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King Thrushbeard Essay, Research Paper

To Be a Domestic Woman?

?Grimm?s Fairytales,? although never intended to be in text form, are some of the most influential methods in teaching young children morals and to be productive citizens of society. While children enjoy the mere esthetics of fairytales and interpret them at their face value, s are aware of the didacticism hidden beneath the appealing plots and characters of the stories. Unlike s, children would not be able to extract any metaphorical meaning out of fairytales even if fairytales were intended to have distinct messages. For this very reason, fairytales have been studied along with a branch of child psychology to determine whether or not a message that is ual is actually retained in the subconscious of the child.

Grimm?s fairytale, ?King Thrushbeard? enforces the importance of modesty in s, teaches them to be less concerned with their own needs, and instead, to be concerned with the needs of others. It keeps us aware of the costs of this teaching.

The first evidence of this underlying, didactic theme in ?King Thrushbeard? comes in the second paragraph. The princess? father, the Old King, reveals being aware of his daughter?s tendency to ridicule and be unappreciative of those to whom he offers her. He is angered by her behavior. What the King doesn?t seem to realize is that his daughter has probably not reached puberty. We can assume that she?s around ten to twelve years old and that her understanding of males is different of that of a sixteen or seventeen year old . As pre- , a she does not yet understand or even know of qualities in men that are pleasing. At this stage she would not have the ability to look for qualities in a man that are ually satisfying for a woman who is ready to marry. The only traits the princess takes note of and relates to are the immediate physical characteristics of the men, which are common things for pre-teens to focus on. There was never an initial attraction or subsequent attractions to follow with any of the men because of the fact that she was not aware of her own ual nature. At the middle school level it is common for s of this age to still have an ill understanding of men because of their inexperience as ual beings. They often have difficulties in dealing with males because of this lack of understanding. Because the princess has yet to even reach the transition period of uality, she does not accept the men like her father expects her to. Therefore, the King is pushing her to do things that she isn?t ready for. In other words, the King seems to be an inadequate father in that he should be able to recognize the reason for her behavior around men. This he does not do. He is more interested in how he will benefit from his daughter?s marriage. He does not even seem to be aware of his daughter?s mannerisms, let alone her immaturity and inability to see men as a mature woman would.

Despite the fact that the King gives his daughter to the beggar man to wed out of frustration and anger with her, it turns out that in the end this event proves beneficial. Even without any intent of this marriage pleasing the princess, an intuitive emotion acted upon by the King told him that her marriage to the beggar man would be a way to humble and punish her. This teaches s that even though what parents do in efforts to benefit them may not seem agreeable, but in the end these efforts will have proven to be effective in rewarding the child with a valuable lesson. These lessons taught, especially those during a child?s pre- stage may be important in the growth and development during the transition period of puberty. Children going through puberty are most often experimenting: they are in search of what?s acceptable having to do with their uality and how their pre- peers are dealing with their own situations.

The experimentation that the princess experiences and the immediate lifestyle changes that take place have no transition period. She goes from being served and maintained to independent, poor and unkempt. This in a way can relate to someone who is pre- , like the princess, and immediately becomes a ual being without transition. This situation can also be related to non- issues. For example, while living in her father?s palace she was well taken care of. After leaving with the beggar she was completely dependant upon herself to do what she had never had to do in her life. As pre- , she is also pre-domestic. It is interesting to note that not only is there no mother-figure in ?King Thrushbeard,? there is no female-figure of any kind. Therefore, it would be unreasonable to expect a without any female influence to know how to do womanly, domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning, sewing and the like. This teaches young s that they can learn domestic skills from any woman whether it is their mother or not. And, if for some reason there were no female influence like in this situation, it would be the father?s responsibility to provide an atmosphere for his daughter that would help her develop into a normal domestic woman.

What this does not teach is that s should learn domestic skills in order to serve their husbands. It suggests quite the opposite. When the beggar arranges for her to do some jobs to make money, she agrees to it but ends up failing each job she tries to complete. When she was in the marketplace selling their s, she was taken advantage of and displayed her frustration in public. This sends a message for s to be confident and independent. Unlike other traditional fairytales, ?King Thrushbeard? does not teach a that to be successful she must learn domestic skills. It teaches quite the contrary. The princess in the story struggles with various chores at first ? she couldn?t make baskets, nor sell them, nor could she cook. ?The beggar-man?, who later turns out to be King Thrushbeard, displays his love for the princess despite her lack of domestic skills. This teaches s to make individuals out of themselves, and that there is no standard of being ?domestic.? That means that there also wouldn?t be a standard for men in choosing their wives. This fairytale moves s ahead a step in overcoming men?s expectations in a wife.

In conclusion, it is interesting to note that this fairytale, ?King Thrushbeard,? does not teach s to conform to a standard way of life. What it does teach is that s should not be discouraged by the disapproval of men who prefer to view a standard way of life. It teaches s to be confident and assertive in making decisions, and to be appreciative of those who are appreciative of them. However, I do not feel as though each and every feature of the fairytale could be yzed to produce a solid, coherent idea. There are many occasions in which features of the story are assumed to be a specific teaching, when, on the other hand, after being yzed do not hold together in producing a second or third didactic theme. This is my reasoning for not including many features of the fairytale. I found some to be misleading and often time irrelevant to the issue being discussed.

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