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Research Papers on Fairy Tales

Research papers on fairy tales can look at an individual fairy tale or overview the genre itselft. The history of fairy tales is extremely interesting and rich. The writers at Paper Masters will custom write your research.

Fairy tales began to appear in vernacular print during the 16th century, with the appearance of Straparola’s The Pleasant Nights (1550-3), which was modeled after Boccaccio’s Decameron, but included tales of fantasy.   If this were an art history book, Zipes might marvel at the unsurprising use of fresco by the Italians. Most of the information that is presented in the term paper is represented (only at greater length): tracing the development of the literary fairy tale from the salons of Enlightenment Paris, to the Brothers Grimm, and to Hans Christian Andersen. Fairy tales are a “utopian counterpoint to everything we are missing in our present day and age”.  They are tales we can tell our children because they are the ones who have not lost their sense of wonder. 

Most term papers on fairy tales will include the Grimm Brothers. Fairy Tales

  • The Grimms set about collecting their tales as a means of culturally uniting Germany
  • The original tales, as everyone knows, were quite bawdy and unfit for children, as Zipes illustrates, offering both original and edited passages from Children’s and Household Tales (1812-15).
  • Hans Christian Andersen next appears on the scene, writing tales that reflect his frustration with Danish society of the 19th century, a stratified society that never let him forget his humble origins, despite his wealth and success as a writer. 

Bengt Holbek developed a holistic model of folklore research in his book, Interpretation of Fairy Tales: Danish Folklore in A European Perspective, and proposed that the assessment of folktales is dependent on meaning, in which context it is not possible to disregard the symbolic aspect of the tale that have different meanings dependent on the referents of the observer.  From this perspective, Holbek meant that the symbols in fairy tales convey feelings rather than thoughts, a concept that greatly expanded the understanding of meaning for the writer.  It also made it possible to use a number of pre-existing methodologies for interpreting symbols from other disciplines, such as psychoanalysis. For example, in Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales, witches and villains in surpassed the Christian notions of good and evil and instead represented philistine bourgeois society and the decadence of the aristocracy.

In his model, Holbek used a system of seven rules for identifying the way in which symbolic expressions correspond to emotional impression.  This led him to develop three thematic oppositions that occur in folktales, specifically young versus old, male versus female and low versus high. These themes define the three categories of crises that occur in the tale.  In his explication of these themes, he takes a somewhat anthropological approach in that he contends that they are representative of the concerns of rural communities, which are universal and can develop independently from one another without any degree of historical or geographic connection.  He extrapolates this notion further to create an additional contention that every element in a fairy tale can be read as having a connection to real life.  As a result, supernatural beings or events are representations of real life events or personages, symbolic in nature and requiring a symbolic interpretation.

Related Research Paper Topics

The Robber Bridegroom - The Robber Bridegroom research papers examine the old German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm.

Rip Van Winkle and Walden - Rip Van Winkle and Walden Research Papers compare the literary peices on tone, purpose, and level of emotional maturity Rip Van Winkle and Walden.

Arabian Nights essays discuss the book, originally titled One Thousand and One Nights, that is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales.

The Aarne Thompson Classification of Folk Tales is a system provided for the indexing of folktales by type and motif.

The Tiger’s Bride - In many respects, Angela Carter’s The Tiger’s Bride is a retelling of Madame De Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast.

Alice in Wonderland - Alice in Wonderland Term Paper looks at the classic novel as a parody on the experience of growing up.