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The Brothers Grimm Essay

2843 words - 11 pages

Fairy tales have been passed down from generation to generation, each person in one way or another altering the tale to reflect a piece of their life in the work . The Brothers Grimm wrote hundreds of fairy tales in their life time and in these works they used their childhood experiences as reference. Because of the hardships they faced growing up their tales take on a more gruesome approach to fairy tales. Because their mother was their only caregiver growing up, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm reflect their fondness towards her through the strong willed, independent female characters in their fairy tales. Female heroines are rarely seen in modern day fairy tales, but as a result of their childhood the Brothers Grimm utilized them frequently in their works to illustrate the love and devotion they hold towards their own mother. This Predominance of heroic female characters in the works of The Brothers Grimm is a result of being raised without a strong male figure.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm experienced numerous tragedies in their adolescence that left them emotionally impressionable. Jacob was born on January 4, 1785 and Wilhelm was born on February 24, 1786 in Hanau, Germany. Misfortune first struck with the death of their father, soon followed by their grand father’s death, which left the family in shambles. Their father, Phillip Wilhelm, passed away when Jacob and Wilhelm were merely children and very easily influenced. (Brothers, 9) Two years after the death of Phillip Wilhelm, the brother's grandfather also died, leaving the family to struggle in reduced circumstances. (Brothers, 9) Their lives changed drastically as they adapted to their new situation being raised by only their mother. After the death of their father, the family had to move into a cramped urban residence to make ends meet. (Brothers, 9) Their mother had to raise all six children who had survived infancy all by her lone self. A true hero in the eyes of Jacob and Wilhelm, their mother single handedly overcame opposition in their family, just as their sister did growing up with five brothers. (Grimm, 11) The sentiment of being abandoned as children unlocked a new territory of potential as their creative juices began to surge. "Child abandonment is a many-faceted concept within myth, folktale, and literature," and the Brothers Grimm explored this concept in great detail (Garry, 3). As they began to express themselves through literature, male figures, such as fathers, were often dismissed as the females stole the spotlight in their fairy tales. “Some modern psychologists have argued that [their] harsh family background influenced the ways the Brothers Grimm interpret and present their tales” (Grimm, 15). Without a prominent male figure growing up, they only had their mother to look up to and to idealize as the strong willed individual who never gave up despite all the privation send her way. The Brothers Grimm incorporate their own perspectives to generally...

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