Chapter 37

Household Tales
Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm

Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm, philologists from a strong religious tradition, collected tales, edited them, and published revisions of their collections between 1812 and 1857. Their dual purpose—to preserve living artifacts from ancient times and to illustrate moral values and demonstrate the necessity for pious, moral behavior—is evident, especially in the tales in this chapter: "The Goose Girl," "The Raven," and "Faithful John." The marginal analysis of these stories includes techniques developed by Vladimir Propp (Chapter 35), Claude Levi-Strauss (Chapter 22), Carl Jung (Chapter 33), Otto Rank (Introduction, Part 3), and Victor Turner (Chapter 27). It may be useful at this point to look back to the key elements of the analyses that figure in this chapter.

As you read, note how folktales often emphasize plot at the expense of character development, and point out the particulars of how the stories in this chapter enter the realm of myth by reflecting the inherent values of the audience. Compare the stories in this chapter with other traditional fairy tales you know, with a view to finding stories that have some of the same elements. Consider other stories you have read or seen that may have elements of a coming-of-age story like "The Goose Girl" or of the hero or heroine's best friend, like "Faithful John." What interpretive elements used in this chapter can you apply to these stories to enrich your understanding of them?

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