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Nursery Rhymes, Hans Christian Andersen, & folk tale comparisons
Oral Tradition: – Myths explain the way things are, believed in or once believed in. – Fairy tales: broad groups of stories told for fun – Fables: Short, with morals, more animals than people – Legends: Longer, have a basis in reality Odyssey. Robin Hood. King Arthur. Beowulf. – Tall tales: an American genre – emphasis on hyperbole. John Henry, Paul Bunyan. – Nursery rhymes: short poems told to the very young • Originally for all, now claimed by youth
Nursery Rhymes • Often called “Mother Goose” rhymes. • Often the first “literature” children learn • Part of the consciousness of English speaking cultures • Told more for the sound than the meaning • Often very old • There are many different types • Although, written now, they are still passed on orally
Images of Mother Goose
HUMPTY DUMPTY Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the King's horses, and all the King's men Cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again.
JACK Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candle-stick.
THREE BLIND MICE Three blind mice! See how they run! They all ran after the farmer's wife, Who cut off their tails with a carving knife Have you ever see such a thing in your life As three blind mice?
SIMPLE SIMON • Simple Simon met a pieman Going to the fair; Says Simple Simon to the pieman, "Let me taste your ware. " • Says the pieman to Simple Simon, "Show me first your penny. " Says Simple Simon to the pieman, "Indeed, I have not any. " • Simple Simon went a-fishing For to catch a whale: All the water he had got Was in his mother's pail!
HUSH-A-BYE Hush-a-bye, baby, on the tree top! When the wind blows the cradle will rock; When the bough breaks the cradle will fall; Down will come baby, bough, cradle and all.
BA BA BLACK SHEEP Ba Ba Black Sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full. One for the master, one for the dame, And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.
GOING TO ST. IVES As I was going to St. Ives I met a man with seven wives. Every wife had seven sacks, Every sack had seven cats, Every cat had seven kits. Kits, cats, sacks, and wives, How many were going to St. Ives?
JACK AND JILL Jack and Jill went up a hill To fetch a pail of water Jack fell down and broke his crown And Jill came tumbling after
First literature • Children often know many nursery rhymes long before they can read. • These rhymes and “stories” are an example of literature that is still passed down orally. • Even when these poems are in books, they are more often recited from memory rather than read. • Children can learn to read by matching language they already know to words on the page.
Folk Tale vs. Fairy Tale • What, exactly, are the definitions of these two kinds of tales, and what’s the difference? – There is no complete agreement, though the meaning of folk tale is more closely agreed upon. • In general – Folk stories are more closely related to the oral tradition without a child audience in mind, and thus more earthy and vulgar. – Fairy tales come from folk stories but are more developed and are often understood as being more positive and oriented for children.
Characteristics of folk tales – They are more unpleasant than pleasant – Rely on archetypal characters (often defined by one feature, such as a red hood). (flat or stock characters) – Tricksters, silly, foolish, and absurd characters. – Setting is trivial (real place names would ruin the story) – Magic is very limited (or nonexistent), and temporary. – Moves from disequilibrium to equilibrium – unfairness to fairness. The enchanted state is the wrong state, and by the end, things are put right again. – True folk tales have no “original” because they have been passed down orally.
Characteristics of folk tales Stories are not usually soft or sentimental. • Beauty may be important, but not virginity • Riches, but not learning • Worldly success, but not the means by which it is gained Virtues that are rewarded. • Presence of mindnot education • Kindness not religious devotion • Willingness to take advice not manners • Courage not honesty or honor The rewards sought after. (not romance or true love) • Wealth • Comfortable living • Ideal partner
Three ways that characters in fairy tales get power – Physical strength (males) – wolf & hunter. Chopping the pigeon-house and tree in Aschenputel. – Love (females) – marriage of stepmother, marriage of Cinderella – Tricks (either) – Riding hood tricks wolf, Wolf tricks her. Cinderella’s new clothes are a kind of trick.
Reoccurring Traits • • Justice is valued over mercy (especially in German stories), and in versions closer to the oral tradition. Home away home pattern is common. Lots of eating and wanting to eat. Conflict cast in terms of good and evil. (very binary mentality) Things happen in threes (esp. European versions). Stepmothers and absent parents Young protagonists (perhaps youngest sibling)
Literary Fairy Tales • Written before spoken. They do not belong to the oral tradition. They can be traced to a particular author. • There is an original version. They belong more to the author than to the people. • Structurally influenced by oral tales. • Most of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories are literary fairy tales, but he also revised some. • Perrault and the Grimm brothers did not invent stories, so their stories are not really theirs. They just translated the stories from oral into written form. Their stories are not literary fairy tales.
Hans Christian Andersen (1805 -1875)
Hans Christian Andersen • Born in poverty, the son of a cobbler (shoe maker) and achieved great fame and wealth. • Father died early. – left home because of evil stepfather • Hated poverty. Always worried about money and social status. A LOT. • Never married or had a home. • Not an educated member of the upper class. A poor kid who told great stories. A member of the common people • Achieved world-wide fame; the patronage of kings and princess. Became “the darling of Europe. ” • Did paper cutting
One of Andersen’s Paper Cuts
Telling stories to children
Andersen’ fairy tales • Wrote 168 tales • (Also wrote six novels, two long plays, some short plays, 5 travel books, many poems. ) • His tales are very autobiographical and often reflect aspects of his life and relationships with women. (When Andersen died, he had a pouch around his neck with a love letter from a woman who had jilted him 20 years earlier. ) • • • He used fairy tales to settle scores. Heavily influenced by Christian morality and themes. Often pokes fun at nobility (as do many oral folk tales). Less black and white than traditional fairy tales. More smooth and clear than traditional tales. Conveyed a romantic view of life.
Which Andersen stories are these?
Anderson’s recipe for writing a good story (written to his friend B. S. Ingemannin 1843. ) • I believe that I have now found out how to write fairy tales! The first one I wrote were, as you know, mostly old ones I had heard as a child and that I usually retold and recreated in my own fashion; those that were my very own, such as “the Little Mermaid, ” “The Storks, ” “The Daisy, ” and so on, received, however, the greatest approval and that has given me inspiration! Now I tell stories of my own accord, seize and idea for the adults—and then tell it for the children while still keeping in mind the fact that mother and father are often listening too, and they must have a little something for thought, ”
The Little Mermaid 1. What do you find interesting or surprising in this story? 2. What examples can you find where the story pokes fun at nobility? 3. What kind of lesson could one get out of this story? 4. Looking back over her life, how do you think the little mermaid might do things differently? 5. What “Christian” ideas do you see in this story?
The little mermaid
The Swineherd 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. What gifts does the prince offer the princess? Why does she reject them? Why does he continue to pursue her? Why does the prince behave the way he does? How does it end? What do you think of this ending? Is there a moral lesson here?
The Top and the Ball Click here to read the story