Bill Paley (mycroftca) wrote,
Bill Paley

first essay for F&SF class

The foundation for fantasy and science fiction literature began in oral tales, many of which were collected in the Nineteenth Century by the Brothers Grimm though such an oral tradition hearkens to the beginning of civilization. These stories are retold even today in such television series as Once Upon a Time, and motion pictures such as Snow White and the Huntsman. These fables are in their original intention a means of teaching in a time when there was no schooling for the average child. They allowed the young to learn creative and critical thinking, even though the stories are full of magical events and strange coincidences. Even though these were unlikely to happen in real life, much was made of how these magic items were used.

My opinion of the tales was that I got bored with the repetition, though the pleasure of recognition leavened that feeling. It seemed like most tales involved multiples of three: three brothers or sisters, three animals, three magic items, three opportunities to succeed. The repetition left me cold, but I can see its importance in the use of the fable as a form of education. Repetition would make the lesson clearer to the audience. In a number of the tales, key phrases were repeated often. I can still remember from my childhood watching the Fractured Fairy Tales portion of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show the phrase 'Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair so I can climb the golden stair", which isn't quite what the fable states in this version, but that's how the refrain played out in my mind. In a way, my recognition of these stories, bored or not, connects me to the folks from whom the Grimms garnered them.
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