Morality and Fairy Tales
Purpose: This essay asks you to use rhetorical analysis, modes of argumentation and persuasion, and the practice of discovering and conveying your own style. In addition, this essay asks you to avoid using logical fallacies in your composition.
Primary Readings: “Beauty and the Beast” by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont <http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/beauty.html>, “Little Red Riding Hood” by Charles Perrault, “Little Snow-White” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm <http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm053.html>, “Bluebeard” by Charles Perrault <http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/perrault03.html>, and one fairy tale of your choosing (either Perrault or Grimm version).
Topic: Fairy tales are so old that they date back to the oral tradition when stories were told by word of mouth instead of paper and pen. This is why there is no one main version of a fairy tale; each version differs depending on the region, the audience, the translators, and so on. Despite their differences, there is one goal that classic fairy tales have, which is to represent the fundamental flaws of human nature and create morals to teach audiences (particularly children) to avoid those flaws. It is this element that is most interesting for critical thinkers, who work to scrutinize truth, identify discrepancies, and avoid logical errors. Therefore, addressing these morals as arguments is what we will do for this essay, and our job will be to determine the strength and/or weaknesses of these arguments.
Writing Task: Carefully review the moralist’s perspective also recommend you use the criteria for moral arguments and as you begin writing. Then, construct a well-developed and well-argued essay:
Evaluate TWO moral lessons in 1-2 fairy tales : one critique must be a moral lesson you think succeeds and the other must be a moral lesson you think fails.
Tips: There are obviously many morals to be found in fairy tales; some even contain more than one. For example, obedience is the primary moral taught in “Bluebeard,” kindness and compassion are taught in “Snow White,” but within each fairy tale you will find many more moral lessons like “don’t talk to strangers,” “don’t accept gifts from strangers,” “don’t allow your curiosity to get the better of you,” and so on. My suggestion is to make a list of all moral lessons you identified in each fairy tale, and then, in your notes, mark which succeeds and/or fails. In order to take helpful notes for this topic, you will need to consider characters, themes, circumstances, social, cultural, or gender expectations, time period, location, etc. Remember to think about context before beginning to write (the necessary background information you need to set up before presenting an argument).
Directions: This essay should be at least 4 pages in length and it should have at least 2 credible sources. The first source is your primary text (the fairy tale(s) you will be focusing on), but the other source must be acquired through research. Recommended to look for critical and scholarly articles from books or academic journals/credible websites. . Essays must be in MLA format (12pt, Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, and double spaced) and should have a Works Cited Page.
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