Topic: Literature

Last updated: November 22, 2019

The birth of fairy tales is many times unknown, but their reputations have always remained the same. These tales not only attract children with their wondrous lands and magical charm, but they captivate the child by involving relatable characters with recognizable problems. While these stories provide mind-churning imagination, the lesson they provide does not cease to exist when the book is closed. Bruno Bettelheim, the author of Uses of Enchantment, has constructed an evaluation that fairy tale’s offer insight to the child’s psychological life. He believes such literature depicts underline meaning to ways in which the child develops and deals with real life conflicts.

Undertaking such a strong controversial topic for the first time, all of Bettelheim’s stances are not completely justified. In some cases, they are left open ended allowing uproar of criticism due to his vague assumptions. Although he has the children’s best interest and good intentions, he fails to notice the distinct difference from an adult’s mind level analysis to that of a child’s. He also easily misconstrues psychological facts making his position difficult to fully agree with for its lack of truth (Zipes). Bettelheim observes only certain aspects of the tales and their connection to children, and often dismisses or overlooks other aspects such as the way children learn and what they get out of the fairy tale in actuality. Through his book, critical essays from Gale, psychological support, and fairy tales themselves, refuting Bettelheim seems to be an effortless task; but his work still deserves some qualification for his attentive style and should not be completely released.

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