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Do Fairy Tales Influence Our Morals and Beliefs?

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Do Fairy Tales Influence our Morals and Beliefs?

I can still remember my first trip to the movies. My older brother took me to see Cinderella. It is such a vivid memory. I watched intently and took in every scene. I wasn't aware at the time, but that magical story would linger in my mind forever. After that movie there were several more that followed, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, The little Mermaid, and Pocahontas. All of these stories have a perfect ending of the Prince and Princess living happily ever after.

Not only are there the stories of love but there are countless others that have lessons behind them. We have all learned lessons from fairy tales and we can easily relate the moral of the stories to some aspect of our lives. The Fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood" that children have loved for many years, teaches children not to talk to strangers and be aware of "wolves" in disguise. The stories that have impacted our culture our too numerous to count but many stand out and return over and over again, not only in our children's lives but our own as adults. Although, I am conscious that fairy tales impact our lives in a positive way, I want to explore the idea that these fairy tales may be adversely affecting the way we think of marriage and relationships, so I have decided to explore the question, how do fairy tales influence our morals and beliefs? It is a fair question, considering small children are influenced by these stories at a very young age. My thoughts are that most of these stories hold great values and lessons and I will investigate the psychological impact some of these stories may have.

Before I could focus on the impact of these tales on people's morals and beliefs I had to understand the origin and how fairy tales came about. Through Google searches I kept reaching dead ends and unreliable sources. I turned to a college textbook The Moral of the Story An Introduction to Ethics. This book is from a humanity and ethics class that I had previously taken. Reading over some of the chapter highlights, I learned that there are many reasons for telling stories, such as reading and writing novels and short stories, and for writing and making films. In early cultures the purpose of storytelling was to bring tribes closely together by setting up rules and boundaries that would establish a group identity, it also helped to pass time on a rainy day and kept children occupied. On the other side the purpose was to establish the story of the beginning of time, when everything was created. (p.40) As I read through the pages I found myself drawn into the strength of storytelling in many religions. I am a firm believer in God and this made me wonder if the bible could be a fable. I found myself with unfamiliar feelings towards the subject and did not wish to explore this aspect any longer, however I believe that the origin and history of the fairy tale is important because it describes the nature and what has been intended through stories.

Needing more information on how fairy tales influence our morals and beliefs, my next stop was at the public Library where, with some help from the librarian I found the book Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall. I spent several days reviewing excerpts out of the book and found that it was an excellent source of information. The key findings include theories from twenty-four different authors. Fairy Tales and their famous characters, from the "evil stepmother" to "prince charming" have been a powerful influence throughout many cultures. For some of these



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