By Bruno Bettelheim
Bruno Bettelheim used to be one of many nice baby psychologists of the 20 th century and maybe none of his books has been extra influential than this revelatory learn of fairy stories and their common value in knowing youth development.Analyzing a variety of conventional tales, from the stories of Sindbad to “The 3 Little Pigs,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “The dozing Beauty,” Bettelheim exhibits how the fantastical, occasionally merciless, yet constantly deeply major narrative strands of the vintage fairy stories can relief in our best human job, that of discovering that means for one’s existence.
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Extra info for The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (Vintage)
The child makes such identifications all on his own, and the inner and outer struggles of the hero imprint morality on him. The figures in fairy tales are not ambivalent—not good and bad at the same time, as we all are in reality. But since polarization dominates the child’s mind, it also dominates fairy tales. A person is either good or bad, nothing in between. One brother is stupid, the other is clever. One sister is virtuous and industrious, the others are vile and lazy. One is beautiful, the others are ugly.
At this critical time in his life, two elements of the tale were important to him. First, there was the security from all dangers in which the substitute mother kept the child, an idea which greatly appealed to him at that moment. So what normally could be viewed as a representation of negative, selfish behavior was capable of having a most reassuring meaning under specific circumstances. And even more important to the boy was another central motif of the story: that Rapunzel found the means of escaping her predicament in her own body—the tresses on which the prince climbed up to her room in the tower.
The figures in fairy tales are not ambivalent—not good and bad at the same time, as we all are in reality. But since polarization dominates the child’s mind, it also dominates fairy tales. A person is either good or bad, nothing in between. One brother is stupid, the other is clever. One sister is virtuous and industrious, the others are vile and lazy. One is beautiful, the others are ugly. One parent is all good, the other evil. The juxtaposition of opposite characters is not for the purpose of stressing right behavior, as would be true for cautionary tales.
The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (Vintage) by Bruno Bettelheim