oa Alternation - The enchanted forest as a place of knowing

Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



In his essay 'Fairy Tales as Ways of Knowing', Bruno Bettelheim states of women who have confronted their deepest fears: Having found their own strength and gained the ability to exercise it, they no longer need to live in fear, or to depend on others for their well-being. Life will be good for them forever after. It [is] their experience in the dark and pathless forest; it [is] their successful encounter with terror which did all this for them. Finding oneself in a dark, impenetrable forest is an ancient literary image for [a woman] in need of gaining self knowledge (Bettelheim 1981:14). When a woman has a powerful internal struggle and descends into the unconscious mind or the deep feminine (a well-hidden locale under many layers of thought and feeling), the struggle on a metaphorical level manifests itself in a difficult journey through the world between worlds, one of the 'ancient literary images' to which Bettelheim refers.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error