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Fairy Tales: Meanings, Messages, and Morals

Build your skills in literary analysis and creative writing by exploring the meaning of fairy tales.

This course is archived
Future dates to be announced
Estimated 3 weeks
2–3 hours per week
Instructor-paced
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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On this course, you will look deeper into the enchanting and surprisingly dark themes of several well-known European fairy tales.

What were the authors thinking? What were the cultural and personal concerns that have shaped these stories? What are the readers being asked to believe?

By considering the historical context of fairy tales and examining the characters, styles, and plots, you will discover that the intended morals of the original stories may not be exactly what you first thought.

At a glance

  • Language: English

What you'll learn

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By the end of the course, you'll be able to:

  • Demonstrate close acquaintance with three famous fairy tales.
  • Explain the significance of cultural contexts in shaping fairy tales.
  • Interpret narratives at basic level.

Week 1: Reading “Little Red Riding Hood”

To begin, we dive into an old classic and find out if fairy tales really are as timeless as many might claim.

Week 2: The Idea of Beauty

Another old classic shows up in the looking glass. This time, we look at the tale of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Week 3: The Enigma of "Blue Beard"

Finally, we think about the history of fairy tales in western Europe, and then study a very strange example.

About the instructors

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