Which Fairy Tales?

Some fairy tales are better than others for different types of analyses.

fairy-tale-littlered“Little Red Riding Hood,” Charles Perrault’s version, or the Grimm’s “Little Red Cap” offer quite a bit of information for a character analysis. “The Three Little Pigs,” at least in some versions, also has the pigs learning. “Hansel and Gretel” also has several versions with dynamic characters.

“Little Red Riding Hood” can also offer an interesting discussion of setting. Or, again, “Hansel and Gretel” offers the student some interesting setting discussions.

“Little Red Riding Hood” is also good for theme. “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” is not necessarily good for this because the most obvious theme is “might makes right.” “The Three Little Pigs” has garnered some interesting themes besides the obvious of “don’t be lazy,” the most interesting being a Marxist reading of the fairy tale.

Most fairy tales are NOT useful for point of view.

fairy-tale-true-story-3-pigsI have an answer for this. I bring in a modern children’s story of “The Three Little Pigs.” The work is called The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf. I don’t ask the students to write on point of view for this section of the class, but this work gives a very good introduction to the concept.

An analysis of style could be done using two versions of the same story. Use Grimm and Perrault or Grimm and Disney.

Both Grimm’s “Little Red Cap” and “Hansel and Gretel” have sufficient symbolism in them to introduce this concept.

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

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