Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Reflection of the Course

 Looking back on my blog it is interesting to see how I reacted to each topic and what reflection that has on both the impression I got from reading and analyzing the stories in this class, as well as the preconceived notions I entered the class with. In my first blog I said that my favorite fairy tale was Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, and while I can tell you that that has certainly not changed, I have definitely developed an appreciation for other fairy tales, some, like Snow White, that I had heard before but was never particularly fond of, and others, particularly tales from non-European nations, that I had never heard of before, but now that I have read them I very much enjoyed them.

 If I have one criticism of the selection of stories for the class, other than the fact that Peter Pan was not included, it would be that we had essentially no stories from Eastern Asia or the pacific. While we did talk about how some European tales had Eastern Asian influences brought about by the silk road, both Eastern Asia and the pacific have a wide array of stories there own stories that I think would be worth including. Even including something well known, like Mulan, or including the Modern Chinese take on Little Red Riding Hood in Lon Po Po would fill in the clear international gap of the stories we read.

 On the whole, however, I very much liked the material covered. What I think I got the most out of it was probably how one could analyze a culture based on its stories, and vice versa; for example, Jewish tales not only highlighted elements of Jewish culture, but also understanding Jewish culture helped in giving a better understanding of the tales. It is particularly for this reason why I think a more culturally diverse selection of fairy tales would be better, including ones from Eastern Asia and the Pacific as mentioned above, opposed to so many tales from Europe and in specific Germany and France. A larger diversity would allow us to explore more cultures through the lenses of their stories, rather than exploring the same French and German culture over and over.

Seriously, I get that most Fairy Tale scholars focus on Germany, but that doesn't mean we have to!
 As for the course itself, I thought it was acceptably challenging, but could have certainly been more stimulating. Honestly I think we spent a little too much time drawing and I don't think we got quite as much out of those drawings as one might think. I would have greatly preferred had we had some sort of discussion of debates about the fairy tales and their analysis, rather than simply hearing Bettelheim's Freudian approach,  not discussing it or discussing alternatives to it, and then drawing our favorite scene from the story. I honestly did not consider "draw the scene that stuck out to you" as requiring much critical thought.