n Mousaion - The mixed blessings of Disney's classic fairy tales

Special issue 2
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



The fairy tale, as it was called in the 19th century, is that tale in which a certain amount of magic is taken for granted (Purves & Monson 1984:23). Fantasy, stereotyping and "happily ever after" are concepts that embody the spirit of the fairy tale. For centuries, both fairy tales and folklore have taught children to cope with things they are afraid of (Friedmeyer 2003). While fairy tales like and shed light on human interaction, they also draw children into worlds filled with stereotypical characters and settings. Simultaneously, it must be noted that fairy tales have their roots in folk tales and, therefore, were not initially intended for the amusement of children, but for communities as a whole (Purves & Monson 1984:24). To the same extent that oral folk tales constantly change in their retellings, literary fairy tales have been embodied in different ways according to particular socio-historical cultural and aesthetic settings (Canton 1994:16). Over the years, not only has Disney stepped in and set the standards for feature-length fairy tale films in the world of cinema, but Disney Studios have been able to retain a market stranglehold on fairy tale films up to the present (Zipes 1997:89).

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