Essay - The Psychology of 'Tom Thumb' the Famous Psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim...

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The Psychology of "Tom Thumb"

The famous psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim made a study of childhood fairy tales and found that they serve a profound purpose for children, helping them make sense of a world that does not always ***** sense to a child. As he s*****id,

There is a widespread refusal to let children know that she source ***** much ***** goes wrong in life ***** due to our very own natures -- the propensity of all men for act*****g aggressively, asocially, selfishly, out ***** anger ***** anxiety. Instead, we want our children to believe that, inherently, all ***** are good. But children know that they ***** not always good; and often, even when they are, they would prefer not ***** be. This contradicts what they are told by their parents, and therefore makes the child a monster in his own eyes." (*****, p. 7)

In his book The Uses of Enchantment, Bettelheim analyzes many common ***** tales, explaining how the stories meet the emotional and developmental needs of **********. He points out that through ***** fairy tale, otherwise life events children cannot underst***** *****come understandable. And, since ***** take place in a fairly ***** with magical elements, fanciful characters and impossible events, the stories are comfort*****g instead of frightening. The children know that while some adults can be mean, uncaring and neglectful, a pumpkin c*****nnot re*****y turn into a coach. Mice cannot really ***** into beautiful horses. So, even as ***** child read about mean adults acting very badly toward children, they are enc*****aged to recognize ***** the s*****ry is not true. That ***** the story safe to read, unlike stories such as The Shining, where awful *****ts ***** presented in ***** believable a way as possible.

While Bettelheim did not analyze the story of "***** Thumb" ***** his book, he might have. He ***** ***** found a story of childhood empo*****rment and a family that discovers that all the money in the world cannot replace a loved one. However, if th*****t were all there ***** to the *****, "Tom *****" would be nothing more than a f*****ble with a moral lesson.

In the character of Tom Thumb we have an intelligent boy who is perceived as not capable of accompl*****hing useful things because of his small size. It is a story of self-actualization, where the ***** believes in himself ***** then h***** multiple ch*****ces to demonstrate to his parents and to the world that size does not al*****s matter. In ***** story, the parents wish they had a child, ***** the mother even says that she would ********** a child no matter what - even if he were no bigger than her thumb, she would love that ***** and raise him well. In a perverse twist ***** fate, ***** they do have a child, the child is no bigger than ***** thumb. While he matures, ***** does not grow. In time, the father wi*****s he had *****one who could help him by driving the cart while he cut


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