Values and Symbols in Fairytales Cover Image

Valori și simboluri în poveștile pentru copii
Values and Symbols in Fairytales

Author(s): Ileana Dascălu
Subject(s): Philosophy of Education
Published by: Editura Academiei Române
Keywords: children; stories; fairytales; symbols; archetypes; hero; anti-hero;

Summary/Abstract: Stories and fairytales speak to the child, as well as to the adult, in many mysterious ways. They give expression to a soul’s deep yearnings, help bring inner conflicts to the light of consciousness, and show the way to one’s untapped resources. Philosophy for children, and child-oriented education in general have put stories and fairytales to a good use, building on their capacity to stimulate critical thinking, meaning-searching, interpretive skills and narrative imagination. This paper starts from the idea that children and teenagers would have better educational experiences if they had more opportunities to engage in open discussions on stories and fairytales, as well as creative storytelling. To build the case, I will first focus on the transformative power held by symbolic language, and, using examples from the French psycho-sociologist Jacques Salomé’s work, I will suggest that even what comes across as a very simple story can have great potential to build a child’s sense of autonomy. I will then turn to some characteristics of fairytales, which not only carry multiple layers of cultural meanings, but also, by their themes and structures, often mirror the inner processes of the human psyche. One may rightly argue that many of these would be incomprehensible to a child and should remain so. However, focusing on the hero and anti-hero distinction, I will try to show that exposure to such fairytales can benefit children and teenagers by the mere fact that it enriches the conventional opposition between characters who do right and those who do wrong by describing their process of development as a function of unconscious action or conscious choice.

  • Issue Year: LXIX/2022
  • Issue No: 5
  • Page Range: 611-622
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Romanian