The Negative Themes In Hansel And Gretel

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A tale filled with cannibalism, child abandonment, and fear would not be considered a “fairy tale” in today’s standards. Consequently, this story would not be read to children. These negative aspects, however, are all present in “Hansel and Gretel.” As one of the most popular fairy tales, “Hansel and Gretel” remains one of the most controversial fairy tales due to its insinuations of “sinful” actions such as greed, and its overall inappropriate content for children. While there are multiple versions, such as editions from 1810, 1812, and 1857, it is often criticized because its themes can be interpreted as encouragement of child abuse and perpetuation of a patriarchal society. For instance, Hansel and Gretel’s stepmother forced their father…show more content…
Children are associated with naivety and tend to be easy to fool. Tatar notes, “The old woman had only pretended to be so friendly” (Tatar 188). From this, child readers would learn how to question others’ motives and realize that people have hidden intentions, especially from strangers. This is a significant indicator about the world people live in. Today, many people are skeptical of strangers and their intentions because people fear what they do not know. Children are easiest to scare because they are the most vulnerable; they do not know as much as someone who has lived longer. From this, “Hansel and Gretel” can be interpreted as a cautionary tale to heed strangers. It demonstrates that there are people who wish to see others’ demise. Fortunately, being wary of those people would help children determine who to let into their…show more content…
However, this fairy tale is filled with knowledge that children must discover for themselves, such as self determination and awareness of their surroundings. This knowledge creates a foundation for children to foster their interpersonal skills as well as their self determination. Hugh Cunningham, a social history professor at the University of Kent, underscores, “If adults do not keep the child in them alive, they will become dried up and embittered, Scrooges” (Cunningham 68). From this, fairy tales, particularly “Hansel and Gretel,” are nostalgic because they teach children lessons that will be vital in adult life. Taking away this form of education hinders children because they need to make discoveries on their own. Similar to Cunningham’s idea, if children do not reach self determination, then they may never reach peak adulthood. “Hansel and Gretel” is fundamental for children because the lessons it provides cannot be sought out otherwise. This fairy tale allows children to look through different perspectives of a narrative and helps them relate to the world around

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