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Neel Patel
Professor Daniel
ENG 121 – 1H
11 December 2018
1. What is the history of fairy tales? What is the history of superheroes?
The history of the fairy tale starts with the definition being, a children’s story about
magical and imaginary beings and lands. Many children from many years are growing up
listening to fairy tales, either during their bedtimes or when they watch the cartoon of a fairy tale.
Every fairy tale is unique and different in its own way, some taught us morals while others taught
us how to be a prince and wizards. Many fairy tales include, a princess, a prince, wicked witch,
love, a spell that needs to be broken, and more important is ‘happily ever after.’ The origin of
fairy tales is not known till now, they are found all over the world. All one needs to know is that
they occurred hundreds to thousands of years ago. Around 16 century, fairy tales were spread
verbally from generation to generation (21 century). Until this generation, there are many
different versions of the fairy tales that is being heard from people. Some of the stories like
Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel were the backbone to many Disney animations from the
past and even from now. The Grimm Brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, were two brothers
who made many of the fairy tales that we know today famous. The Grimm brothers were
inspiration for their tales, their first book published was ‘Children’s and Household tales,’ which
contained many tales. For the superheroes, the first masked fighter in comic books was the Clock
(crime), he was introduced in 1936. But it was two young men from Cleveland who created the
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character who truly launched the superhero genre. In June, 1928, Washington DC Comics
introduced the first costumed superhero, as Superman, in Action Comics.
2. How might the media form in which these tales are presented (short stories, audio,
motion pictures, marketing ads or commercials, animation/cartoons, etc.) affect
their audience?
Media influence is the actual force exerted by a media message, resulting in either a
change or reinforcement in audience or individual beliefs. Media effects are measurable effects
that result from media influence or a media message. Fairy tales can be oral (told by people in
different and various historical times up to the present era) and/or literary (created by known
authors) in origin, but they manifest in numerous media, including film. The increasing influence
of visual culture on fairy-tale productions since the 20th century, the digital revolution has
contributed significantly to the propagation of the fairy tale and has solidified its presence also in
21st-century popular culture. Similarly to cinema and television, which are considered “old”
media, so have “new” media (the Internet and websites, such as online platforms and blogs,
social media, online newspapers, wikis, and video games) made frequent use of fairy-tale
materials and thus kept the genre in the public consciousness. While fairy tales are constantly
migrating into new cultures and different media, reinventing themselves along the way, recent
years in particular have seen a wave of highly innovative but also highly disputable fairy-tale
retellings in popular culture.
3. How might contemporary attitudes, stereotypes or common perceptions or
misconceptions about various groups of people influence an author/director in
retelling the tales to a modern audience of children and adults?
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The use of fairy tale structures in theatre for young audiences and where this author feels
we can produce fairy tale shows in a manner that considers the developing psyche. I will
consider the underlying significations in fairy tales and how theatre artists can provide young
people a means to explore and understand these meanings, while avoiding metanarratives that
reinforce submission and oppression. Many people are concerned about the history and
development of fairy tales and how it provides with the explanations of the terms gender, gender
identity, gender role, gender stereotype and sexism. In this generation, it is based on the analysis
of the two most well-known fairy tales, are Cinderella and Snow White and their five variations
by different authors, namely brothers Grimm, Joseph Jacobs and Roald Dahl, the animated films
by Walt Disney and the film adaptations from recent years. The author’s aim is to analyse typical
stereotyped portrayals of the male and female characters in the fairy tales and focus on the
negative aspects of gender stereotypes in connection with children's perception of the reality.
4. How might contemporary attitudes, stereotypes or common perceptions or
misconceptions about various groups of people influence an audience of children or
adults in interpreting the tales’ or superhero media's messages?
Fairy tales existed in different forms from generations to generations. People grow up
listening to fairy tales from parents or grandparents, reading them as literary text and watching
them as films. During the eighteenth and nineteenth century fairy tales by Charles Perrault and
the Grimm Brothers were popular among people. These were mostly circulated among women
and children to teach gender-appropriate behaviours and social norms. The characters of
these fairy tales have been presented in a stereotypical way which influences society’s idea about
gender roles and behaviour For example, ‘The Sleeping Beauty,’ the story presents perfect
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gender stereotypical roles and the ideals of patriarchal society. Disney’s animated films used to
present stereotypical characters having a specific set of gender roles and behaviors. It
exemplified what men and women should do, how they are supposed to look, and how they
should act. All of the stories present among the fairy tales have similar characters and create
stereotypical images of women. The patriarchal society constructs these ideas and presents as
ideal characters to the readers. Young girls learn that beauty is everything, and good women do
not take any action by her own. On the other hand, women who break the patriarchal rules are
evil and greedy. Thus, they should be punished and tamed by men. Time has changed, but the
main theme of the stories remains the same because the society wants it to exist this way.
Works Cited
“Fairy Tale Origins Thousands of Years Old, Researchers Say.” BBC News, BBC, 20 Jan. 2016,
“Fairy Tale.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Dec. 2018,
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