Fairy tales and archetypes in the development of children | INFJ Forum

Fairy tales and archetypes in the development of children

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by gloomy-optimist, Jan 15, 2010.

Share This Page

Watchers:
This thread is being watched by 3 users.
More threads by gloomy-optimist
  1. gloomy-optimist

    gloomy-optimist Used to live here

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Threads:
    29
    Messages:
    4,304
    Likes Received:
    202
    Trophy Points:
    528
    MBTI:
    INxJ
    Enneagram:
    4w3
    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?
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Blind Bandit and Gaze like this.
  2. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Threads:
    8
    Messages:
    2,145
    Likes Received:
    308
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I would tend to agree very much with the quoted passages. Presenting the realities of life at a child's level is important. In this way they are brought little by little into the tribal experience and given respect in an age-appropriate manner.
     
  3. Agnus

    Agnus Community Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    It's a common theme in our society that children should be sheltered from the "bad" and only taught the "good." Opinions?

    Hmm, I am thinking about the word sheltered. Is it really possible to shelter a child from something bad in society?
    If I understood this text right, it is maintaining that if we will delete moral contraposition from society collective subconsciouness, and if we will leave just "good" information about human behaviour, then society will become "better".
    Then we should think from where comes those fairy tales? And is it really fairy tails (like something magical and unreal)?
    All what is written or told or understood by people in all the history is actually made by them. So, there is a question then, why people created those stories or myths or whatever it is called? Maybe it came out of human experience? And I am sure it actually did. So what is human experience? What is human (in a context of his creativity)? Why human is tend to be creative? When human is tend to be creative? Maybe he is creative then, when he has social interaction. Maybe he is creative, because his nature tells him to improve his possibility to use all of the potential of him. Maybe human is a social unit. So, maybe human experience comes out of his need of individuality and need of definition and improving.
    So, maybe all the stories really are human experience?
    So, there is a question then. Is human nature changeble?
     
    Blind Bandit likes this.
  4. Barnabas

    Barnabas Time Lord

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2009
    Threads:
    263
    Messages:
    5,241
    Likes Received:
    669
    Trophy Points:
    667
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Florida man
    MBTI:
    wiblywobly
    Enneagram:
    timeywimey
    It's a common held belief that every story, myth, tale or legend has a grain of truth set in it.

    What kind of tales are you studying?
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  5. Agnus

    Agnus Community Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    What is your opinion about it?
     
  6. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Threads:
    8
    Messages:
    2,145
    Likes Received:
    308
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I think you were closer when you said "need of definition." Change might be questionable, but I do think passing on deeper tribal lessons, defining the nuances of the human experience, through stories is, yes, both creative and good. In fact, this accounts for many forms of drama aimed at adults, too. I think these stories communicate underlying and complex lessons that kids pick up on on an emotional, intuitive level...they would not pick them up so easily through more rational inputs.
     
  7. Agnus

    Agnus Community Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ

    So, that is exactly what I want to touch. Is human nature can be changed that it would be possible to dispose emotional growth without contraposition between emotions, which naturally raise the individuality and possibility to choose. Is it possible to raise a good person from a child, with no contrapostions between examples?
    From where comes rational thoughts?
    With word changing I don't want to define improving. With word changing I am talking more about human sensing constitution changes.
     
  8. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
    Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Threads:
    36
    Messages:
    2,538
    Likes Received:
    288
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    enfp
    Enneagram:
    -
    I only agree with the part that it is good for kids to know about very harsh fairy tales. Of struggle, injustice and death, because that's what it is, around us, for now. I do not agree however, that this state of existence must be accepted blindly as necessary, because by tradition it has always been so. And I don't see how the inhumane extremes of good and bad forces, often seen in some fairy tales, are useful. They prepare future zealots and daydreamers, who will never see other people for what they are, but for what they match them from such passionate stories.



    Whoever wrote that part is also very behind with the studies:
    The "dark side" and "evilness" in people is entirely fabricated by religious preachings. When they couldn't explain something, or couldn't deal with something, they blamed it to devils and demons, or threw people out of society, in Sparta style. We still do it today with the stupidity of prisons. But in more advanced nations they are taking steps towards improving that nonsense.

    Children stories tend to be full of unrealistic hysteria, both too much "good", and too much "bad", which begins to seem more irrational with every year passing by. It is such stories that prepare future psychopaths. Because people think too black and white about reality, as a result, which has nothing to do with the truth about reality.

    This mind pollution causes people to become fanatics, to be full of guilt, shame, superficial ethical bias, instead of studying systems in detail. Because it is easier to mark things "good" and "bad" (including ourselves), than to research what they are (what we are). The existing ethics in the world is the ethics of consumerism (take it or throw it away); it's not analytical enough. If it was more analytical, it was going to be much less judgemental.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    #8 enfp can be shy, Jan 15, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  9. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Threads:
    8
    Messages:
    2,145
    Likes Received:
    308
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    If I understand your meaning correctly....and trust me I am no expert here....emotional, intuitive and symbolic language is the rightful domain of the child. They are wired for it. Stories make these lessons easy for kids to internalize. More rational thought (requiring abstract reasoning) would have to come later as the child grows up, and then tranistion to something else altogether when reaching adulthood since adults have the tools to alter certain aspects of the external world they live in. The interesting thing is that the storybood archetypes don't precisely apply in the adult, rational world, but then again the resonances of those childhood stories do still apply, but on a whole other level. It's almost like functioning fully in an adult world requires multiple modes acquired over time. We tend to think one mode is for kids and one isn't but I'm not sure this is so. This maybe why adults pass them on to children...as an adult one still feels the emotional meaning but also recognizes the meaning from an adult perspective.

    I think such stories have been told since time immemorial to captivate and facinate children, while the adults knowingly approved since the underlying lessons could be clearly seen by them.

    Again...I'm no expert but I have raised kids.
     
    gloomy-optimist likes this.
  10. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Threads:
    8
    Messages:
    2,145
    Likes Received:
    308
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I agree....I was thinking more of the ones involving loyalty, friendship, judging others inapproriately, sacrifice for goodness, seeing past illusions.
     
  11. slant

    slant Sedated slanty

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Threads:
    330
    Messages:
    10,077
    Featured Threads:
    38
    Likes Received:
    14,821
    Trophy Points:
    1,741
    Gender:
    Female
    MBTI:
    Infp
    Enneagram:
    6-4-9
    Hmm. I'd like to be like Atticus. I think that fictional character did a good job of not overly sheltering his children but not blatantly tellin them terrible shit.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  12. OP
    gloomy-optimist

    gloomy-optimist Used to live here

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Threads:
    29
    Messages:
    4,304
    Likes Received:
    202
    Trophy Points:
    528
    MBTI:
    INxJ
    Enneagram:
    4w3
    Well, here's how fairy tales work; the "good" and "evil" manifest in archetypal images -- that is, Cinderella versus the evil stepmother. These archetypes are easily understood by the child because they transcend culture. These same archetypes appear in dreams, legends, myths, etc.

    The tales don't dwell on "good" and "bad," but they do show that good and bad are both prevalent in the world and that there are obstacles that the hero must overcome. It does not accent either, but just presents it as it is -- good actions are rewarded, and evil ones are punished, and this is done plainly and without frills. The same principle applies to legends, such as Greek legends -- same archetypes, similar concept, but simplified for the developing mind of a child.

    The biggest point about these tales is that it is not what is directly said, but what is understood. Children's books and shows now that talk about "sharing" and whatnot -- that's not the aim of fairy tales. Fairy tales develop the conscious, subconscious, id, ego, etc. through the collective unconscious.

    One theory is that fairy tales, by direct and bluntly allowing the child to be exposed to the good and evil aspects of society and the fact that obstacles must be overcome, show that its natural for people to have flaws and "evil" aspects -- which, of course, children have. It gives them a clear and coherent reason to be "good" without trying to ignore or repress the negative aspects of the personality. Without this sort of development, a child is likely to end up demonizing and suppressing those negative aspects that they do not see in the rest of the world -- they feel ashamed of them. Fairy tales also allow a child to project their fears on something; the archetypes that they unconsciously and naturally understand.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  13. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Threads:
    8
    Messages:
    2,145
    Likes Received:
    308
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Interesting. It has been said that children's stories in the UK (the example that was used) contain much more direct scenarios involving possible danger than children's stories in the US which could be seen as far more sanitized. I wonder what the background behind such a thing might be?
     
  14. Gaze

    Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Threads:
    2,380
    Messages:
    28,269
    Featured Threads:
    93
    Likes Received:
    22,755
    Trophy Points:
    1,906
    MBTI:
    INFPishy
    Very interested in this topic. Could you list some of the works you are reading in the course?
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  15. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Yep, it's also why parents are protecting their children from getting dirty, and therefore inhibiting their immune systems.
     
  16. Agnus

    Agnus Community Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Because you've raised kids that makes you kind of an expert. :)
    And when I am talking about possibility to change human nature, in my imagination raises such an understanding, ummm maybe more memories, that when baby is borning (coming out of the womb) he is confused, scared. He knows that he is becoming separated from his parent and he is crying, but at the same moment when he is embraced with all the gentellness of his mother, he feels good, he feels calm, because he feels safe. That means he instinctively knows what is good and what is bad.
    What I want to say is that, human nature is creation by possibility instinctively to indentify what is good and what is bad. Morality in human nature is natural thing.
    We tend to think one mode is for kids and one isn't but I'm not sure this is so. This maybe why adults pass them on to children...as an adult one still feels the emotional meaning but also recognizes the meaning from an adult perspective.
    That is excatly what I call human nature. We all instintively feel difference between good and bad, we all deeply feel the basis of it, but because of different experience we are reavealing morality in different way. some part of morality is unconsciouss and some conscious.
    So how to know one kind of morality, when humanity created complex and not always understandable web of unconscious and conscious choices?
    Maybe to tell stories what is good and evil? And every person will sytematize all the information in that kind of understanding that he has?
     
  17. Barnabas

    Barnabas Time Lord

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2009
    Threads:
    263
    Messages:
    5,241
    Likes Received:
    669
    Trophy Points:
    667
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Florida man
    MBTI:
    wiblywobly
    Enneagram:
    timeywimey
    My opinion on sheltering children from evil, all men hide darkness in their hearts. How are we to shelter ourselves little lone other from our hearts.

    as for where the stories come from, let it suffice to say that all stories come from experince, whether it is an actual event passed down from the ages or the tale born from personal knowledge.

    And of man's nature, a term to broad to be significantly changed.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  18. anica

    anica dark dreamer
    Donor

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Threads:
    29
    Messages:
    1,674
    Likes Received:
    169
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    infp
    Enneagram:
    4w5
    I too am very curious about what particular literature you are studying. My mother read to us every night, frequently from The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen. her especial favorite was a story entitled "The Snow Queen" (or maybe "The Ice Queen") about a girl who somehow gets a sliver of ice in her heart and comes under the dominion of either the Snow or Ice Queen, leaving behind all those she loves, including her best friend who lives next door and doesn't understand the change in her at first. I think he eventually does--the story is a little fuzzy in my mind at this late stage--and risks his own life to go to the Ice Queen's realm to rescue his friend. As I remember it, it is his love of his friend that melts the sliver of ice in her heart and frees her from the Ice Queen.

    I think my mother read that story so often was because it was her story. I believe she was wounded somehow (the ice sliver) when she was young and she waited all her life for someone to rescue her with love and it never happened. Maybe this is all psychobabble, but that's what came to mind as I read this thread.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  19. Agnus

    Agnus Community Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Threads:
    4
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    How to shelter child from society? Maybe to show him what is good and evil?
    In my opinion darkness is good place to hide yourself, and it is not a place where are all your sins.
    All fairy tails and stories are made by people experience, it should be understood, not hidden. It is the same like when you understand that all the darkness in you was just a lack of a light.
     
  20. laurie

    laurie Snowblind in Dreamland

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Threads:
    20
    Messages:
    1,382
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    0
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    9w1
    I've been studying fairytales for English Literature and I do agree that they're useful tools to illustrate the realities the child will have to face. However, contextually, many of them were made to keep women in their place (such as Blue Beard - women can't be curious) and in the equal society (I think it's pretty equal at least) that we live in today, I don't know if those elements of the stories are needed anymore.
    On the other hand, many tales portray men as domineering and brutal, even predatory (why the wolf is always male) which isn't a positive thing for a child to be influenced by.
    Some of them, like Little Red Riding Hood, are generally good as, although there is a subtext of her attraction to sensuality leading to her downfall, it warns children not to trust strangers as they might turn out to be predatory.
    I guess, in the end, it depends on how you interpret it and if you think children will be able to pick up on the negative messages hidden in the tales, or just think of them as slightly scary stories.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    gloomy-optimist likes this.

Share This Page