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Group 5 Zipes

Page history last edited by John Anderson 7 years, 2 months ago

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Group Presentation 

  • 150 points (15% of total grade).



Each group will give a 10-15 minute presentation on one of the assigned critical readings. The presentation should:

  1. Identify the thesis and central claims in the article/chapter. 
  2. Give an example of the way the author supports these claims.
  3. Evaluate the argument. Is it strong? Does it use strong evidence? How does it relate with other scholarship we have read in this class?
  4. Post the material for the presentation on the class wiki.
  5. Sign up for group BELOW by putting name and WSU email on group page. Limit: 3 people per group. 


Courtney Davis ez7488@wayne.edu

John Anderson fa6107@wayne.edu






  • The Grimm Brothers fairytales contribute to the creation of a false consciousness and reinforce an authoritarian socialization process. 
  • These fairytales have been regarded by critics as an indoctrination tool used to mold the minds of children into fixed roles and the functions within bourgeois society, which the critics believed decreased their free development. 
  • The Grimm’s Fairytales served a socialization process by placing emphasis on values such as passivity, industry and self-sacrifice for girls, while placing emphasis on the values of activity, competition, and accumulation of wealth for boys. Emphasizing these values, Zipes claims, represses and constrains children, rather than set them free to make their own choices. 
  • As a result, the fairy tales went through a process of reutilization, functioning against this conformation process. The desired product of this reutilization was for the fairytales to produce a more diverse and just society. 
  • The article discusses this question of the sociopolitical function of fairytales in societies. 

Central Claims

  • The first central claim deals with how the Brothers Grimm obtained their information, and how the source of their folktales gives insight into the target values and ideals they were trying to use as conformation tools. It also analyzes how the Brothers Grimm changed the tales in order to include the desired values and ideals.
    • They gathered their information primarily from petit bourgeois or educated middle class people, who had already introduced bourgeois notions into their versions.  
    • The Grimm Brothers also did more than simply change and imperative the style of the tales: they expanded them and made substantial changes in characters and meaning. They also excluded many other well-known tales from their collection, and their entire process of selecting these tales reflected the bias of their philosophical and political point of view. 
    • They contributed to the “bourgeois-fication” of oral tales that had once belonged to the lower classes and peasants
    • Why did they do it? They wanted the rich cultural tradition of the common people to be used and accepted by the rising middle classes. Wherever possible they sought to link the beliefs and behavior of characters in the folktales to the cultivation of bourgeois norms. 
    • They sought to clean up the tales and make them more respectable for bourgeois children, while teaching the values and norms of bourgeois society, even going as far as publishing their collections as “educational book.”  
    • This article makes a claim that it is time to evaluate how these fairytales impart values and norms to children that may actually hinder their growth, rather than help them come to terms with their existential condition and mature autonomously 
    • The main claim of this section was that the Grimm’s fairytales were products of the common people to make themselves heard in oral folktales, as well as literary products of the German bourgeois quest for identity and power. The norms and value system that the Grimm’s cultivated reflected an objectified, standard way of living that was intended to legitimate the bourgeois standard of living and work.  
  • The second section’s central claim is that the adaptation methods of the Grimms can be used as an example to analyze similar transcription methods of other collections of folktales that have been published in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 
    • This section identifies how the role of the collector and transcriber is significant because, both consciously and unconsciously, the collector or transcribers values and world views are integrated into the tales, as well as the views of their intended audience. 
    • The reception of the tales influenced the purpose and style of the collectors
    • This section identifies ways that answer the question of why the fairytale in particular attracts children and functions so well in the socialization process 
    • As children read or are read to, they follow a social path, learn role orientation, and acquire norms and values. Zipes identifies an overall pattern that makes it clear why and how they become functional in the bourgeois socialization process. 
    • The Grimm’s fairytales emphasize a process of socialization through reading that leads to an internalization of the basic 19th century bourgeois norms, values, and power relationships.  
  • The third section talks about the tradition of the reutilization and transformation process of the Grimm’s fairytales that began in the late 19th century before it was ended by the Nazis. The tradition blossomed again during the 1960’s, when the antiauthoritarian movement and the Left began to focus on children and socialization. 
    • One of the results of this critique was the attempt to build a genuine, noncommercial children’s public sphere that might counter the exploitative and legitimizing mechanisms of the dominant bourgeois public sphere. 
    • This radical critique was used to provide cultural tools and means to reutilize the present public sphere for children. The critique tried to offset racism, sexism, and authoritarian messages in children’s books, games, theaters, TV, and schools by creating different kinds of emancipatory messages and cultural objects for children. 
    • Several publishing houses played an active role in introducing reutilized fairytales created to politicize the children’s public sphere, where children and adults conceived more concrete, democratic forms of play and work. 
    • This section claims to demonstrate how these fairytales reflected possibilities for a different socialization process from standard children’s books and, to a certain extent, how some of the ideas, plots, and practices in the tales have been realized in the children’s public sphere and education.  
  • The fourth section offers a conclusion passage about the idea that fairytales and folktales have always been dependent on customs, rituals, and values in the particular socialization process of a social system. Fairytales are strong indicators of the level of civilization, or the essential quality of a culture and social order because they symbolically depict the nature of power relationships within a given society. 
    • The fact that West German writers argued and continue to argue that it is time for the Brothers Grimm to stop looking over their shoulders may augur positive changes for part of the socialization process. At the very least, they compel us to reconsider where socialization through the reading of the Grimm’s has lead us. 


  • Pages 63 – 66 of Zipes show the process of change within the Grimms' tales. They become more elaborate and moralizing with each edition published. For example, the revised text of “Snow White” places emphasis on her job of housekeeping for the dwarves to justify this as the role of women in bourgeois society. 
    • "‘If you keep our house for us, and cook, sew, make the beds, wash and knit, and keep everything tidy and clean, you may stay with us, and you will have everything you want. In the evening, when we come home, dinner must be ready….’" 
  • “The story enjoins the reader to accept the norms and values of a patriarchal master– slave relationship and private property relations…. [W]e are talking about socialization through a story that upholds as positive goals patriarchal domination and the accumulation of wealth and power for private benefit.” (p.72) 
  • The “reutilized fairy tales” shift the focus from money and power, and turns to themes of social relationships, feminism, and breaking of illusions. They often involve social satires or ambiguous endings.
  • Examples include:
    • Table Be Covered and Stick out of the Sack (Friedrich Karl Waechter)
    • The Fire Dragon Minimax (Andreas and Angela Hopf)
    • Janosch Tells Grimm’s Fairy Tales
    • Fairy Tales for Girls with Spunk (Doris Lerche & O.F. Gmelin).



  •  I believe that the argument that Jack Zipes is making about the Brothers Grimm and their socialization and politicization through fairy tales is a strong argument. I believe this because Zipes uses historical references and data to support his claims about the critiques centering around the Grimm Brothers publications. Zipes identifies the time periods in which the attack on the conservatism of the “classical” fairytales was mounted, which I believe strengthens the argument by giving the reader a time frame by which to base Zipes’ analysis on. Zipes also strengthens his argument, particularly in section one, through using data obtained by following and mapping the revisions made by the Brothers Grimm, which emulated the extent of each new addition’s revision to the fairytale. Through mapping these revisions, it becomes apparent to the reader that there were patterns of revision used by the Brothers Grimm that matched the changing ideals of society, and emulated certain values and norms. Zipes also strengthens his argument through his use of mapping the changes made by the Brothers by putting three of their manuscripts side by side, which allowed the reader to see how each and every oral tale was conscientiously and drastically changed by the Grimms. By comparing all three revisions, Zipes strengthened his argument greatly. Each new version had changes meant to fit the values and norms of upper/ middle class societies.This pattern is like some of the other publications we have read which map the changes of the fairytales and pairs them with changes in society.  Zipes not only situated the compilation of folktales and grasped the literary transformations within a socio-historical framework, he also used historical references to investigate the pervasive influences that the Grimms have had in the socialization process of respective countries. Zipes also used philological research by Rolleke and others from the 1970s and 1980s to illustrate the documentation of the Grimms’ method of relating the tales to late feudal and early bourgeois society in Germany. This research method strengthened his argument greatly, and offered merit to the argument. Zipes also used analysis made by other scholars, such as Emanual K. Schwartz, to strengthen his argument. In other publications we have read in class, the scholar uses the research and analyses made by other scholars to strengthen their own argument. Zipes also used examples of fairytales, and the ways they’ve been changed, to illustrate how these changes can affect the interpretation, and thus their ability to be used in the socialization process. When Zipes discusses the reutilization and transformation of fairytales, he uses several different editions from different time periods to exemplify the claims he is trying to make.  In each edition, he uses an example of a fairytale to illuminate the way the tale endeavors to undo the socialization of a Grimm’s tale by inverting the plots and characters, and adding new incidents. 


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