The Role of the Mother in Fairy Tales Term Paper by write123

The Role of the Mother in Fairy Tales
An analysis of the roles of mothers and step-mothers in fairy tales and how these relationships are a reflection of society at the time.
# 105761 | 3,375 words | 13 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Jul 17, 2008 in Literature (Children) , English (Analysis)

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This paper discusses the demonstration of social and moral changes through time that can be seen in fairy tales. It focuses on the role of the mother as a guiding force and a source of competition and angst, for children, as it is expressed in more literary fairy tales. The paper analyzes the reflection of the fairy tale into the inner mind of the child which always ends happily to play out resentment toward the dominant rule enforcer of their lives, the mother, without fear.

Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: (Step) Mothers and Daughters
Chapter 2: Old School, Modern Need
Chapter 3: Grimm Brothers' Mothers and Daughters

From the Paper:

"There is no doubt that fairy tales are a clear message of social and cultural coding, and as many argue they should evolve with time, to better reflect the culture in which they are used as teaching tool. (Bettelheim 24) yet, it should also be argued that fairy tales, in their literary history still serve a purpose, no matter how watered down they are. The role of the mother as the allowable antagonist to the children is essential to the child's ability to have feelings of anger and resentment in a form that does less harm, to them than open confrontation. Much of childhood is extremely emotional internalized perception, and acknowledging that these feelings are normal and even healthy, with regard to the child becoming independent, is essential to normal psychological development. Literary fairy tales then serve the purpose of giving us a glimpse into the issues of the past but also hold many truths that are still relevant today, as can be attested by a frequent adaptation of their storylines to modern contexts. The struggle between the mother and the child is universal and will likely remain so, as the relationship one has with one's mother as a child and an adult, for most people is the most significant of all, without fairy tales the regeneration of social guidelines would be much more difficult, hence the liberation of the fairy tale in modern literature and popular media."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bettelheim, Bruno, The Uses of Enchantment: the Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Vintage, 1989.
  • A Cinderella Story. Warner Brothers film , 2004.
  • Cashdan, Sheldon. The Witch Must Die The Hidden Meaning of Fairy Tales. New York: Basic Books, 1999.
  • Curry, Carol, Karen Trew, Irene Turner, and Jennifer Hunter. "The Effect of Life Domains on Girls' Possible Selves." Adolescence 29.113 (1994): 133.
  • Deszcz, Justyna. "Beyond the Disney Spell, or Escape into Pantoland." Folklore 113.1 (2002): 83.

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The Role of the Mother in Fairy Tales (2008, July 17) Retrieved September 26, 2020, from

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"The Role of the Mother in Fairy Tales" 17 July 2008. Web. 26 September. 2020. <>