Right now, I'm taking a class called Critical Approaches to Literature, which explores Freudian and Jungian techniques in assessing literature. At the moment, we are working on archetypes and symbols that transcend single cultures, and their involvement in dreams, myths, and fairy tales. Now, here's some interesting things in regards to that. In society today, we present children with many stories and primers intent on teaching them very basic, but ultimately shallow, societal and intellectual lessons. However, the scholars who we are studying state that folk legends, myths, and fairy tales remain to be the best sources to teach a child about him- or herself and aid in development. The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim states the following: "The worst feature of these children's books [referring to modern children books] is that they cheat the child of what he ought to gain from the experience of literature: access to deeper meaning, and that which is meaningful to him at his stage of development...fairy tales carry important messages to the conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious mind, on whatever level each is functioning at the time." Many parents turn away from classic fairy tales because they tend to deal with dark subjects and may seem inappropriate for a younger child. They often hold strong themes of evil as well as good, and punishment as well as reward. However, to a child, a degree of that is actually important for development: "[Fairy tales show] that a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable, is an intrinsic part of human existance -- but that if one does not shy away, but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious...[and] confronts the child squarely with the basic human predicaments...In practically every fairy tale good and evil are given body in the form of some figures and their actions, as good and evil are omnipresent in life...it is this duality which poses the moral problem, and requires the struggle to solve it." "The dominant culture wishes to pretend, particularly where children are concerned, that the dark side of man does not exist, and professes a belief in an optimistic meliorism." I thought this was very interesting, and I'd like to discuss it further. It's a common theme in our society that children should be sheltered from the "bad" and only taught the "good." Opinions?