domingo, 28 de octubre de 2012

KEY NAMES IN LITERATURE FOR CHILDREN: Charles Perrault, the Grimm Brothers, and Hans Christian Andersen.

Charles Perrault

French poet and writer Charles Perrault was born on January 12, 1628, in Paris, France. Though he began his career as a lawyer in charge of royal buildings, by around 1660, Perrault had earned a positive reputation for his poetry. In 1671, he worked in the Académie Française, and played a prominent role in a literary controversy known as the dispute between the Ancients and Moderns. Perrault is perhaps best known for his Mother Goose fairy stories, including Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots, which he wrote for his children. Perrault died on May 16, 1703, in Paris, France.

Charles Perrault was a member of the French court. In the 1690s, there was a fashion of creating literary renderings of folk tales for the entertainment of that court, and Perrault participated in this fashion. One aspect of literary adaptation in this manner was to convert the oral tales which truly belonged to the "folk" into forms that served the interests of the more educated ruling classes. While Perrault was writing within a tradition of adapting oral tales into literary retellings, however, his work remained much closer to the folk level than other literary retellings of the time. The Opies claim that Perrault "accepted the fairy tales at their own level." In addition, his works were relatively short, so they were appropriate for a child audience in ways that longer fairy tales produced in the French court (as earlier in the Italian court of Basile's time) were not. It is this aspect of his work that most justifies identifying him as the first 'children's writer.'
As the above quote mentions, Charles Perrault was a member of the French court, under the reign of Louis XIV. His tales were intended to amuse and educate the young ladies of the court. His stories often have morals, which deal with issues of achieving grace and beauty. It is important to make mental note of this when interpreting the morals of his stories.
His tales were intended to train young girls in how to become ladies. This is very different from the intention of the Brother's Grimm who reinterpreted fairy tales to emphasize German nationalism. Perrault's tales also include more magical beings than the Brother's Grimm, who often emphasized God as the purveyor of happiness. The intentions of Perrault are illustrated in his stories and emphasized in his "Morals," which idealize beauty and grace as some of the most important characteristics a young woman should possess.

 Grimm Brothers

The  Grimm Brothers, Jacob(1785–1863) and Wilhelm (1786–1859), were Germanic academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who together collected folklore. They are among the most well-known storytellers of European folk tales, and their work popularized such stories as "Cindirella", "The Frog Prince", "Hansel and Gretel" (Hänsel und Gretel), "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin" (Rumpelstilzchen), and "Snow White" (Schneewittchen). Their first collection of folk tales, Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.
The brothers spent their formative years first in the German town of Hanau and then in Steinau. Their father's death in 1796, about a decade into their lives, caused great poverty for the family and affected the brothers for many years. They attended the University of Marburg where historian and jurist Friedrich von Savigny spurred their interest in philology and Germanic studies—a field in which they are now considered pioneers—and at the same time developed a curiosity for folklore, which grew into a lifelong dedication to collecting German folk tales.
The rise of romanticism in the 19th century revived interest in traditional folk stories, which to the Grimm brothers represented a pure form of national literature and culture. With the goal of researching a scholarly treatise on folk tales, the brothers established a methodology for collecting and recording folk stories that became the basis for folklore studies. Between 1812 and 1857 their first collection was revised and published many times, and grew from 86 stories to more than 200. In addition to writing and modifying folk tales, the brothers wrote collections of well-respected German and Scandinavian mythologies and in 1808 wrote a definitive German dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch) that remained incomplete in their lifetime.
The popularity of the Grimms' collected folk tales endured well beyond their lifetimes. The tales are available in more than 100 translations and have been adapted to popular Disney films such as Snow White and the Seven DwarfsSleeping Beauty, andCinderella. In the mid-20th century the tales were used as propaganda by the Third Reich; later in the 20th century psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim reaffirmed the value of the work, in spite of the cruelty and violence in the original versions of some of the tales that were sanitized.

Hans Christian Andersen.

Hans Christian Andersen often referred to by his initials H. C. Andersen (April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."
During his lifetime he was acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, and was feted by royalty. His poetry and  stories have been translated into more than 150 languages. They have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films.
It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first installment of his immortal Fairy Tales.  More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1836 and 1837. The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly. At the same time, Andersen enjoyed more success with two novels O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler.

"Contribution to the analysis of literature for children"

There were many significant characters who specialised in the analysis of literature for children. Each of them studied a specific area or psychological aspects of kids' mind to know in details their reactions, thoughts as well as feelings while reading fairy tales. Those incredible genious were: Vladimir Propp, Bruno Bettelheim, Maria Tatar and Kieran Egan.

Vladimir Propp belonged to a German family who was born on April 17th in St. Petersburg in 1895. He attended St Petersburg University, where he had Philosophy in German and Russian languages. After his graduation, he began to teach both at secondary school to become a German teacher later on.

After 1938, he focused on Folklore to be chaired the Department of it until he became part of the Department of Russian literature.

Vladimir Propp developed a Russian Formalist Approach to study and analyse fairy tales, where narratives structures were reduced to a series of actions performed by the dramatic characters in each story. Propp also argued that all fairy tales were constructed of certain plot elements, which he called "functions" that ocurred in an uniform sequence. These functions were absentation, interdiction, violation of interdiction, reconnaissance, delivery, trickery, complicity, villiany and lack, mediation, counter-action and the different roles of heros and villains could play in a story. Each function explained how they worked jointly, however, fairy tales also needed several other elements such as their respective plot, settings, tone, and characters in order to gain a cohesive and well-written tale for children.
Vladimir Propp died in 1970.

Read more about V. Propp by clicking here.

Bruno Bettelheim was born on August 28th in Viena in 1903. He was a controversial Austrian Psychoanalyst and Educational Psychologist who pioneered in the aplication of Psychoanalysis to the treatment of emotionally-disturbed children.

During his studies in Viena, Bruno was influenced by World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution, and Sigmund Freud who was the most important one for him since Bettelheim reflected interest in Psychoanalysis.

Bruno moved to United States, where he worked as a Psychologist and Psychiatric Professor at the University of Chicago in 1963. He viewed children's behaviour as resulting from overwhelmingly negative parents interacting with them during critical early stages in their Psychological development.

Afterwards, he published one of his book called "The Uses of Enchantment, which had a popular Psychoanalytical look at fairy tales. Bruno contributed that classic fairy tales had an unique importance and impact on children's development, which could be explored by studying their styles, characters and themes.

To begin with, styles were related to happy endings in which good was rewarded and evil was punished. Bruno explained that children felt more confident to believe in themselves and have hope as well. He also mentioned that happy endings satisfied children's spiritual desires.

Another characteristic of fairy tale style was the classic opening words "Once upon a time", Bruno made a comparison between real world and fantasy world where the youngest readers could release their spirit from the materialistic real world to the happy, vivid and innocent world of the fairy tale in order to become more optimistic in life.

Bettelheim mentioned the last issue about fairy tale style, the common use of "Three main characters" in many classic ones. The number gave children a sense of security because of their perfect and complete feature.

On the other hand, characters seemed to be a significant element in every fairy tale. They could be heros or heroines who must overcome many difficulties, challenges and obstacles in order to get triumph. According to Bruno Bettelheim, children tried to imitate their manners as well as their qualities to be successful in life.

Another indispensable type of character was the evils who played a violent role in fairy tales, affecting children's psyche. However, Bruno denied those negative effects produced by them because kids learnt that they must not do bad things to appeal punishmemts and they also learnt how to cope with their fears.

Last but not at least, the theme also played a primordial role in fairy tales. From Bruno's point of view, the theme depended on what the story was about and it transmited a meaningful message for kids to train and develop maturity and independence for the future.
Bruno Bettelheim died in 1990.

If you want to read more about Bruno Bettelheim, just click here.

Maria Tatar was a Professor of Gernamic Languages and Literatures. She chaired the programme in Folklore and Mythology at Havard University, where she taught courses in German Studies, Folklore, and Children's literature.

Tatar was interested in how the fairy tales were first written down, what the cultural variants were, the ways in which the texts reflected the historical realities of another time and place and the Psychological effects. By providing children with powerful models for navigating reality, Maria showed, these tales helped children to survive in the world ruled by adults.

Tatar also believed that fairy tales were connected with all kind of adult secrets for they told children about death, romance, marriage and, in some cases, they would speak about sex and violence.

Fairy tales were often brutally violent but they acted as a therapy as well as entertainment for kids. Maria Tatar added that such violence helped little ones to face their fears, for which they did not yet the exact language developed. In fact, children were weak and vulnerable to control their anxieties, too. In that case, adults played an important role to clarify children fears through explanations, experience, among others.

At last, Tatar expressed that stories shared moral aspects, giving life's lessons and transmitting marvellous messages for kids. Nevertheless, she explained that moral was often added to fairy tales when they were rewritten for children.

Maria Tatar´s Offical Page.

Kieran Egan was born in Ireland in 1942, and he was brought up and educated in England. He graduated in 1966. During his career, he worked as a Professor in many Universities and he was also the Founder and Director of the Imaginative Education Research Group, where he found out Education involved some kind of development on children, especially intellectual tools, like Language or Mathematics and thus, their Psychological Process became more mature to acquire knowledge to learn and understand concepts in a better way.Egan developed an Imaginative Approach to Teaching to help kids to become more knowledgeable and more creative in their thinking. In fact, that new approach offered an understanding of how children's imagination worked in learning and showed how children acquired cognitive tools to promote creativity in the classroom. To achieve that, educators could imply a variety of effective teaching tools such as story, rhythym, play, opposition, agency, and meta-narrative understanding to awaken kids' intelligence and imagination.
Futhermore, Kieran proposed the use of intellectual tools, particularly Language or Literacy to generate successive kinds of understanting, like somatic, mythic, romantic, philosophical, and ironic. Egan concluded that if teachers put them into practice, their way of teaching would change completely and children would be more engaged in the classroom.

To put it briefly, each of these well-known professionals contributed through different techniques to the analysis of literature for children.

In you want to read more about K. Egan and the proposed tools click here.


Propp´ s taxonomy

  • According to Vladimir Propp there must be a princess and her father in fairly tales (Snow White and her father), a villain (Snow White´s step-mother), a hero (the Prince), a helper (they are the seven dwarves). He had also found certain recurrent points that created a constant structure in fairy tales. All these points, which are called functions, are not always present in all the tales. For instance, in Snow White ABSENTATION is depicted by the absence of her mother and careless masculine role that her father had in the story, INFORMATION function is represented by the moment when the step-mother is said that Snow White is the most beautiful woman in the kingdom so she represented a future rival for her, COMPLICITY is mainly depicted in two moments in the tale, the victim is deceived by a woodcutter and then by her step-mother dressed up as a sweet and old woman. Another function is VILLAINY which is carried out at the very beginning in the story when the evil step-mother decided to kill Snow White because of her beauty. The LIQUIDATION is the moment which the villainy is repaired, for example when the loyal woodcutter became disobedient and let Snow White to go away in order to preserve her life. Another one function is the RETURN, at just the end of the tale the hero went back to the Kingdom, and got the RECOGNITION of the dwarves when the prince kissed Snow White and suddenly, she woke up surprisingly. PUNISHMENT takes place at the end of the fairy tale when the merciless step-mother fell down to precipice while she tried to escape from the dwarves´pursuit. Finally, the WEDDING is the most typical characteristic and the last one point to be considered, here our hero marries the princess and they lived happily for ever.

According to Cindirella´s video, Propp´s taxonomy follows the following patters:
  • SETTING: the where and when (A farewell kingdom, many years ago:)
  • CHARACTERS:        HERO: main good character: PROTAGONIST
        • VILLAIN: main bad character: ANTAGONIST
  • SEQUENCE: Series of events. PLOT: all the action that takes place in the story.
    • EXPOSITION: background information of the characters or the setting (first part of the plot). It may about what happened before the story began).
    • CONFLICT: most important thing that happens in the story. Characters are against each other (Hero trying to help someone and Villain trying to stop hero).
    • CLIMAX: when the conflic of the plot is resolved. Turning point (Hero saves princess). The most exciting part.
    • RESOLUTION: end of the story. It takes place after the climax. You learn what happened to the characters after the conflic is resolved.

jueves, 25 de octubre de 2012


All the animals started organizing their fights as a sport, but they enjoyed them very much. The wild bear turned to be the strongest among the animals. These fights were similar to current martial arts, and nobody was seriously hurt.
On day, Kintaro wrestled the brave bear and Kintaro won. He proved to be extremely strong, but extremely loyal and truthful at the same time. All animals loved and respected him.
The daughter of an Emperor was found in the forest by one of the animals, who immediately called Kintaro due to the animals ´ impossibility to talk to humans. Kintaro got in love with the beautiful girl and at  the same time he realized that soon, she would go back to her place.
It was very late that night, and the girl decided to spend the night  there with the animals and Kintaro. By the first second the sun appeared behind the hills and the beautiful girl opened her eyes, Kintaro had already built a wooden boat for the girl to return to her mother land. However, she refused to go and stayed with Kintaro and the animals for the rest of their lives.
As days passed, the girl also involved herself in the fights. She was the only living being who was able to defeat Kintaro. This was enough for Kintaro to get in love with her, and they lived together every after: Kintaro, the Emperor´s daughter and the animals.

miércoles, 10 de octubre de 2012


This is a clear example of the so-called name calling ads (attack ads). Thanks God, such ads. are not allowed in our country. What are they? Ads like this, usually diminish competitors image explicitly. The picture above shows a commercial about the current American President Obama. In this picture, nothing is mentioned about the new proposals by the opposition candidate, the idea is just to blame a president for the anount of hispanic poverty in America. Being it true or not, it think is is not a fair message to give. Anyway, what is the real aim of this ad?

More name-calling ads....

As the economy gets more competitive, marketers are getting nasty, too.

From soup companies to pizza chains, marketers are stepping up their so-called attack ads, calling out rivals by name, comparing products and poking fun at competitors.

 I do like advertising from time to time. I think advertising gives away a lot about how companies operate and what their internal values are.When looking up some ads in Google I came across an ad for Citrix, look at this picture:

The ad is somewhat funny actually. Citrix says that their solution with HDX is faster than VMware View. 

This looks a lot like some sales training programme where they teach you to sell your product like: “Our product is the best because the competitors product is worse.” Why do companies feel the need to point out that they are better than their direct competitor?

If you know your product is good, why don’t you just use the strong points to make an ad. Just stop throwing mud at your competitor and make a real commercial or ad?

Advertisers are increasingly taking each other on head to head, comparing their products and poking fun. Here you have some examples: 

sábado, 6 de octubre de 2012 BIG LEGS

Would you apply for this job? Believe it or not, this commercial was produced here in our country, and I was part of the production service company. The location is a wonderful place called CAMPANOPOLIS in the Province of Buenos Aires. The main production company is MOXY PICTURES (Los Angeles). As you will hear, no official or existing language was necessary for the message to be understood...Can you recognise any word?... is a worldwide company of job advisory services. According to the ad, they have the right position for the right candidate. Its main office is located in the United States, but as it is an on-line company, its canditates belong to the whole world. The product advertised is a service, so there is no product present there, just the service´s concept. This ad was produced in Buenos Aires and its clear message is that there is always a job position for every kind of person.

I think that this kind of companies are very useful today, and most of the junior professionals start working after applying for a specific position in advisory services on-line. 

I can associate the protagonist of  the commercial, a giant, with the size of the company, so, association is a technique used in this case to identify the hidden persuaders.
I really love the setting of the ad, and the lack of any official language used in it. If you watch it, it is impossible to relate it to any specific place, country, and  you do not recognize a specific language when the giant talks… words are only a mixture of sounds, in a somewhere land… However, the effect is extraordinary, and there is not much information provided by the commercial, only the fact that this company may find the right job position for you, with no sex or age distinction.
I would not change the advertisement at all. I love it and I believe that it clearly reflects the service offers.