What are some modern examples of fantasy and fairy tale in fiction?
It is my belief that each generation of people embraces the fantasy and fiction stories needed in order to develop. This is true with fairy tales because they are designed as morality stories, which are pieces of fiction that people use in order to learn lessons which can be applied to reality. Through works of fiction, people acquire life skills necessary to live in nonfictional world. It is through fantasy that people formulate their personalities. Each generation’s versions of these age-old stories reflect the changes in tradition and the characteristics in individuals that the majority find admirable. To this end, the characters are modified, the plots tweaked, the settings changed, all for the purpose of educating and entertaining the audience of the present historical moment. The legend of Rapunzel can be traced back to medieval German folklore. In the original versions of the story, Rapunzel is a damsel in distress who needs to be rescued by a strong male character, usually a prince. She is incapable of saving herself or of saving her prince when he gets into his own precarious predicament. In the traditional Rapunzel story, a pregnant woman craves a special green vegetable, most often Rapunzel lettuce but sometimes called other things such as rampion. It was believed to be a horrible sin to deny a pregnant woman her cravings. The desired food was considered a divine message informing the parent of what the child needed in order to survive the pregnancy. The only species of this craved vegetable that is available anywhere happens to grow in the garden of a wicked witch. When this witch is given a name, it is usually Mother Gothel, gothel being German for foster mother. In exchange for not murdering the husband, Gothel takes the baby girl away. The child is taken, but it is never kidnapped. The parent has agreed to the exchange, even though they may indicate that they never intended to relinquish their baby. Mother Gothel’s motivation for removing the child from her home varies from version to version; sometimes it is loneliness and other times power, but the young girl always winds up isolated in an inaccessible tower, far away from other people. She has no contact with the outside world except for her “mother.” Often fantasy and fiction is used to teach lessons, such is the case with this version of Rapunzel. During the course of her lengthy imprisonment, a prince happens upon her tower and climbs up to her night after night until they are discovered by the now-villainous Mother Gothel. She is made villainous because she is obstructing the happiness of the lovers and thus, hindering the eventual “happily ever after.” Some versions have the witch learn of her “daughter’s” betrayal because Rapunzel makes a slip and refers to the prince in her dialogue with Gothel, asking why her foster parent weighs so much more. This culminates in the destruction of the young lovers by the maternal figure, which teaches the reader that obeying the wicked witch rather than the heart will lead to destruction.