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Grimms' Fairy Tales

Grimms' Fairy Tales

by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Humility Theme

Humility in Grimms' Fairy Tales is a lot like pie: it's impossible to have too much of it. You can, however, have too little of it. Having too little pie will just make you sad, but having too little humility will make you dead. Or people will take it upon themselves to teach you a lesson, which will probably make you wish you were dead. There's also a gendered dimension to humility in the tales; it's adorably surprising when boys are humble and naïve, but it's essential for girls to be humble, or else.

Questions About Humility

  1. Is there a way to fake humility in these tales, or does it always have to be the real deal?
  2. If you could be humble and one other attribute as a fairy-tale character, which would you pick for a winning combination?
  3. How might you apply the saying "pride goes before a fall" to these tales?
  4. Is there such a thing as too humble in these tales? Which tales?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Humility is distributed more by social class than by gender.

Humble characters are boring characters.

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