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 pr*****ound purpose for children, helping them make sense of a world ***** does not always make sense to a child. As he s*****id,

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

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

While Bettelheim did not analyze the story of "***** Thumb" ***** his *****, he might have. He would have found a story ***** childhood empowerment and a family that discovers that all the money in the world cannot replace a loved one. However, if that were all *****re ***** to the s*****ry, "Tom *****" ***** be nothing more than a fable ***** a moral lesson.

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


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