Bruno Bettelheim has spent his lifetime working on behalf of children and their The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables. USES OF ENCHANTMENT by Bruno Bettelheim. EXCERPTS: "Fairy Tales and the Existential Predicament.” pp “The Child's Need for Magic.” pp If electronic transmission of reserve material is used for purposes in excess of what constitutes Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and.
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THE USES OF. ENCHANTMENT. The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Bruno. Bettelheim. MNM. VINTAGE BOOKS. A Division of Random House. Editorial Reviews. Review. “Bettelheim argues convincingly that fairy tales provide a unique The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales - Kindle edition by Bruno Bettelheim. Download it once and read it on your. From The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim, Introduction: The Struggle For Meaning. If we hope to live not just from moment to moment, but in.
Many errors in understanding how our minds work could be avoided if modern man would at all times remain aware that these abstract concepts are nothing but convenient handles for manipulating ideas which, without such externalisation, would be too difficult to comprehend. Translated into terms of human behaviour, the more secure a person feels within the world, the less he will need to hold on to "infantile" projections - mythical explanations or fairy-tale solutions to life's eternal problems - and the more he can afford to seek rational explanations. Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later. Published in: No notes for slide. His thinking is animistic.
The author demonstrates the importance of these folk narratives within any civilisation and its advancement by analysing various versions of popular fairy tales. When children are young, it is literature that carries such information best. For a story to hold a child's attention, it must entertain him and arouse his curiosity. But to enrich his life, it must stimulate his imagination; help him to develop his intellect and clarify his emotions; be attuned to his anxieties and aspirations; give full recognition to his difficulties, while at the same time suggesting solutions to the problems which perturb him.
In short, it must at one and the same time relate to all aspects of his personality - and this without ever belittling but, on the contrary, giving full credence to the seriousness of the child's predicaments, while simultaneously promoting confidence in himself and in his future. In all these and many other respects, of the entire "children's literature" - with rare exceptions - nothing can be as enriching and satisfying to child and adult audiences alike as the folk fairy tale.
One can certainly see its influence in his final project AI, which he did not have the chance to complete personally. The marvellous ambiguity in Kubrick's work has led to his cult status, as his films speak so deeply to one's internal makeup, and are so open to subjective interpretation. Of course, the primary intended audience for these variations on folk tales is children; as they are intended to help to structure a child's imagination and its chaotic subconscious workings into some semblance of order and focus to help with their emotional and intellectual expansion.
Fairy stories do not pretend to describe the world as it is, nor do they advise what one ought to do. The author asserts quite accurately, that a child will usually identify with the themes of a specific fairy tale, and request its frequent re-telling throughout their childhood in order to grapple with the distinct allegorical teaching of the tale.
These repeated requests for the re- telling of a tale is a sign that the child has identified with that particular inner problem, and the re-telling helps children integrate their personality better. In child or adult, the unconscious is a powerful determinant of behaviour. When the unconscious is repressed and its content denied entrance into awareness, then eventually the person's conscious mind will be partially overwhelmed by derivatives of these unconscious elements, or else he is forced to keep such rigid, compulsive control over them that his personality may become severely crippled.
This is the stark contrast between these type of stories and simple cautionary tales, or even modern children's literature, which offers a less subtle, more overt and even patronising attempt to instruct children about issues of childhood, somewhat less effectively. The fairy tale conveys from its inception, throughout its plot, and by its ending that what we are told about are not tangible facts or real persons or places.
As for the child himself, real events become important through the symbolic meaning he attaches to them, or which he finds in them. The structure of three trials or tasks undergone in many tales reflects this. Of course these three ideas of how the mind functions are themselves allegorical personifications to help us to understand the mind. Many errors in understanding how our minds work could be avoided if modern man would at all times remain aware that these abstract concepts are nothing but convenient handles for manipulating ideas which, without such externalisation, would be too difficult to comprehend.
There is in actuality, of course, no separation between them, just as there is no real separation between mind and body.
It is as if these young people feel that now is their last chance to make up for a severe deficiency in their life experience: Many young people who today suddenly seek escape in drug-induced dreams, apprentice themselves to some guru, believe in astrology, engage in practicing "black magic," or who in some other fashion escape from reality into daydreams about magic experiences which are to change their life for the better, were prematurely pressed to view reality in an adult way.
Trying to evade reality in such ways has its deeper cause in early formative experiences which prevented the development of the conviction that life can be mastered in realistic ways.
In intervening periods of stress and scarcity, man seeks for comfort again in the "childish" notion that he and his place of abode are the centre of the universe.
Translated into terms of human behaviour, the more secure a person feels within the world, the less he will need to hold on to "infantile" projections - mythical explanations or fairy-tale solutions to life's eternal problems - and the more he can afford to seek rational explanations.
There is also an important contrast between myth and fairy tale which is brought to the reader's consideration. A myth presents a unique feeling of awe-inspiring grandiose events, which could not have happened any other way, to anyone else, or in any other place.
Fairy tales, in contrast, present more unusual and improbable events, but that are situated within the realms of ordinariness, they could happen to anyone out on a walk in the woods, for example, and these encounters are relayed in a casual fashion, as if they could be everyday occurrences. Myths are generally pessimistic, whilst fairy tales are generally more optimistic; the former present tragic conclusions versus the gratifying catharsis of fairy tales.
What is the world really like? How am I to live my life in it? How can I truly be myself? The answers give by myths are definite, while the fairy tale is suggestive: Fairy tales leave to the child's fantasising whether and how to apply to himself what the story reveals about life and human nature.
The fairy tale proceeds in a manner which conforms to the way a child thinks and experiences the world; this is why the fairy tale is so convincing to him. He can gain much better solace from a fairy tale than he can from an effort to comfort him based on adult reasoning and viewpoints.
A child trusts what the fairy story tells, because its world view accords with his own. Whatever our age, only a story conforming to the principles underlying our thought processes carries conviction for us. If this is so for adults, who have learned to accept that there is more than one frame of reference for comprehending the world - although we find it difficult if not impossible truly to think in any but our own - it is exclusively true for the child.
His thinking is animistic. This difference accounts for the contrast between the pervasive pessimism of myths and the essential optimism of fairy tales. Their appeal is simultaneously to our conscious and unconscious mind, to all three of its aspects - id, ego, and superego - and to our need for ego-ideals as well.
This makes it very effective; and in the tales' content, inner psychological phenomena are given body in symbolic form. Contemplation of the overall tale in its purest form is vital, and authors such as Perrault tended to butcher the tales in this fashion to appeal to the sensibilities of his audience in the French royal courts of the late 15th Century.
In a similar fashion, the frequent demands for sanitisation of fairy tales by modern parents, in a vain attempt to protect the perceived sensibilities of their children, ends up damaging the intention of the tale, and ends up stunting a critical aspect of their offspring's integration into the mindset of adulthood.
After all, most of these stories lead to a satisfying and positive outcome, however monstrous some of their contents of characters appear to be when taken merely at face value. As long as we have not achieved considerable security within ourselves, we cannot engage in difficult psychological struggles unless a positive outcome seems certain to us, whatever the chances for this may be in reality. The fairy tale offers fantasy materials which suggest to the child in symbolic form what the battle to achieve self-realisation is all about, and guarantees a happy ending.
Some fairy tales conclude with the information that if perchance he has not died, the hero may still be alive.
A patient is given a fairy tale to ruminate on, and internally reflect as to how the subtleties of its allegory translate to their own inner conflict. Embed Size px. Start on. Show related SlideShares at end.
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