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imrainmaker's avatar

Why is a happy ending necessary in all fairy tales?

Asked by imrainmaker (8365points) July 27th, 2016

In reality, there aren’t any happy endings all the time. So why we teach / preach kids that there’s always a happy ending to every story?

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8 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Being eaten by a wolf or thrown in an oven is a happy ending?

ibstubro's avatar

Grimms’ Fairy Tales have been sanitized over the years, but, as @Espiritus_Corvus point out, they are not without lessons on the perils in life.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@ibstubro
I must have gotten the unsanitized versions. I didn’t know they cleaned them up. Interesting.

CWOTUS's avatar

For one thing, it makes this saying somewhat humorous:

You know, it will all be all right in the end. And because it’s not all right now, that just proves this isn’t the end.

ibstubro's avatar

No, I mean that while not all the Grimm’s Tales have a happy ending, @Espiritus_Corvus, when they were written they were enough to give a kid – or an adult – nightmares.

Mariah's avatar

As others pointed out, older fairy tales didn’t always have happy endings, but I would agree that modern stories aimed at kids and even young adults do tend to have a happy ending.

One reason: it sells. The classic plot diagram shows resolution at the end, and when it’s a happy resolution after a whole story about struggle and conflict, it makes the audience feel good. I read the Divergent series awhile ago, and while I don’t want to post spoilers, the ending is bittersweet, and I hated it! I felt so shafted! Even though I can recognize that it was an artistic decision made for specific reasons blah blah, I just wanted everything to turn out happy in the end! Creators want to create works that will sell, and making their audiences feel crappy doesn’t help them do that.

It also probably relates to our psychological desire to protect children’s innocence and let them believe that the world is a good and fair place for as long as possible. It’s really scary to learn that bad things can happen to you even if you’re a good person, and lots of parents don’t want their kids having to think about that until it’s absolutely necessary.

LostInParadise's avatar

Because children would not want to hear stories with unhappy endings. Characters in fairy tales are good or evil, no shades of gray, because that is how children see the world. Nuanced bittersweet endings are beyond their comprehension. The evil witch and the kind fairy godmother are two sides of adults. To a child, the world is a scary place. Most fairy tales are symbolic coming of age stories. Children like being assured that they will be able to reach adulthood.

SmartAZ's avatar

I read a few of the unsanitized versions when I was a kid. I would not wish that crap on any other kid.

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