Peasant Readings

I can’t believe the vast changes that have occured over the history of our childhood fairytales. The breaking of taboos and¬†hidden imagery/symbolism are never mentioned in the modern accounts of these stories. Stories which I held dear are so different now than what they were¬†100 or 200 years ago. It is however an interesting study to track the changes over time from edition to edition or from oral tradition to the written story. This avenue is not one I had considered when thinking of studying history, but it makes me wonder what other avenues that should be/have not been researched.

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6 Responses to “Peasant Readings”

  1. sbarber says:

    I agree. These readings left me questioning every story I have ever heard. It is interesting to see how influential time can be on simple stories.

  2. tekla says:

    I think that tracking these changes are really important in terms of seeing how cultural expectations and norms change over time. Sexuality is a really important one (I’m not just obsessed, I swear) and I think stories like these tell us really important things about expectations for girls and women and the female body. Red is a little girl, not a little boy, who is told to be worried for her bodily integrity when walking in the woods. I think that fact is telling.

  3. MP says:

    And I keep wondering what these tales might be like in another hundred years or so, and what will have changed in each of them? I feel as though these tales of social norms and punishments may still share the same meanings with their present counterparts, in such recounts as Disney versions (albeit they may be much more ambiguous or hidden). But granted that, there are still no shocking taboos or norms broken in these current folk tales because they’re generally told nowadays to teach a lesson without the shock value.

  4. johnmcnair says:

    This reading definately left me with the sense that studying history comes from a lot of different paths. I’d seriously be interested to see how much further the study of folktales could be taken, especially regarding peasant life.

  5. annaholman says:

    I also do not typically think of fairy tales when I think of studying history. However, as this reading proves, there are valuable lessons to be learned! I definitely think this is an area that could use more research. We could uncover so much about culture and daily life through fairy tales.

  6. Brooke says:

    I also thought that there must be more avenues to research after reading Darton’s piece, and not just with folktales. I think all of our subjects, too, have unexplored paths that just haven’t been thought of, because people usually think things are too obvious or mundane to research.