Looking for the best fairy tale illustrations? The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault all released collections of fairy tale pictures that are still widely read today. But the tales developed from folklore that was handed down through many generations. Typical characters in fairy tales meet a challenge on what should be a straightforward journey from point A to point B. A trickster, an evil stepmother, and one of a variety of terrible witches that pout in castles ride on brooms, or threaten to bake children alive in mansions made of candy are traditional enemies for the hero or heroine.
Other characters in fairy tales can be jovial or even sly. Fairies, elves, sprites, and boggarts (goblins that terrorize the British countryside) may enjoy amusing encounters with the main character, even though they rarely have a major role in the story.
Joseph Campbell, a comparative mythologist, connected fairy tales to stories from traditional mythology that were written in a way that young children could understand. He wrote, “Fairy tales are given for fun. Although most fairy tales have a happy ending, on the road, there are common mythological patterns, such as the motif of being in serious distress and then hearing a voice or having someone come to your aid. It’s about moving past being stuck which all of these dragon killings and threshold crossings are about.
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The hero’s journey to leave home, engage in combat, attain self-discovery, and return home changed is a recurring theme in these tales, according to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. This well-known plot is given a twist in J. M. Barrie’s 1904 fairytale drama, Peter and Wendy. The main character represents Pan, the Greek god of the wild, by not wanting to grow up. For a while, he helps the other “Lost Boys” maintain their innocence, but “when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out.”
Peter Pan is preventing others from discovering who they are as well as fighting the hero’s journey himself. Peter maintains his band of Lost Boys in continuous youth by killing the elder ones when the newer ones arrive, the reader of Peter and Wendy is left to assume. In contrast to Joseph Campbell’s portrayal, Peter Pan kills the hero before the voyage even starts rather than engaging in “dragon killings and threshold crossings.” Any mention of Peter Pan getting rid of his senior companions was deleted in later revisions of the story.
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While “Red Riding Hood” also has a heroine’s journey and a twist on the self-discovery theme, it does so in a different way. Charles Perrault published the first definitive version of “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge” in the fairy tale collection Histoires ou Contes du temps passé, despite the fact that the main premise of the story is centuries older than any recorded form. Published in France in 1697 and in the United States in 1729, Avec des Moralitez (as Histories, or Tales from Past Times).
Red Riding Hood and her grandmother were both devoured by the wolf at the conclusion of the tale in Robert Samber’s original 1729 translation of the American edition.
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Perrault’s Red Riding Hood served as a stern warning to pubescent females of the evil impulses of the male of her species, far from the heroine she became in later iterations. The edited version that is well-known to modern audiences was authored by Lydia Very and published in a volume that was die-cut in the form of Red Riding Hood in 1863. In Very’s story, the wolf is shot just as it is ready to devour Red Riding Hood “like a bird.” The lesson has been altered as well, pleading with females to “remember your mother’s word! I avoid conversing with unfamiliar males for fear of the wolf capturing them as well.