Nyanzi on Fairy Tale Fracturing

The insightful Rawle Nyanzi pens an observation about the deconstruction and disenchantment of the modern horror story, and the ancient fairy tale. Well worth the read. (You may also follow his links to L. Jagi Lamplighter, my beautiful and talented wife, who holds forth on a similar topic.)


He says, in part

And as for the stock characters of fairy tales? The prince is a thug with a title. The princess is a spoiled girl with a lot of money (and should be saving herself anyway.) You call the witch “wicked” because you’re jealous of her power — or frightened of it. All these supposedly demonic creatures are misunderstood victims of human propaganda campaigns. “Right” and “wrong” are purely questions of who holds the power.

In such an environment, there is no room for wonder.

Thus, the classic fairy tale disappears and the fractured fairy tale dominates. The fractured fairy tale is said to be more “realistic” and “up-to-date” than the classic versions, which inculcate children with false hope and retrograde values. Yet I can’t help but notice something curious: the fractured fairy tale is a creature of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

In the eras where a lot of fairy tales originated, there was plenty of harsh reality to go around: a time where you have to kill or grow your own food, plagues ravaged the land every now and then, and young women frequently died in childbirth was not an age of comfort and ease. Fairy stories should have been utterly free of any kind of morality — after all, bad things were happening to good people.

But paradoxically, in an age of relative prosperity, where food can be had at the push of a button and light can be had all day and night, we get tales of dread and woe, of “harsh realities” where everything is reduced to material forces and all people are greedy, power-hungry bastards?

It is because scientific materialism did not produce its promised utopia.

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