Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Other Side of Fairytales


Dictionary.com states that fairytale is a noun which means "a story about fairies; told to amuse children." So fairytales, huh? What about them?

People say they’re overrated, and they’re nothing but lies. This and that, and in a five worded summary: just plain ridiculous at times. But in reality, they really aren’t that far from the truth. Because however different the circumstances, by in large, the subtext applies to every aspect of our lives.

Simply, all fairytales are nothing but analogies to far greater simple tragedies in life--whether they be taken from an actual life incident and tweaked for the minds of the young or just a subconscious thing. OK, let's get more psychological this time. Now's a bit late but my brain is still functioning so bear with me. :) Here goes:

I don't really know much fairy tales. So let me just cite three of my most favorite Disney fairytale classic as examples and strip them down to a basic idea which you may not have thought of--the spark that started it all.

1. Aladdin

In my perspective, it's a story about a girl and a boy, Jasmine and Aladdin. Both wanted more out of life. Both were trapped by social status and controlled by money or lack thereof. Both of them were outcasts on opposite sides of the social spectrum.

On one hand, you have society questioning the worth of the poor, and on the other, we have them questioning why money would make anyone miserable. People might think money is everything, and if you have it, you should not be complaining. However, in the story, Jasmine didn't want more; she wanted something different, and so she was condemned for that. As was the case for Aladdin: when you don’t have the money, you spend your entire life striving to be noticed, as both a human being and a respectable young man. Look at them and the society we're living in today. What's the difference? What's the similarity?

2. Beauty and the Beast

Stripped down, the story is about a beautiful girl (named Belle) being mocked for wanting an education instead of a marriage. Do you remember those cartoons where there is a little white angel flying above a character's right ear whispering "Do the right thing," while a red and black little devil hovers over the left ear urging the character to "don’t listen, do what you want"?

Exactly this I feel happened to Belle. “Why would you want knowledge when you can easily seduce any suitor you please and have him give you the world?” said the devil, the poor ignorant soul. That’s what they whisper when a girl is lucky enough to get what she wants. The story tells that beauty is a substitute for education. If you have looked past that and saw only that a beauty can fall in love with a beast and appreciate him because of his kindness and vice versa, then now you can also consider this angle.

3. Rapunzel

Basically, it's about a girl who was trapped in her house, given everything she wanted and whatever she needed and told they were all done for her protection. The world cannot be trusted, they say. You’re constantly being told that you’re special, and then on one fine morning, you realize that it’s nothing but a lie, one to keep you sedated and away from thought, because thought is always of suspicion. It's something just not to be easily trusted.

So, it begs the question, where exactly are the lies, the fiction and the silliness? People only see what they see. There isn't more to any story. There is no other side.