Fairy tales in tradition and in the classroom : traditional and self-generated fairy tales as catalysts in children's educational and emotional development
This thesis involves an investigation of the value of traditional and self-generated
fairy tales for children's educational and emotional development. The study draws
on theories of analytical psychology and on models derived from structuralism.
An analysis of two Icelandic traditional fairy tales, Golden Tooth and The Story
of Princess Pussycat, is undertaken on a psychological and a narrative level. A
comparison is made between the narrative structure of the tales and the structure
of psychic processes identified in them. The study is taken further with an
analysis of eleven fantasy tales generated during a field study by a group of ten to
eleven year old Icelandic children. The mode of expression of the tales is also
compared to the style, motifs, notion of time, setting, and characters, as they
appear in traditional Indo-European fairy tales.
The variants of the two traditional fairy tales analysed originate from Fljötshlic'
a region in the south of Iceland. A study of the background, upbringing and
personality of four women, who shared and brought further the story telling
tradition in this area, is undertaken with the aim of throwing light on the nature of
fairy tales and their transmission.
The study suggests that patterns operating in the process of individuation, that
is differentiation, transformation and integration, are embedded in the structure of
traditional fairy tales. Furthermore it is proposed that this theory can be expanded
to tales of fantasy generated by children of today. It is argued that the
manifestation of these patterns in fairy tales embodies qualities that invite a
creative operation in the interaction of children's conscious and unconscious
psyche, thus simultaneously stimulating their directed and undirected modes of
thinking, which is essential for the development of the creative, individual