am 9. Oktober 2006
I read this book in a course on "Drama and Storytelling" and it is a great means to understand the mechanisms and building blocks of fairy tales. Ever wondered why Snow White was white as snow or why her evil stepmother tried to kill her? Why was not her mother there and her father did not realize what was going on? If you ever asked yourself these questions then this book is definitely something for you!
In the first part, Bettelheim talks about such characters and elements of fairy tales as the wicked stepmother, animal grooms or heroes and antagonists. The reason why I gave him only 3 stars out of 5 is Bettelheim's second part: he analyses in depth some fairy tales such as Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood or Jack and the Beanstalk. If you loved these fairy tales as a child it might be very devastating to be told what some reactions of characters stand for. Bettelheim is a Freudian psychologist and one has to like his way of interpreting in order to appreciate his second part. Still, the first part already is worth reading the book.
am 9. Juni 1998
Got kids? Want them to grow up to be as emotionally, intellectually and spititually developed as possible? Then tell them fairy tales! The world famous child phychologist Bruno Bettelheim belives that the telling of fairy tales in thier original form can be the single most powerful influence in the lives of children. After reading his book on the subject: "The Uses Of Enchantment" you would (as I have) come to percieve the value of this medium for the channeling of essential information about how to live sucessfully in society. When Einstein was asked by a concerned mother what she could do to best promote her children's intellectual development he responded: "Tell them fairy tales!" When she pressed him for what else she could do he said: "Tell them more fairy tales!" Fairy tales reach the young child on the 'enchanted' level which is his world and give acceptance and approval to the chaotic and uncontrolable emotional states which rule him. They involve him in the delemas of the 'hero' and entice him to believe that the problems that presently so overwhelm him will ultimately be resolved if he will stick steadfastly to the true path. This body of liturature was has it's roots in prehistory and has been shaped with the particular aim of the socialization of the young: for which reason it must be passed on in it's original form. Any application of this insight will ultimatley result in happier, more productive and more thoroughly adjusted and socialized sons and daughters. More importantly though, right from the moment it begins it confers a compelling and involving validation of the child that exists at it's center. A fairy tale told in it's original form is: "a love gift to a child"!
am 12. Mai 1998
Bruno Bettelheim makes a very good case for the importance of reading fairy tales to children. He proposes that by hearing about life-threatening problems, serious problems, children are given vital information for the planning of their lives and the formation of their personalities.
By hearing of success against great odds, children are given hope that they, too, as powerless as they may feel themselves (as children), can one day hope to "live happily ever after."
This is in sharp contrast to programming such as "Barney" which presents an unreal fairy-tale present. While children may enjoy seeing programs where there is no violence, they nevertheless DO need to have the reassurance that the difficulties they experience in daily living are universal, and that by perseverance they can develop into good strong, kind people.
The author defines a fairy story as one in which there is a happy ending. Exceptions are (notably) "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" and "The Little Match Girl".
I took a renewed interest in reading these tales to my youngsters, and found that indeed they did appear to be most receptive to them. And no longer did rather gory details disturb me, as the children DO seem to realize that 1) it is just a story, and 2) there is in fact some reasonableness to the idea of unhappy people in this suffering world.
I recommend this book very highly, indeed, to parents of young children. But Dr. Bettelheim cautions against telling the children how good the stories are for them, lest the full impact be somewhat dissipated.
am 2. August 2014
for the development of children's psyche and this book explains why and how. So if you are a concerned parent and believe that fairy tales are too violent for your kids, then buy this book and read it and after that download one of the free kindle editions of Grimms Household Fairy Tales and read them to your children to assure their healthy psyche.
By the way, this book also explains why Fables and Fairy Tale Adaptations are harming the psyche of children. So I think this book helps to assure the well-being of our children and if you are interested in that it is worth the read.
am 3. September 1998
I enjoyed this book, for its symbolism, meanings attributed to fairy tales, psychology contained there in, etc. Gives you a new slant as to how past generations looked at life, and how they told of life, the passages everyone goes through, in fairy-tale form. Very interesting account, somewhat Freudian, but very interesting.