The classic fairy tale has been in crisis lately. Take, for example, the mother who turns off the recording at the end of Mermaid and tells her daughter, “No one is worth your life.” Keira Knightley, the British actress who starred in Pirates of the Caribbean film Pride and Prejudice, put Cinderella, released in 1950, on her daughter’s blacklist “because she waits for a rich man to rescue her”.
Earlier, people worried about not being able to protect children’s innocence in a world of information flow. Is there really a Santa Claus? The prince and princess live happily ever after? In this world, it is hard not to let children know that fairy tales are full of lies.
Some people resist and want to share growing up stories with their children. However, looking back on the history of fairy tales, we will understand that the so-called classics have been changed again and again; It can even be said that the classic fairy tale is the product of modern multiple thoughts.
Fairy tales are folk tales at root. Marie-louise von Franz was a disciple of the psychoanalytic psychologist Carl Jung. In her obituary in The New York Times, she was called “the Queen of Jungian psychology.” In the preface of “Women in Fairy Tales,” she mentioned a big background: “Before the seventeenth century, Those who are interested in fairy tales are adults. It was only later that fairy tales were put in the position of raising children. Fairy tales, myths and religion are a continuum.
Gunter Grass, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, said in his talk “Literature and Myth” that “fairy tales and myths can convey a knowledge that cannot be acquired by instrumental reason. Fairy tales have the function of collective memory because they can be passed on.”
So how do these folktales become texts that we see? This is inseparable from the collection and adaptation of the European scholars. From Chombadista Basil’s Five Days of Talk to Charles Perrault’s Tales of Mother Goose and the Grimm Brothers’ Grimm’s Fairy Tales, folk fairy tales have completed the transformation from literary fairy tales to classic ones.
Grimm’s fairy Tales was the biggest step forward. The Brothers Grimm lived in Germany in the 19th century, and the original intention of collecting stories was to discover the German national spirit. The original texts kept the original form in the folk oral transmission, full of “black fairy tale” plots and difficult words. However, in the process of transmission, people at that time no longer regarded children as “miniature adults”, and children were independent from adults, so some narration was “not suitable for children”.
As many as seven changes were made by the Brothers Grimm. On the one hand, the text was changed to be clear and clear; on the other hand, the bloody, violent, incest and other plots were deleted to integrate the Aesthetic concept of German Romanticism. “There was once a…” “And they lived happily ever after,” those classic lines were all invented by the Brothers Grimm.
From this we can make it clear that the fairy tales we regard as classics today are neither fixed nor out of context. When we talk about classic fairy tales, we’re talking about nationalism, Rousseau’s view of children, even romantic literature. Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty are all known as “fairy tales around the world”. The Chinese version of Cinderella is called Ye Xian, and the Wolf grandmother has been rebranded as The Tiger Aunt, but they are not well known to us.
We might as well break away from the whitewash of classic fairy tales and look at the ideas hidden in them. In gunter Grass’s words, “another kind of truth.” In the view of psychologists, fairy tales reflect people’s collective unconsciousness and can provide insight into people’s psychology.
Marie-louis-von Franz specialized in the psychology of fairy tales, as well as literature, linguistics, Latin, Greek, and ancient history. Her series of books have been introduced in recent years, including “Women in Fairy Tales”, “Eternal Youth”, “Shadow and Evil”, “Princess Turns Cat” and so on. As a student of Jung, she inherited the theory of the “collective unconscious” and the “archetype”, believing that the fairy-tale characters “are archetypal figures unamplified by human beings” and “necessarily related to a very old and very archetypal theme”.
Sleeping Beauty has several motifs. The first is the miracle of birth – many of the heroic children in fairy tales are born after their mothers have been infertile for a long time. Psychologically, it means that women have an undetected creative energy that is overflowing. You can also think of it in broad terms as the energy that accumulates in the unconscious, causing significant events to occur.
A fairy godmother who cursed or blessed the princess is a symbol of the “mother goddess”. The mother goddess has two characteristics that do not cancel each other out, one is the unreflective female emotional response, and the other is the act of unconditional charity, “any poor, disabled, unhappy is placed on her lap to be loved and nourished.”
“Princess Turned Cat” is a story that we are relatively unfamiliar with. There is a kingdom with only princes, and a kingdom with only princesses. Here we need to introduce the concept of Jungian psychology – Anima and Animus. Anima is a female figure in a man’s mind, whereas Animus is a male figure in a woman’s mind.
In a country where there were only princes, the old king sent his sons to find what he wanted. The second time was the most beautiful woman in the world, as his sons’ wife. According to the book, this shows the exhaustion of a male-only nation and the need to seek out the anima or feminine nature. If a man’s Anima dies, if he does not touch the feminine in him, he may be the greatest idealist in the world, with the most beautiful plans for reforming the world, but when it comes to carrying them out, he will be at a loss… The realization of ideals depends on people, not on committees and newspapers.
In contrast, the princess transformed into a cat is very flexible and has an independent personality. She becomes the queen of cat Country and pushes the princes to resist and break broken rules. She was like the archetype of the cat, whose sacred status in Egypt had more to do with fertility, folk celebration, and music than with evil; It wasn’t until the Middle Ages, when Christianity was dominant, that cats and witches were associated and stigmatized as symbols of malevolence.
Both men’s and women’s worlds have their merits, but they need to be fused. Furthermore, it reflects the suppression and disappearance of women — women in other stories are often not the projection of the male Anima image, trying to satisfy everyone except their own needs; It is a one-sided Animus who lacks female wholeness and becomes a negative tyrant. According to Von Franz, fairy tales are one of the few stories narrated by women with pure archetypal material.
Mrs. Trude and Babayaga. The former is included in Grimm’s fairy tales, but there are various versions around the world. There’s a very interesting thing about them — the ideas they endorse are not the same as they are today, like collectivism versus individualism, lies versus honesty, silence versus knowledge.
Let’s call the girl in Mrs. Trude Little A and the girl in Babayaga Little B. Small A curiosity is very strong, regardless of their parents against must go to the forest to see the old witch, that is, Mrs. Trud. Little B is driven by her stepmother and her daughter to find fire. This became little A’s first mistake.
In ancient times, group living was very important and it was very dangerous to act alone. Hominids link to humans and objects, “protecting the individual from total exposure to superorganism and unconscious terror forces”. Little A is curious and disobedient, which seems good to us but bad to the narrator of the fairy tale. In some fairy tales, a little girl is almost eaten because she won’t go out to dinner or a party with her parents.
When the story goes into the witch’s house, little A asks A lot of questions, and finally reveals the image of the devil with fire head, which is turned into A piece of wood and burned. Little B asked nothing, until the witch volunteered: “Ask! But remember that not all problems are wise: too much knowledge makes people old.” She denied the fact that she “saw” in the interrogation, and asked questions to stop, and finally not only was not killed by Barbara Yaga but also got help.
Later readers were so shocked that it was rewritten to say that the little girl was praised for telling the truth — a typical example of judging the ancients by the present. Not knowing, not asking, means respecting the unknowable. Confucius said, “If you don’t know how to live, how to know how to die.” Nietzsche said, “If you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss will stare back.” It is wise to keep a distance from evil and stop the chain reaction. “All evil tends to set up a chain reaction, be it suicide, be it revenge, be it retribution.”
Through the various fairy tales cited by von Franz and their interpretations, we can see the original vitality of fairy tales before they became classics, unfettered by moral rules and religious teachings. On the other hand, what we think of as classic fairy tales are novel in the time they were created, and have become tainted with the dust of ideas over the centuries. Although the title of classic, but not necessarily canonized.
Finally, a little digression. There have always been concerns that fairy tales are too “heavy”, but are children really easily frightened? Von Franz argues in Jungian terms that in fairy tales wrongdoers are ruthlessly destroyed, but they are not real, they are archetypal characters, and children instinctively know this. This kind of destruction has the right guidance — we need to stop life threatening elements once and for all.
The brothers Grimm – Jacob Grimm, the elder of the available in the first edition criticised, put forward its own objection: “we appear in front of the public, the traditional education and discipline of work and, children will after they are ready, just understand that they can’t grasp now, across their minds.” Therefore, there is no need to create works specially for children.
“Scared” children, really will have a stronger vitality? I don’t know what to say here.