Interpretation of Fairy Tales Analytical Essay by Annette

Interpretation of Fairy Tales
This essay examines Bengt Holbek's model of classifying and interpreting the world's fairy tales.
# 4473 | 2,900 words | 6 sources | 2001 | US
Published on Jun 12, 2002 in Anthropology (Cultural) , Literature (Children) , English (Analysis) , Linguistics (General)

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After examining the basic elements of Holbek's system, the writer applies them to several fairy tales about giants to see how well it works "on the ground". Holbek's system is based on seven rules, rather like algorithms that he used to correlate the various symbolic expressions within fairy tales to the corresponding (real world) emotional expressions, focusing on three thematic opposition: child versus adult, male versus female and low versus high.

From the paper:

"Holbek's system of structural oppositions "define the three categories of crises which occur in fairy tales," all of which are in turn "real or possible events in the storytelling community", which may include such relatively minor trauma as adolescent rebellion and such terrible ones as incest (Holbek 416 & 418). Holbek believed that this psychological delving of fairy tales was in no way inappropriate, arguing that "every element [in a fairy tale] may be read as pertaining to real life" (Holbek 439. For Holbek, every ogre, fairy, sprite and giant was merely the representation of a real person (Holbek 418)."

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