Free The Grimm Brothers: The brave little tailor Essay Sample

The contemporary literary paradigm regards fairy tales as the type of literature each person becomes familiar with from the early age. Most people can recall having fairy tales read to them by their parents, and the vast majority of people remember fairy tale plotlines better than any other storylines. Although traditional interpretation of fairy tales suggests that children are the target audience of this type of literature, literary criticism insists on the fact that a large number of fairy tales possess a meaning that only an adult person can retrieve. Despite the fact that obvious didactic function of these tales remains unquestionable, addressing the interpretation of the message of fairy tales from the adult perspective brings out a series of aspects, which remained shaded before. Hence, The Brave Little Tailor - a story by the Grimm brothers possesses multiple messages, some of which can be regarded as ambivalent. Therefore, main ideas of the fairy tale are not only applicable in the world of make-believe, but can also be of use in real-life situations due to the practical motivation they imply.

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Although a large number of people believe that the Grimm brothers were actually the creators of the fairy tales published under their names, in reality they merely collected the stories, which existed in the German folklore for centuries, and edited them in order to match literary canon. Furthermore, these fairy tales were never intended for childrens reading due to their dark and often violent character. Thus, the aforesaid stories had to be adapted in order to become appropriate for the young ones. As a result of the abovementioned arguments, complete comprehension of the message could only be reached by thorough analysis of the story. Moreover, this message does not always possess a didactic function; instead, sometimes it depicts life in the unfavorable light, deprived of the traditional utopian splendor.

The first and the most obvious message of the fairy tale can be retrieved from its name. Bravery, as the title and the plot suggest, is a winning strategy on the way of achieving desired goals; likewise, people deprived of this quality have a small chance of receiving the anticipated outcome. Although it did not take a tailor a lot of bravery to kill the flies that irritated him because no direct threat was imposed in that situation, creating the belt that acknowledges bravery and wearing it without remorse demanded a portion of courage. People, unlike flies, are less predictable and a lot more dangerous; hence, they could have reacted negatively towards the tailor, consequently endangering his existence. Nonetheless, the story suggests that people are gullible in their subconscious longing for something extraordinary; thus, when someone like the tailor appears, claiming his/her immense bravery in a bold way, people are likely to be amazed and astonished by this fact, simultaneously creating a pathway for successful manipulation. Naturally, when some time passes, most of these people begin to doubt the truthfulness of the claim if not proven by action. Still, the fairy tale illustrates the way bravery can be considered a starting point of successful accomplishments.

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Apart from that, the story displays the tendency of bravery cultivating itself. Hence, the original tailor, the one that was sitting by his window and buying jam, could not have possibly faced the giant and addressed him as equal. At the same time, the brave and self-reliant tailor showed no fear or doubt while offering the giant to travel together. Oxymoronic this offer might appear from the readers perspective, bravery was practically all the tailor had. If not for the unusual courage, the giant would have probably killed the little man immediately, especially given the fact that in reality, he was much stronger. Nevertheless, bravery gave a tailor his chance and subsequently led him out of the situation. The latter is proven by the fact that after the giants attempted to kill the protagonist and he realized it the tailor did not escape from the cave feeling happy that he survived. Au contraire, he approached the giants merrily and fearlessly, which made them terrified. Hence, the story suggests that sometimes bravery itself is a sufficient proof of strength.

At the same time, another message implied in the story indicates that, although courage is vital for a person to set off towards the desired objective, it is not enough to actually achieve it. Plenty of literary examples illustrate the way characters were blinded by their goals, subsequently sacrificing logic and rational assessment for the sake of bravery; thus, in most cases little success followed their actions. As far as the fairy tale is concerned, the tailor was not driven by mere courage. Instead, he found an efficacious combination of bravery and cleverness, the latter providing him with a glorious way out of complex situations the first got him into. Thus, cleverness can be regarded as a second and the most significant step required in terms of approaching life and overcoming obstacles.

Therefore, if the protagonist was deprived of intelligence and resourcefulness, he would have failed in almost every challenge he met upon his way. However, the little man was clever enough to evaluate his skills and realize strength was not one of his long suits, which made him look for an alternative. Considering the fact that problematic situations are often spontaneous and demand immediate solution, quick thinking is the most beneficial feature. Hence, similar to the fairy tale environment, real-world issues should be treated with analogous cleverness.

Nevertheless, the concept of cleverness in the story under analysis is merging with the concept of cunning, sometimes undistinguishable from the latter. In this case, the abovementioned message can be regarded as ambivalent, possessing both positive and negative connotation. Whereas cleverness is believed to be an utterly benevolent quality, astuteness can be interpreted in two ways, one of which highlights the downside of human personality. Hence, the analysis of the fairy tale illustrates that the tailor was aware of the fact he was breaking the rules in most of the cases, such as in his contest with the giant; this, however, did not stop him from taking all the credit for the victory and ascribing it to his strength instead of acknowledging the victory of his mind. At this point, the story reveals the parallel to the real world, which exhibits a frequent tendency of valuing strength over cleverness due to the fact that the first is more capable of granting people the protection they desire. Thus, by claiming his strength, the tailor fooled the society, who found a hero they could trust in him, which is proven by the kings tasks. Ergo, this particular behavioral pattern can be attributed to cunning rather than smartness. Furthermore, the protagonist was governed by his ego instead of altruism, which often was not marked by planning or foreseeing. Thus, he did not aim at liberating people from the unicorn or the boar, neither did he intend to marry the princess and become a king himself. Instead, his purpose was to inform people on the subject of his remarkable bravery, and consequently deal with anything that would follow. Unlike most of the fairy tale protagonists, the tailor did not set a significant ultimate goal. Therefore, he demonstrated cleverness in terms of entering the situation, but not planning it, whereas his way of treatment dominantly based on cunning. Similar pattern, regardless of its emotive assessment, can be observed in addressing real-life situations. As a result, this aspect can be interpreted as the irony oriented towards selective cleverness.

Apart from the mentioned above, the fairy tale also implies the message that strength itself is not always the winning strategy, whereas intelligence most often is. Thus, people who have muscles for brains, as conventional wisdom suggests, are likely to be less successful at the same tasks. This statement is proven by the victory of the tailor over the giant, the unicorn and the boar, which he achieved without traditional strength, but with cleverness and cunning instead.

Another message implicated by the story is that words possess an immense power that can manipulate people and govern their perception. Ergo, the words inscribed on the belt were a motivational factor throughout the whole fairy tale, stipulating particular reaction as well as stimulating certain behavioral peculiarities. Likewise, words were enough to save tailors life when the king and his daughter decided to kill him. Therefore, words are believed to be one of the most powerful devices of persuasion. The aforesaid message can also be interpreted as ambivalent, given utterances potential to initiate both positive and negative actions in accordance with the purpose of the speaker. The statement is proven by twofold implementation of the persuasive power by the protagonist. On the one hand, the tailor benefitted from claiming his strength, which led to the self-advantageous outcome. On the other hand, the society absorbed his deceitful information willingly, demonstrating the vulnerability to manipulation in case the phrase is properly formulated.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the fairy tale, given its initial orientation towards the adult audience, reveals a synthetic didactic function. The story presents a complex of interwoven messages that complement one another and subsequently create an intricate picture, which not only represents the worldview of the epoch, but also possesses fundamental social features that do not change over time. Hence, The Brave Little Tailor can be regarded as a metaphorical guideline that incorporates various strategies applied for achieving goals and treating life situations.


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