In the complex real world that we are living, there are dark and bright sides. It is easy for us to see the bright side, but it is not bright enough for us to see the dark sides of the world. One way to investigate the dark side of the world in a fun way is to read fairy tales and fables. Fairy tales and fables are short narrative stories with some deep meanings and moral lessons. In fact, they originally stemmed from oral tradition stories and old folk tales. Fables contain the behavior of animals, plants and other creatures involved in the imitation of human actions in relation to the situation described with real cases.
Fairy tales are stories that involve magic and fantasy and are usually written for children. Similarly, they play a good role in society because it helps people to understand the conflicts between people themselves. I have come across some of them in the USA, such as “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde. It actually relates to my life in some ways. In my point of view, I am just like “The Happy Prince”. When I was small, I was very happy, after I stepped into the society, I could see the ugliness and the misery of the society.
Oscar Wilde uses the non-human creatures to imitate human actions and infuses the stories with morals and values from his point-of-view, which fit in the tradition of typical fairy tales and fables. I would like to compare two of his stories, “The Happy Prince” and “The Nightingale and the Rose” because both of them have successfully revealed the dark side of the society, which reflects the social problems, and uses different points of view to define the concepts of love. Teenagers are always depressed after they step into the society and realize that the world is full of unfair things and conflicts.
When we were young, we had dreams. When we talked about our futures, our words were full of ambitions and hopes. However, the world isn’t perfect. There is always something you do not know if you do not experience it. In the two stories, the Happy Prince and the young Student are good examples of these teenagers. “‘When I was alive and had a human heart (… ) I lived in the palace (… ) where sorrow is not allowed to enter (… ) And now that I am dead they have set me up here so high that I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city'”.
The Happy Prince is forced to see the cruelest side of life. He sees the unequal distribution of wealth between the rich and the poor. The rich people are seeking fame and wealth rather than helping the poor. In the other story, the young Student changes his mind about the concept of love after the girl refuses him because she thinks that jewels are far more valuable than a rose. Some people like the Happy Prince would choose to sacrifice for others, another people like the young Student would start to feel disappointed about the complex real world.
The social problem in here is that there are just a few people who would really stand out and help the poor. They actually do not have much support. Hence, the problem of unequal distribution of wealth is still not solved. Also, sacrifice for the society sometimes result in the death and destruction of the person who sacrifices. The effort they put might worth nothing. Yet if you wish to achieve full virtue, you should not seek for any return for your sacrifice. For example, the Happy Prince said “‘I am covered with fine gold.
You must take it off, leaf by leaf, and give it to my poor; the living always think that gold can make them happy'”. He sacrifices everything to the poor, but he is finally pulled down by the councilors after his outlook becomes so shabby that he is no longer useful. Moreover, the Swallow also dies of being too cold. On the other hand, the nightingale uses his life to pay for a red rose, and he just wants the student to be a true lover. However, the red rose that he has paid his life for is finally gone over by a cart-wheel. And the student does not become a true lover; he even thinks that love is unpractical.
The two stories imply that the concept of beauty always seems to be associated with the possession of wealth and expensive material. All the inner beauty, such as love, sacrifice and selflessness are far from being seen. The society’s dark side is clearly shown in the stories. Thus, the moral lesson in here is that we should learn to sacrifice for others and explore their inner beauty. On the other hand, different characters in the two stories have their own point of view about love. In fact, a true lover should learn to sacrifice for others. But people always misunderstand the real meaning of love.
For instance, once the Swallow was in love with a Reed but later he left the reed. “‘But I love travelling, and my wife, consequently, should love travelling also’ (… ) the Reed shook her head, she was so attached to her home”. Here the vision of love is given from a selfish point of view; although the Swallow loves the Reed, he is not determined to make any sacrifice for her. However, from the moment in which the Swallow meets the statue of the Happy Prince and till the end of the story, we could see there is a change in his personality, for which he finally becomes a true lover.
The representative true lovers in the two stories are the Happy Prince and the Nightingale. “Leaf after leaf of the fine gold, the Swallow picked off, till the happy Prince looked quite dull and grey”. The Happy Prince sacrifices his beauty and becomes blind and shabby. “’Death is a great price to pay for a red rose. ’ cried the Nightingale. ” The Nightingale sacrifices his life for love. Both of them are willing to sacrifice for others with no returns. Through these two stories, we know that sacrifice is the real definition of love.
After comparing the two stories from Oscar Wilde, we know that the world is not a hundred percent same as what we think it should be. In fact, the world is full of conflicts. In conclusion, “The Happy Prince” and “The Nightingale and the Rose” are stories about love, care, sacrifice and lot more. It is about all those virtues that human beings are inherently supposed to have but not all of them show. If I were one of the characters in these stories, I would like to be The Happy Prince or the Nightingale. Because both of them have the virtues that we are supposed to have, and all human beings are supposed to have as well.
Wilde, Oscar. The Happy Prince. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jun 2012.
Wilde, Oscar. The Nightingale and the Rose. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jun 2012.