough to comprehend yet aren't so obvious that a child wouldn't want to enjoy the fairytale.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Jung and Fairy Tales

Jungian psychology and fairy tales can be correlated together within many different ways. Jung is similar to Freud when it comes with the unconscious mind, the unconscious mind is often related to fairy tales because the most common way that lessons are taught to children in fairy tales is through the unconscious. Fairy tales speak to children and send them messages in ways that they don't fully understand, as children grow they recognize more and more but within the early stages of their life they are learning mostly from unconscious lessons that are given to them through things like fairy tales. Jung focuses a lot on the aspect of dreams and, mysticism and since fairy tales are somewhat like the distant relative of myths which are directly correlated with mysticism they are often related to each other.
Jung goes into the idea that fairytales have Psyche which represents the self within them, for instance Jung talks ago the ego, libido, personal, shadow, and self all being involved within the unconscious the Psyche which can be found within the common fairy tale. Another point that Jung makes when saying that the unconscious plays a role within fairy tales, is that all characters within fairy tales involve archetypes which always unconsciously represent something to the children. For instance The Wise Old Man in fairy tales which is present in the beginning often is taken out of the picture, and this can often relate to different children's unconscious in many different ways, depending on the child's sociocultural situation.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Little Red Maiden?

This cartoon is a pretty literal translation of the red riding hood tale told by The Brothers Grimm. I think that this tale pretty accurately is portrayed within this cartoon especially within in the dialogue where the wolf is being questioned by Little Red, about his big eyes, ears, hands, which all happen to represented within the five senses (hear, smell, sight). Also a big representation within this cartoon that is within the tale is the sexual representation (that doesn't necessarily have to be taken in a sexual way) is when the wolf leaps on the granddaughter and the grandmother when he gobbles them up. In the cartoon it does not say that he gobbles them and gobble is part of the tale that makes it sexual, but equally sexual is the fact that he leaps on both of them before hand. This cartoon is social because it is simply trying to make the exact same point as the Brothers Grimm version of this tale (Little Red Cap). I like this cartoon portrayal of Little Red Riding Hood because I think that is fairly accurate to the original Western version of the tale that is told but within the animations and actions it adds to a more realistic version and more modern version of what would actually happen in that situation, for example how the grandmother would react and such.

I like this portrayal of Little Red Cap because I think that it shows a lot of motif within the picture for instance the fact that the wolf is straying off the path and the mother told the daughter not to stray. Showing that the wolf is of bad intentions. It also shows birds which are also known to have motif or representation from the heavens, maybe representing the fact that she is being guarded at this point in the story.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Children as heroes

Children as heroes is a common theme of motif within fairy tales. It gives children the motivation and ideas that they can also do good deeds and this theme puts the thoughts into their heads of what they need to do in order to achieve this. Children as heroes can be looked at in many different ways, they can be seen as motivating towards the child to do good deeds but a big way that especially Bettelheim brings up is that the child as a hero brings the idea into a child's head, that they need to separate from their parents and start to depend and provide on their own. This applies especially to Hansel and Gretel and Little Thumbling. In both tales the children are forced into abandonment by famine and their parents not being able to fend for themselves and their children anymore. In both tales the children are tricked into regressing back into the stage of their life where they are dependent on adults, both with the ogre in Little Thumbling and the witch in Hansel and Gretel. They temporarily regress to depending on these other beings and they end up being punished for it by almost loosing their lives, and having their lives threatened. Both tales have fighting children who use their maturity to push through their phase of dependency and outsmart the adults. The children learn within their heroism they need not to depend on the adults but that they within themselves can fend for themselves and live in the real world without the maternal dependency that they started with before their experiences took place. The child as the hero sends many messages but within those tales a lot of them lead back to the conclusion that once a child finds their maturity and lets go of their dependency that they will be able to succeed and further mature in life.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog entry 2-- fairy tales and meaning

Fairy tales are something unique, there is nothing else in our world that carries the same properties that fairy tales do. A fairy tale is hard to be defined because a fairy tales can be so broad, all fairy tales vary from many different versions, there isn’t just one story line, they are constantly changing and adapting to our modern times. Fairy tales are built for the child, but they can also help people of different ages, children at different stages of their lives can take different pieces of information, different bits of morality, that they can grasp from fairy tales in different ways. While on the topic of children the point that fairy tales are made to influence our children should be brought up, there are many different opinions in the manner of which our children should be brought to hear these fairy tales or for them to be avoided. Fairy tales no matter the tale always have a lesson it just depends on how the child takes to the story. Fairy tales provide information for children that can help them to grow. Regardless of the fact that a fairy tale isn’t necessarily completely accurate, the lessons in it do teach the lessons that a child would have to learn. For instance the difference between good and bad, or good and evil, these fairy tales might include witches or ogres as being evil, but the acts that cause them to be evil show these children what is right and what is wrong.
Fairy tales always have a theme, or a motif. There are many different opinions on if there are multiple motifs or if we are just born with one ultimate thought or point to fairy tales, one large lesson learned from all fairy tales, no matter the motif. Every fairy tale has a different meaning but they all are made within the same purpose, to send messages to the people reading them.
A fairy tale in broad terms is a story of unimaginable concepts that are put together in a way in which somehow is transformed through our minds as realistic, and our unconscious mind finds meaning within, and helps apply these concepts to our lives without us even knowing that they apply. Applying these to our lives can help give us guidance in life, through things that we have trouble making sense of our trouble going through.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blog Entry 1

I chose this class because I have always had a fascination with fairy tales, I haven’t necessarily learned anything about them through out my life, nor do I have a broad extent of knowledge about them but they have always interested me and I have always enjoyed them. I would also like to find out more of them since I have really only learned about the classics. I find the idea of  the mostly constant inforcing of the idea of a happy ending to be something that is ideal in a dream world, but I don’t necessarily agree that children should grow up hearing these stories, because they could believe them to be true, leading their futures on with false hopes. I also hope that in this course I will learn the history of fairytales and folktales, and how they came to be, the differences and similarities between them and stories, and really learning about their point and effect on and in the world.
I think that my favorite fairy tale would have to be Beauty and the Beast because I love the idea and the example the story sets. Of course I learned my perception of Beauty and the Beast from the Disney examples but I have also read the fairy tale in a few varieties of children’s stories.  I like it because of the example it sets with appearance and you don’t have to be beautiful to find love, I also love the fact that Beast sets his love free and since she truly loves him she comes back, showing the idea that things don’t always end perfectly with the first time they meet and its not happily ever after always from the first second of connection.