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The Involvement That The Brothers Grimm Had In Developing The German Nationalism And Social Culture At The Beginning Of The 19th Century

1139 words - 5 pages

One of the ideologies that started to emerge in the German states during the early nineteenth century was the concept of nationalism. The idea of being loyal to one country and having a cultural pride that makes ones country better than the others. Two brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, well educated, and respected scholars, helped develop this ideology by gathering folk tales from the different regions in order to help unify Germany and to implement its values amongst its readers. Their stories became well known across the German states because of how relatable they were to the majority of the middle and working classes, and how similar the stories were for every tribe. Not to mention that the children's tales helped teach basic values and gender-specific behaviour by scaring them with stories that does not have happy endings for the bad characters. There are also arguments that Jacob and Wilhelm's stories influenced women's behaviour as well with stories of beautiful girls who behave and are rewarded with a happy ending. By Gathering all of these tales from across the land, the Brothers Grimm Influenced the behaviour and the nationalistic ideals at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Before going into what they influenced, it will be easier to see what motivated the Brothers Grimm to write all of these tales. Jacob and Wilhelm were the oldest of six children born unto Dorothea, the daughter of a councilman in Kassel, and Philipp Wilhelm Grimm, and ambitious lawyer and later a district judge in Steinau. (Zipes, my book) Growing up they were part of the wealthier middle-class who lived in a large home with a few servants.(zipes, my book) This made them familiar with the social requirements within that class that would later help them with their writings. Unfortunately, their father passed away suddenly in 1796, leaving the family with little income, and dependants of Dorothea's sister who was a Lady in Waiting for the princess of Hessia-Kassel and had arranged for Wilhelm and Jacob to continue their high school education in Kassel. Jack Zipes mentions that during this time "…they were treated by some teachers as socially inferior to the 'highborn' students…" which only motivated them to work harder and graduate top of their classes, Jacob in 1802 and Wilhelm in 1803. In this case, their social struggle turned out well for them because of what each of the brothers were able to accomplish because of the poor treatment they had received. However, because of their lower social standing, they weren't entitled to the same privileges that the university students from wealthier families received. Both brothers had to receive special permission to attend law school and pay for their own education while their wealthy peers received allowances during their studies. As before, this social differences only motivated the brothers more which attracted the attention of a Professor Friedrich Karl von Savigny. This is the man who sparked the brothers...

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