Jack and the beanstalk is the story of a young, poor boy living with his poor mother in a tiny little house. Their only means of small income is a cow. One morning, the cow stops giving milk, and Jack is therefore sent off to the market to sell it. On the way to the market he meets an old man who offers to give him tiny, little magic beans in exchange for the big, healthy cow. Jack takes the beans but when he arrives home without money, his mother becomes furious and throws the beans out the window and sends Jack off to bed without supper. While Jack was sleeping, the bean grows into a gigantic beanstalk. Jack wakes up to see an enormous beanstalk. He climbs the gigantic beanstalk and arrives in a land high up in the sky, where he follows a road to a gigantic house, which is the home of a giant. He enters the giant’s castle and asks the giant’s wife for food. She gives him food, but the giant returns and senses that a human is nearby.
The giant says that he smells the blood of an Englishman and that he would want to grind his bones to make bread. However, the giant’s wife hides Jack in a closet and from there, tiny Jack heard the giant sit down at his monstrous table. His wife serves him from a huge bowl of food and he drank from his very big wine glass. Afterwards, the giant asks for his hen that lays golden eggs. The giant watched as it laid dozens of large golden eggs before he sleeps off, snoring loudly. Jack then steals the hen, which lays big golden eggs. He is almost caught by the giant who follows him down the humongous beanstalk. Jack calls his mother for a large axe and cuts down the beanstalk down, killing the heavy giant. The end of the story has Jack and his mother living happily ever after with the golden hen in their possession.
I think “Jack and the Beanstalk” is a great folktale. It is well written, exciting and colourful. That is, if you do not read between the lines. By approaching “Jack and the beanstalk” in a Freudian manner, the story is really about a boy becoming a man. From adolescence to adulthood. The old man, and in some versions an old woman, is the embodiment of desire and lust. Jack is offered the beans, which symbolizes his manhood. The planting of the beans could also be interpreted as the planting of his seeds as well as the beanstalk, which penetrates the skies, could be interpreted as his penis and him losing his virginity. The ogre’s wife could then be interpreted as his first love, or the one whom he loses his virginity to, and the ogre could be an embodiment of his own desire and lust or just something that bothers him that holds him back from achieving his goals. The hen can be interpreted as his goal, which he achieves, and in the end him and his mother lives a happy life because of that. Either that or the whole story is just one big intercourse, with the hen symbolizing orgasm, hence the “happy ending”. Either that or it is just a very colourful and cute little folktale.