Fairy Tales to Introduce Criticism

Besides using the fairy tales to introduce the different types of literary analysis, I also use them to introduce different forms of criticism.

fairytales_jack_beanstalkSince my one student wrote on it, I talk about the Marxist interpretation of “The Three Little Pigs.” I think you can imagine what a Freudian interpretation of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” might be and “Little Red Riding Hood” lends itself to a Freudian interpretation historically. More modern versions, like “The Grandmother,” are overtly about sex. Jungian criticism offers an interesting approach to the forest often included in the fairy tales. … And I go through all the different schools of criticism that students are likely to run into later when they are writing a literary research paper.

For the final short paper on fairy tales, I allow students to either use a fairy tale we have covered in class or to pick a story they grew up with.

Using fairy tales to introduce literary analysis has worked well for my classes.

This was part of a presentation given at the Conference of College Teachers of English: Texas in March.

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