Essay On Essay Morality and Fairy Tales
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The concept of fairy tales and fantasy stories instructing good morals among the young is not a new concept in the current generation. The fairy tales feature characters such as goblins, ogre, elves and trolls which are used to pass the message to the audience. In the recent times, fairy tales have been classified as children literature and thus are used to impart good morals to children. Initially, the fairy tales were associated with adults since some of the plot was obscene for children (Zavlek, 34-67). Fairy tales were classified under oral tradition since they are narrated orally rather than being read from literary texts. They represented the literary richness of the society and were passed from one generation to the other. This illustrates that the oral tradition was highly conserved among the communities and thus, safeguarded for the good of the society. In most cases, the tales had a sad ending, which was a penalty of dealing with fairy folk (Zavlek, 34-67). The tales could be classified into various sub-genres such as adventure, romance, combat and those that talked about the society. The moral lesson and happy endings of most fairy tales was illustrated by the villain being punished.
Text analysis is the main approach, which has been used by most scholars to arrive at the purpose of the fairy tales. In this analytical move, one realizes the message conveyed to the audience, who in this case, are the children. Emergence of literary criticism of folk tales is a new enterprise which has not gained much momentum in the recent times. The moral life means being responsible and responsive to the people living within a given society. Virtues are the traits, which allow people to use their freedom in a moral manner. The moral principles justify the actions of a person do not make one virtuous. In the fairy tales, a character is normally given some traits from which the audience can identify with. The audience learn from the traits that have been given to the character by comparing the good from the bad. It is upon the audience to draw the lesson from the character traits which they can identify with. The basic goal of any literary work is imparting good morals to the audience. In the 18th and 19th century the fairy tales were under sharp criticism for being amoral and unsuited for children since they contained adult scenes.
Some of the fairy tales that were considered amoral include ‘Puss ‘n’ Boots’ and most trickster stories. However, in most moral stories there is definite sense that even good people can experience adverse situations in their lives. Apart from amoral stories, fairy tales do teach good lessons which are meant to correct the ills in the society. For instance, myths are about the ethical dilemmas that are faced by gods and superhuman. They are epic in plot and have a sense of divinity (Zavlek, 34-67). When most of the fairy tales deal with difficult issues that people face in the dynamic world, they also enlist children to cherish good and triumph evil or wrong in the society. Not only do the fairy tales help the children understand the wrong from the bad but also improve their creativity and imagination. Stereotyping good and bad in the fairy tales give the children a moral code on which to build their own lives.
Apart from demonising the dwarf in a fairy tale such as Snow White, there is the underlying message in existence of physical diversity in the human race (Zavlek, 34-67). Another message that is portrayed in this fairy tale is the kindness and generosity that exists in beauty and the affluent (Winston, 56-70). The stories are not discriminatory in nature but rather assist the children to comprehend the weakness in the human behaviour. They also help the children to understand their own fears and emotions. The stories enable the children to understand the high and low that exists in life. There is love, hatred, degeneracy, loss, joy and sadness in the journey of life.
Violence is one of the themes presented in many fairy tales in the plot and narration. Violence is not a common thing in fairy tales alone but also in real life situations. Violence forms a channel through which the lessons and morals can be portrayed. In a fairy tale such as Bluebeard, the author narrates how other characters slayed Mr. Fox to pieces. Many would argue that the narration of Bluebeard is not suitable for children due to grotesque narration. However, a plot of violence gives a wider picture of moral life lessons. In the narration of Bluebeard, violence depicts the hindrance to most of the characters. Violence is used as a measure of the person who is worthy to become the wife. Those unfortunate in the bid are to be taken to the forbidden chamber. The same violence used by Bluebeard ultimately leads to her demise.
The Beauty and the Beast is a fairy tale which depicts how violence can eventually lead to positive rewards such as obedience and patience. The beast is not only a violent but also a frightening creature (Orenstein, 49-89). In the storyline, the Beast either contributes to the demise of the Beauty’s father or herself. Instead of killing the father and the girl, the Beast is depicted to be kind-hearted and affectionate to the Beauty. By submitting to the willingness of the Beast, they end up in a marriage full of happy ending (Lurie, 29-50). The blissful ending in the marriage of Beauty is due to her character of good virtues. The narrations in the two fairy tales depict violence in a good manner. This unfolds good lessons that children can relate with in their lives. The Little Red Riding Hood is another fairy tale that has been subjected to many revisions so as to build the message to the audience in its era. The early variations differ from the modern ones due to the inclusion of themes such as morality, violence, gender and sexuality.
One striking theme that has remained in both the early and later narration is never to talk to a stranger. The narration is, however, consistent with the ideals which are common in the modern era. Both the narrations have a varying degree of ambiguity when they deliver the moral message. The book, however, warns the girls from conversing with strangers who might mislead the little maidens to acts of sex. The stories emphasize the need of the children paying attention to their guardians while at the same time obeying them (Lurie, 29-50). The message engrained in the tale rebukes the act of men chasing women like wolves and taking advantage of their innocence.
The wisdom and ethics in fairy tales are mused together to teach the children on the best life practices. The mere instruction to moral values is not sufficient. The children should constantly be reminded of the good morals by mentioning most of the characters in the fairy tales. This brings the nurturing aspect of the parents who have been given the ultimate role of instilling good morals. Morality in fairy tales addresses both the cognitive and affective variations of human nature. Morality should be considered as an impression on the character that has been stamped upon him or her (Lurie, 29-50). The audience draws the inference from the characters that have been depicted in the narration.
Lurie, Alison. The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.
Orenstein, Catherine. Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale. New York: Basic Books, 2002. Print.
Winston, Joe. Drama, Narrative and Moral Education: Exploring Traditional Tales in the Primary Years. London: Falmer, 1998. Print.
Zavlek, Steve. Fairy Tales, Fables & Parable: Moral Is the Story. Xlibris Corp, 2011. Print.