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Themes

Grimms' Fairy Tales are all about the haves and the have-nots. Pretty much every character is immediately identifiable by social class (unless, you know, they're in disguise). To quote the Boss, poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king—and magic is a great way to help with that. Of course, some social mobility inevitably occurs since those pesky poor people keep rescuing and disenchanting nobles and end up marrying them. But those are only the lucky ones; the rest of the downtrodden stay exactly where they should be: under some rich dude's heel.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Who comes out on top more, the rich or poor? Provide examples.
  2. Are there characters in the tale who lack social class or status?
  3. Marx comes to fairy-tale land. Who eats up his propaganda and who rejects it? 
  4. If you were a rich man, what would you do in your own tale?

Chew on This

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

Money never brings about anything good in these tales.

Poverty never directly kills anyone in fairy tales, so it's okay to be poor in them.

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