On the Importance of Fairy Tales

On the Importance of Fairy Tales

Yet it seems very important to me, perhaps even more important today, that these ancient stories should be repeated again and again. The violence within them is always contained within a satisfying structure with a reversal, and the requisite happy ending. Here, good and evil are so conveniently and completely separate. There are no grey areas in the fairy tale. The appearance of the villain allows the child to freely project his own violent feelings onto these separate and satisfyingly wicked beings. Unable to express anger or hatred directly toward those adults on whom the child depends, he/she can displace this natural aggression and give free reign to it personified by the villain: the step-mother, the wicked wolf, or the witch.

By Sheila Kohler, Psychology Today

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