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The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales 49352nd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
First published in 1975, Bruno Bettleheim, one of Sigmund Freud's followers and an important contributor to psychoanalysis, has written an incredible book, suggesting that the fairy tale has a pedagogical use, educating the child about the struggles in life, that these struggles are an intrinsic aspect of existence. Following Plato, he believes that the literary education of children should begin with the telling of myths. In other words, the fairy tale can present models for behaviour, providing meaning and value to our lives. This wonderful book expresses this view extremely well and also provides a frame of reference towards the child's overall psychological development.
I have read Freud for some years, and nowhere, including Freud himself, have I read a more succinctly expressed view on the ultimate purpose of psychoanalysis, than in this book by Dr. Bettleheim, he writes,
"Psychoanalysis was created to enable man to accept the problematic nature of life without being defeated by it, or giving in to escapism. Freud's prescription is that only by struggling courageously against what seems like unwieldy odds can man succeed in wringing meaning out of existence." (P.8)
Fairy tales inform us about life's struggles, hardships and the reality of death. From Bettleheim's point of view, the fairy tale is a "manifold form" that communicates to the child, educates them, against life's vagaries and realities, which are the unavoidable aspects of our existence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can't say enough about this book or Mr. Bruno Bettelheim. I am not finished with this book but Mr. Bettelheim's writing is captivating. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Dennis Freeman
This is an important book for the healthy psychological development of children (and adults, too). It offers insight into the lasting value of these old tales, which were created... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cosmic Cowgirl
Needed this for a class but was actually interested in it so I read more than required . He makes very interesting arguments. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jennifer Trabucco
A great way to make fairy tales relevant and useful in psychology and counseling.Published 6 months ago by V. T. Franks
A book you'll never forget. Lots of insights beautifully explained by Bettelheim.Published 7 months ago by Janice
Person somewhat obsessed with fairy tales. Keeps making same points which seem rather obscure.Published 8 months ago by Elizabeth Stoddard
I bought this for my daughter in law as she expressed an interest when I told her about it. This book is a classic on the meaning of fairy tales in the psychological development of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Sage