Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fairy-Tale Teachers...

Happy Thursday & Friday All (Since I'm going to leave this post up for both days),

Saturday is the NWHRWA Lone Star Writer's Conference. I've been really looking forward to it. Donald Maass is the keynote speaker and I believe it's going to be another great conference. This is my 5th year going. I can hardly believe it's been that long already, but I'm excited. This Fall marks 6 years as a member of the NWHRWA. The group is just awesome. So many talented authors. Many of them have become friends of mine, and I'm very grateful to them and the entire group, for their support and encouragement over the years. I'm telling you, they are really warm and caring. If you're a writer and ever get a chance to come down for one of our conferences and/or meetings, please do.

Today I'm thinking about the lessons we can learn from fairy-tales. I know, usually they're kind of "fluffy" or "cheesy", but I've been thinking about even though oftentimes the heroine is a "damsel-in-distress" rather than a "tough cookie", she sometimes shows her own strength.

Take Cinderella. For years she endures the abuse of her step-mother and step-sisters, who are jealous of her beauty and kindness. She could always haul off and slap them, but instead, quietly does her work, and dreams of when things can be better. When the opportunity arises, she seizes it in both hands and makes the most of it--winning the heart of the prince. Her journey isn't easy, and she often looks weak, but in the end, her tenacity and belief in things getting better--and then taking the chance when given--she gets her happily-ever-after. (The Grimm Brothers version is bloodier than most, having the step-sisters cutting off parts of their foot to fit in the slipper, but the general story is the same).

What about Beauty (or "Belle", if you prefer)? She takes care of her family and loves her father deeply. When the Beast threatens her father because he took a rose without permission, even though she's scared and doesn't know what will happen, she courageously takes her father's place. Eventually she and the Beast fall in love, he changes back into a prince, and she's rewarded for her unselfishness. (The original French version--at least the ones I've read/seen--have Beauty/Belle dreaming of the prince).

Those are just two examples (from my two favorite fairy-tales). What are some other examples from fairy-tales where there's a lesson about being a good person?

Have A Totally Terrific Thursday and a Fantastically Fascinating Friday!


jayegarland said...

Oh, so hard to chose, but I think my favorite princess fairy tale is Snow White. I mean, who wouldn't love to have seven men at your beck and call. Kidding! And then there's Sleeping Beauty. The older I get, the more that long nap of hers is to me. Ha! All of the great bed time fairy tales have been re-written into love stories--and that's because the core of each one deals with who we are, humanity at its best and worst. How that character deals with the consequences of their actions tells us whether they are villain or hero. Good post, Bethany! :)

Linda Bennett Pennell said...

As a child, I loved Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, especially the Disney versions. Anytime a girl overcomes adversity, wins the prince's heart, and lives happily ever after, it's a great story! Sounds pretty much like the basics of the romance novel is as old as story telling itself!

Bethany said...


I'm not a huge fan of Snow White. Some versions are okay. I believe the lesson there is to have patience that things will turn out right in the end. I liked the Snow White character in THE 10TH KINGDOM.

Sleeping Beauty is okay. There's been some retellings of her story that I've really liked. I liked the ballet, too. I guess in Aurora's case the lesson there is to stay faithful and keep belief in the love you have for someone and that in the end her faith is rewarded.

You're right about the way people deal with consequences and actions tells us a lot about whether it's heroic or villainous. Most fairy-tale heroines are unselfish, generous people, while the villains are usually self-serving. (Although the show, ONCE UPON A TIME offers a whole different perspective, which is one of the reasons I like it).

Very interesting comments, Jaye!

Thank you for dropping by and sharing. :-)

Bethany said...

Linda P.,

Definitely. I'm a hopeless romantic, so fairy-tales have always appealed to me. Luckily, I married my real-life hero, and have enjoyed the times he shows me what a prince of a guy he can be.

Thank you for dropping by and commenting. :-)

PJ Mellor said...

Hi, Bethany! Interesting topic. I've always believed Cinderella was the best fairy tale--she proved with the right shoes a girl can do anything!

Bethany said...


LOL I love your take on CINDERELLA. Good one!

Thank you for dropping by and commenting. :-)