SOURCE: Vision Media

June 12, 2008 03:02 ET

Popular Fairy Tales Reflect Moral Values in Society and Culture -- In Each Society These Tales Form Part of the Culture

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - June 12, 2008) - From the earliest fables and folk tales passed down through succeeding generations to today's cinematic versions of popular fairy tales, these stories have reflected the changing moral values in society and culture.

Fables are narrations in which animals speak and act like human beings, intended to inculcate a useful truth or enforce a lesson. Folk tales and folklore refer to any tales circulated by word of mouth among the common folk. Popular fairy tales are fanciful stories or explanations of legendary deeds and creatures, today usually intended for children. What we think of as traditional fairy tales do not necessarily involve fairies but do involve fantasy and some form of wonder or special powers; forces of good and evil dueling over the fate of the hero or heroine.

Alice Abler, in an article for titled The Moral of the Story, shows the intriguing histories and metamorphoses of these "deceptively simple stories" through the millennia. In each society and culture through the ages, such tales are perennially popular.

Fairy tales, with their themes of troubled people who rose above their individual tragedies, could give hope to people whose lives were difficult at best; those who could hardly hope to live happily ever after might dream that things could change.

Abler points out that popular fairy tales have been used "sometimes to educate and sometimes to frighten children (and adults) into compliance, graphically warning of the consequences for wrong actions." The stories often addressed fears of abandonment violence. Today's versions of "seemingly benign tales have descended from darker stories involving themes of adultery... murder and mutilation" and worse that were sometimes addressed "in veiled terms."

She shows that fairy tales were often used for political ends through the ages, and examines "the dual forces of cause and effect... The mutable fairy tale has always been both an unrelenting influence on society and a mirror of society." Society and cultures worldwide have consistently created and embraced their own unique versions, from the oral narratives and stories formed in mankind's earliest history to today's modernized movie productions of the ever-popular fairy tales.

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