Fairy tales have the power to amaze and entrance, not only for the fantastical elements they carry, but for what of ourselves we can see within them. Author Kate Forsyth has an attachment a particular fairy tale, as the title of her non-fiction book The Rebirth of Rapunzel suggests, and it’s an attachment that has its roots in something that happened well before she could read the tale itself.
Fairy tales have been with us for a very long time.
Ever since humans invented language, we have used those sounds laden with meaning to create stories – to teach, to warn, to entertain, and to effect change upon the world.
Those stories have been handed down through many generations – changing with each retelling, but still carrying within them the same wisdom and transformative power that has helped shape the human psyche.
I have been fascinated with fairy tales ever since I was first given a red leather-bound copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales when I was just seven years old. Of all the stories of beauty and peril and adventure within its pages, it was the story of ‘Rapunzel’ that resonated with me most powerfully.
This is what fairy tales do. [They resonate powerfully with us.] They give us hope that we can somehow be saved, rescued, healed. Transformed in some way for the better. As we travel with the fairy tale protagonist through the dark and dangerous forest, as we suffer with them and triumph with them, we follow them back into the brightness of a world renewed. Fairy tales are an instruction manual for psychological healing.
What I sought to discover [in The Rebirth of Rapunzel] is why fairy tales like ‘Rapunzel’ have survived for so long, and why we still need them.
What I discovered is that fairy tales are not just for children. They are for all humans, having the power to help us change not only ourselves but, indeed, the whole world.
View Original Post: The Big Idea: Kate Forsyth