Fantasy, Fairy Tales, and Fears

Dear Reader,

I have always been in favor of reading children fairytales and other such stories that depart from the real world. I have friends who feel differently and avoid fairytales as much as possible. The main concern seems to be that they are scary, which many indeed are. As I have been reading through Karen Andreola’s book A Charlotte Mason Companion, I am encouraged by her explanation. She says that fairytales with their imagined fears prepare children to deal with the real fears of life later on.

This really rings true with me. I think we do work through things in fiction so that we can approach them in life. And I am reminded of a kind of movie I saw a lot as a kid, the monster or alien invasion movie. I am not talking about a more modern style of horror movie here, the really gory ones, the My Bloody Valentines of the world (though I grew up watching a lot of those too). I am more talking about the Godzillas and King Kongs (and King Kong vs. Godzillas) and the movies like the Day the Earth Stood Still. There are movies that came out of a time when the world was pretty fearful. They are cold war movies. They deal with the topic of invasion of our homeland in a way that distances it from reality. So we are no longer talking about our real enemy, the Soviets at the time, but about something more fanciful, aliens.

And these are not movies primarily for children. They come from adult minds and deal with adult fears. So maybe it is not just the children who benefit from this sort of fear-managing through fiction? Personally, I still enjoy a good movie or book that allows me to escape from reality for a bit.



One response to this post.

  1. […] a bad thing. Using stories to address one’s fears and to overcome them can be a good thing. Fairytales allow us to do this. They let children come to terms with scary things in a fictional setting before they have to face […]


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