Fairy Tales-Mirror of Our Lives Essay
Fairy Tales-Mirror of Our Lives
Once Upon A Time…These four little words take little children on a ride into the world of their own dreams through the fantasies and the magical world of the Fairy tales where the word impossible has no meaning and in the world where all dreams come true - Fairy Tales-Mirror of Our Lives Essay introduction. Deep from the oceans of its imaginative world, Fairy tales carry many insights of the real world of ours. They are mirror to our emotional and the psychological life and posters before us the social and moral values so cherished by the human beings. From each tale immerses an essence of flavor of invaluable thoughts that give new meaning to our lives and add pearls of invaluable wise thoughts into us and into our children’s dream world.
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Fairy tales are evergreen- Pied Piper, the talking Frog and the Fairy God mother etc, are still fresh in our minds. The adventures that the Prince and the Princess have to undergo are the various challenges and obstacles that we face in our day- to-day lives. The adventure tales in each story is full of symbolism loading with more meaning and makes us aware of our more and more deeper selves.
Talking and singing animals and birds is the Call and the Nature’s voice. These speaking animals and birds resemble us, human beings, and why not? As from deep within us, we are also animals not yet tamed and are incense part of this beautiful nature. Cruel, clever and wicked characters reveal other side of our own selves that how much good we are, yet some traits of wickedness are still present in us. This comes out in some occasions making us cruel but finally in the end it is the goodness that wins and it’s the goodness that takes us to our goal of happiness and serene life. Pied Piper, Snow White…are evergreen stories full of symbolism and social values.
In the story of Pied Piper, the children are led away by the magical music of the Pied Piper and not a single child except one lame child is left in the entire Hamelin. (Bellingham, Online Edition) There are many dimensions to the social orders in the inner landscape, which this small story carries. This story is a reminder to the fact what parents have to go through when children are gone in this way and what psychological trauma children have to undergo when they have to leave their home.
The story dates back to June 26th, 1284, at Hamelin, progresses with the characters representing one or other aspects of our personality. Villagers are symbolic of spendthrift and greedy nature of ours. Majority of the townsfolk is shown as greedy creatures and having fat belies. When Pied Piper first comes to the town, Mayor of the town is thinking of having his fill of turtle soup. And when the villagers get rid of greedy rats with the help of Pied Piper, they refuse to pay him on the pretext that they can have a feast for half the cost than the amount fixed for Pied Piper. This is a sign of greediness, which is very much seen and prevalent in this world of today. Rats who are destroying everything also symbolize how greedy people can be? People eat away every bit of other person’s earnings. (Bellingham, Online Edition)
To show the greedy nature of humans is the theme of the story but the moral of the story is the importance of keeping ones promise, and is also a theme running in whole story. The theme is shown in the beginning only with the story of boy and a girl. The boy is hesitant in having a lunch and his sister reminds him about the promise that he made. And naturally the consequences of breaking of promise by the townsfolk to the Pied Piper are there to see, very drastic for townspeople. In the social complexities of life whenever there are disruptions, the nature itself provides opportunity for self-healing and makes the society better. Even Aristotle said that disruption is self-healing (Johnson, Online Edition) which is proved in the story of Pied Piper. The nature brings in vengeance in the form of Pied Piper, who with his magical music takes the revenge on the townspeople by taking their children away and hide inside the mountain doors. (Bellingham, Online Edition) And the small boy on crutches who is left behind tell the towns people that he is hearing the sounds of places which are very far from here. These places have clean air, sparking rivers and children there are having all fun with several games, whales, dolphins and bright colored parrots. (Bellingham, Online Edition) This is symbolic of the fact that if we humans follow greed and hypocrisy, our children build their own world of honesty, and trustworthiness, and the people learn their lesson. The rats represent disruptive people who destroy our peace, our property and our homes but our narcissism approach makes the basis for creating these rats. In real life, these rats are Terrorists, Drug dealers and all those criminal minded persons or groups who want to destroy peace and tranquility of this world.
Snow white, an evergreen tale of beautiful little princess, is a story of envy and selfishness. Queen wants to have the most beautiful daughter. She thinks, “If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as this frame. Soon afterward she was born a little daughter who was as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony wood, and therefore they called her Little Snow-White”. (Grimm Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm, Para 1. Online Edition) And when she has the daughter who is as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony wood, she feels jealous. Though she wants a beautiful daughter of whom she can feel proud but she doesn’t want her to be beautiful than herself. She questions magic mirror:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all? (Grimm Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm, Online Edition)
You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Snow-White is a thousand times fairer than you. (Grimm Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm, Online Edition)
Hearing this, Queen’s anger knew no bounds and she orders her huntsman to take Snow White deep inside the forests to kill her and as a proof bring her lungs and liver. The whole story is her effort to kill her so that she can become the most beautiful woman in the world. (Grimm Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm, Online Edition) This story is a symbolic of the women of the today’s world who wants to attain glory by looking most beautiful on this Earth, and the women compete among themselves in the beauty contests to show to the world that she is the most beautiful woman. If there is a greed and selfishness in this world, there are also people who feel pity and sympathy toward the persons in distress. The first instance is the incident of Huntsman, to whom queen orders to kill Snow White, but they instead of killing her, kill boar and take the boars lungs and liver for the Queen. (Grimm Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm, Online Edition)
The Dwarfs have the most crucial role to play, and when they hear her story, they give shelter to Snow White. (Grimm Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm,Online Edition) When Queen again kills Snow White, Dwarfs bring her back to life. Dwarfs again and again warn her but Snow White again and again allows herself to be duped by wicked Queen. These Dwarfs represents all good men who help us. They are our therapists, helpers, friends, relatives, mates, ministers or any stranger in bus or train. These Dwarfs in the story are miners who dig the Earth to search gems, metals and they help Snow White to realize her inner self, which in the real world these helpers also do. They help Snow White to realize her true self and give her lesson of meaning of real life. They guard Snow White from her envious mother and warn her against insidious designs. In our real life, these helpers give purpose to our life. In the story it is goodness that finally wins as when Prince comes to take her coffin, she comes back to life, and Prince says to her that he loves her more than anything else in the world and proposes her for marriage. When Queen comes to know about it through her magic mirror, she gets horrified. At wedding, she is made to wear hot glowing iron shoes and finally she dances to death. (Grimm Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm, Online Edition)
In many of the German tales, stepmothers appear as villains and it is the stepdaughter who is the sufferer and innocent martyr. As Maria Tatar says in “From Nags to Witches”, “If the stepmother of these tales is not literally a witch, she possesses qualities that place her firmly in the class of ogres and friends. Like her Icelandic counterpart, she too is an alien intruder who disturbs the harmony among blood relatives. She may not always have the power to perform an actual metamorphosis, but she can turn even the most aristocratic and beguiling girl into the humblest of scullery maids” (Vandergrift, Online Edition) and no story better then Cinderella portrays this version. The stepmother in a form of Old Mother Frost forces Cinderella to become a housemaid. In real life when mother dies early, father marries again to bring stepmother to take care of his children but for society stepmothers are thought as intruders and evil creatures. They along with her daughters are always cursing Cinderella and make her do all the household work. When the invitation from the King’s palace comes for a ball, Cinderella’s stepsisters despise her and taunt Cinderella and Cinderella like a silent obedient child retreats to her kitchen. (Frugal, Ch 3, Online Edition) Her envy too looms large in the character of Stepsisters and her mother who are afraid of Cinderella’s beauty. They are afraid that Cinderella may win Prince’s heart if she too goes to attend the Ball.
Father is a helpless creature who though loves Cinderella but cannot do anything to give her due. Father of Cinderella is symbol of all those men who are careless in deciding their partner and blindly follows their whims and bring curse to their children. Fairy mother is again a symbolic of sympathy, goodness, kindheartedness that is still found among the people around us. She represents all the good people who are always ready to help us in the time of our need. When Cinderella desperately wants to go on a Ball, her Fairy God Mother steps in and like a Magic Wand turns her from a maid to a beautiful princess. (Frugal, Ch 4, Online Edition) This scene shows that there are people in this world who are always there to help the persons, who are kind, compassionate, honest and dutiful. Like magic, they come to pick you from your trouble times. To forget the promise is also a characteristic trait in human beings when their good times finally arrive. Fairy God mother tells Cinderella to come back before twelve else her magic will vanish and “Her Carriage would turn back to a pumpkin, her horses to mice, her coachman to a rat, her footmen to lizards, and her dress to rags.”(Frugal, Ch 4 Online Edition) But she is so lost dancing with Prince that she forgets the promise, and when clock strikes twelve, she hurries back but losses her shoes.
The Prince is a symbol of a virtuous person, a noble man who considers beauty as the most virtuous thing woman should possess and as Cinderella is most beautiful so naturally he gets attracted towards her. This implies beauty and good heartedness are the most virtuous propositions that a woman should possess. In real life, a woman gets good husband only if she is beautiful and virtuous. Cinderella finally marries a Prince and lives happily ever after. Sisters and Stepmother realize their mistake and too become good-natured human beings.
Fairy tales heals our soul and are very soothing. Fairy tales are like magic mirrors speaking the volume of each and every aspect of our human lives. They portray us what we are and what should be done by us. And inculcate in the children the moral values: to be good and kind to the suffering human beings, to be brave, hard working, obedience and patient. The tales make us realize that if we fight against odds and difficulties, listen to our consciousness and to our helpers, eventually victory will be ours.
Bellingham, Daryll. “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” Internet (Last update: 26th August, 2003) Available: http://www.storytell.com.au/stories/PiedPiper.html, 18 October 2007.
Frugal. “Cinderella” Internet. Available: http://www.allthingsfrugal.com/cind.htm, 18 October 2007.
Grimm, Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm. “Little Snow-White” (Translated by D. L. Ashliman) Internet. Revised November 14, 2005. Available: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0709.html, 18 October 2007.
Johnson, E. Phillip. “Aristotle Rediscovered – Review” National Review, May 31, 1999. Internet. Available: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_10_51/ai_54618897, 18 October 2007.
University of Southern Queensland. “The Pied Piper of Hamelin: Themes and Issues” Internet (Updated 11 Jan 2005) Available: http://www.usq.edu.au/PerformanceCentre/education/piedpiperofhamelin/themes.htm, 18 October 2007.
Vandergrift, E. Kay. “Snow White Criticism” Internet. Created January 6, 1997. Available: http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~kvander/swcriticism.html 18 October 2007