Source: November: Dark Fairytales
Follow the link to Horroraddicts.net for an interesting perspective on the dark side of fairytales and how they continue to exist in today’s dark literature, using Japan’s Hell Girl as a prime example.
I find this a fascinating article with a lot of excellent points, however there is one point that seems a bit superficial:
“Stories like this have taught us how to treat each other for centuries, but they have also taught us some very dangerous ideas:
- The evil always get their comeuppance.
- Wait long enough (or suffer bad enough) and your prince will come.
- There are secret pots of gold or riches granted you when you out-smart evil beings.
Well…as we know living in the real world is not so easy…”
While these are the obvious lessons that fairy tales instill in children, and we, as adults, know the world is not so easy, it is important to look at their origins in history. Fairy tales arose a few centuries ago when survival was much more difficult than today. Medicine was primitive. Laws were essentially the will of the emperor/king/local despot or the accepted religion (e.g. the Inquisition) enforced by his soldiers or officials. No professional organizations or entities existed to investigate even the most mundane crimes, or if they did, the investigators were rank amateurs or hobbyists by today’s standards. No organizations existed to ensure the quality of food or of water or the safe disposal of wastes. Duels and violent, personal retribution for offenses were not uncommon. Life was often, as someone once said, “brutal, nasty, and short”.
In this type of environment, fairy tales gave hope to children and adults alike that they could survive the trials, tribulations, and horrors that existed beyond their doorstep and that some form of justice was woven into the ethereal fabric of the universe, that would right the wrongs they experienced or saw being done to others.
Today, the need to believe in fairy tales no longer exists, though it, no doubt, does among the very young and, by our modern standards, the very desperate. The ancient fairy tales have not changed, though the times and environment have. New ones have arisen reflecting the mentality, for better or worse, of our modern world.