decorative initial 'I'n the nineteenth century many people felt that young children should not read fairy tales. Misleading and unrealistic, they provided children with a false sense of the world and would most likely cause problems for them in the future. Would children, after reading these fairy tales, ever be able to tell the difference between “truth and fiction" ? What valuable lessons were to be learned from them.? Instead of perusing these fictitious writings perhaps they should read history books and literature. After 1840 an increase in children's literature led to this issue being downplayed. The fairy tales published did teach children important moral lessons which many people found worthwhile (Avery).

Many writers from the early part of this century wrote about children with an interest that was “continuously adult." The child's experiences and passions were not separate from that of an adults. In the latter part of the century this changed. Children were no longer seen as an appendage to the adult, but were viewed separately. More emphasis was placed on the life of children-a separate entity from that of the adult. (Peter Coveney, “Escape," from Alice and Wonderland , 327-34) Fairy tales were more acceptable now because they provided a smooth transition into adulthood. They eased the child into their next stage of life by introducing problems they'd have to face in a simpler manner offering some kind of moral solution as well.


Avery, Gillian, “Fairy Tales with a Purpose." in Lewis Carroll. Alice and Wonderland. ed. by Donald J. Gray, New York: Norton, 1992, 321-24.

Last modified 1988