Term Paper: Fairy Tale the Robber and His Sons

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¶ … Tale "The Robber and His Sons"

Grimm Psychology

Some of the most influential stories on Western and American culture today were actually written many centuries ago, and compiled for slightly more modern audiences by a pair of German brothers. The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm have left an incredibly large impact on human development over the past centuries. These stories were originally written not as fun and happy-go-lucky tales for the amusement of children as they have been presented by some interpretations over the past century. Rather, these dark and foreboding tales were written as warnings about the dangers and sinful lures of life, and were used to teach moral lessons and frighten people into behaving in an acceptable way. However, the question has been raised, what is so deeply terrifying about these stories, and what is so deeply captivating about the characters and events that take place within them? Perhaps the answer lies in the deep connection these stories have to the very psyche of humanity. The psychological impact of these stories are so great because of the very strong parallel to human psychology and the workings of the mind that are incorporated into them. The "father of modern psychology," Sigmund Freud, may have practiced many centuries after the Brothers Grimm wrote their tales, but they are nonetheless a tool with which one can examine Freudian psychology with clarity. "Modern psychologists and cultural anthropologists read in quite a bit of emotional angst, fear of abandonment, parental abuse, and sexual development in the stories that are often read at bed-time in the West. The child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim in his book the Uses of Enchantment read familiar Grimms' fairy tales as Freudian myths." (Motor) One of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales which exemplifies this is "The Robber and his Sons," a story in Grimm's third volume which was adapted from a fifteenth century manuscript.

The story of "The Robber and his Sons" would strike most modern readers as quite demented and gruesome, though not without emotionally moving elements. There is a career thief who wishes to become an honest, law-abiding person. However, his children are not lured by the moral path, and following in his father's less righteous footsteps, they attempt to steal a horse, which belongs to the Queen. Their father comes to the rescue, but not without a price; the father tells three painful stories to the Queen in exchange for their freedom. In the first story he tells, the ex-robber has an encounter with a giant who is going to eat him. He manages to put out the giant's… [END OF PREVIEW]

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