The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

by Bruno Bettelheim
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Uses of Enchantment 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Much has been said and written against faery tales, over the past 30 years. Bettleheim, using the Fruedian view of the development of the unconscious, subconcious, etc, tracks the psycological development of the psyche, in a discussion of faery tales. He explains that the child's mind doesn't identify with genders, and consequently is scarred by always being the princess in a story. He explains that the child's psyche will protect itself, at times of mental crisis, from the more difficult reality of life events (such as a punishing mother, or father who is away from home) by identifying those people in the child's life with a monster, ogre, wicked witch, or evil stepmother. By identifying the real person with the fantasy parent, the child can 'act out' (in his/her mind) the difficult fears, the harsh reality -- and come to a healthy conclusion by finding closure; which all leads the child to becoming a well-adjusted adult later in life. People may be put off by the psycological level of understanding that Bettleheim offers. People seem to want easy, straightforward, and simple answers for life's questions. In his work with disturbed and developmentally disadvantaged children, and holocost survivors, Bettleheim has come to the conclusion that the human mind is capable of so much -- perhaps too much for ALL answers of life's questions to be simple and easy.
KinZzz More than 1 year ago
If you have ever wondered why we spends years as a child focused on fairytales? Well the answer can be found in The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim. According to Bettelheim, fairytales simplify and exaggerate daily issues like hate and love so a child can understand how to deal with it when they get older. Fairytales also let the child know that they are not alone in what they are going through to comfort the child. Each tale has a moral and a lesson that helps children deal with issues more comfortably by using a third person point of view. For example, an older child who rivals with his or her siblings can see in ¿Cinderella¿ the depressing effects of sibling rivalry and decide for his or her self to be nicer. Each story has a lesson to be learned as there are many life lessons to be learned. Bettelheim¿s major theme is a child who begins to understand these life lessons at an early age can feel more comfortable with the world around them and ultimately be happier in life. I really enjoyed the deep thought Bettelheim put into the book and made me look at fairytales in a different way. However, I disliked his use of intellectual diction that made it difficult to read. I would not recommend this book because of the difficult language makes the book hard to understand. Bettelheim has a plethora of psychiatric analysis books including Truants From Life, A Good Enough Parent, and The Children of the Dream. All of them are extremely fascinating and deep guaranteed to make you think.
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