Haase’s argument about “ownership” of fairy tales

Paper instructions:
Read “Haase, “Yours, Mine, or Ours?” (p. 353-364)” of this book first.
Choose one of the following questions about fairy tales and audience to answer this week. You must integrate Donald Haase’s essay “Yours, Mine, or Ours” to support your arguments.

Your response should be thesis-driven and a maximum of 500 words (about two double-spaced pages) long; discuss specific examples from your primary and secondary texts to support your main arguments. Upload your response here in a Word document.

Your goals are to:

Demonstrate your thorough understanding of Haase’s argument about “ownership” of fairy tales
Practice crafting arguments about rhetorical situation, with a focus on audience
Practice integrating sources purposefully in your writing
Practice organizing your thoughts in a logical sequence that is also narratively interesting for your reader; effective paragraph development and transitions
Develop some potential ideas for your RA essay

1) Perrault’s “Bluebeard” and Beaumont’s “Beauty and the Beast” belong roughly to similar cultural contexts (French 17th and 18th-centuries, respectively) and are directed at similar audiences (wealthy and educated young girls destined for marriage). However, Beaumont’s purpose, message, and rhetorical strategies differ radically from Perrault’s. Compare these two tales: How do Perrault and Beaumont use similar fairy tale conventions and/or rhetorical strategies to convey different messages about gender roles/marrige and achieve different didactic purposes? What are the significant differences between Beaumont and Perrault’s rhetorical strategies and how do these differences support their divergent rhetorical goals? How do these tales illustrate and/or challenge Haase’s notion of “ownership”?

2) Margaret Atwood’s “Bluebeard’s Egg” and Angela Carter’s “Tiger’s Bride” are both modern retellings of old fairy tales, intended to offer a 20th-century feminist take on traditional stories and gender norms. What specific rhetorical strategies do we modern readers understand as “feminist” in each of these tales? How do we view these tales in terms Haase’s arguments about ownership? How do Atwood and Carter’s goals as feminist writers differ? And based on these different rhetorical goals, how do their rhetorical strategies differ? How do these strategies evoke different responses in their readers? You might consider specific emotions; relatability to the characters/situations; agreement/disagreement with specific values, principles, or other ideas.

3) The Grimm Brothers’ tales “Fitcher’s Bird” and “The Robber Bridegroom” were both included in their collections as stories intended for children—our versions come from their 1857 edition, which falls well within the period of “nationalist folklore” that Haase describes. What rhetorical strategies do you identify in these specific tales as appealing specifically to children? What message(s) about curiosity, cleverness, and punishment do the Grimms convey to children—girls, boys, or both? What responses do the Grimms’ rhetorical strategies seem intended to evoke in children? You might consider specific emotions; relatability to the characters/situations; agreement/disagreement with specific values, principles, or other ideas. And how do think these children’s responses would result in “good children” or “good German children”? Choose ONE of these tales to focus your response.

4) All of our Bluebeard tales this week feature female heroines striving against male villains. How does the gender of the protagonist/antagonist function as a vital convention of the Bluebeard tale type? Put another way, how does this gender convention determine the message and purpose of the Bluebeard tale? How does the gender convention work as a rhetorical strategy that evokes specific responses in the reader (child or adult; female or male)? You might consider specific emotions; relatability to the characters/situations; agreement/disagreement with specific values, principles, or other ideas. How does gender complicate Haase’s argument about collective vs. individual ownership of fairy tales? Choose ONE of the Bluebeard tales to focus your response.

5) Bruno Bettelheim insists on the symbolic importance of fairy tales to children’s psychological development, arguing that children need “a moral education which subtly, and by implication only, conveys to [them] the advantages of moral behavior, not through abstract ethical concepts but through that which seems tangibly right and therefore meaningful to him.” Haase disagrees, arguing that understanding fairy tales like this actually “enchants” children in a bad way, making them powerless against adult authority, forcing them to conform to rigid social conventions, and limiting their imaginative scope. Choose ONE of the Bluebeard tales to help you make an argument supporting either Bettelheim or Haase. How does your chosen Bluebeard tale offer a moral education or indoctrinate children with potentially damaging social norms? Your response should integrate both Bettelheim’s “The Struggle for Meaning” and Haase’s “Yours, Mine or Ours?”

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