Why are children's stories so gruesome?

82 posts in this topic

Posted

Right then,

 

I've been reading perhaps far too much about the latest revelations regarding the Jimmy Saville and beyond, and am so sickened by the stories coming out.

 

I read to my kids every night, quite often the classics out of a Ladybird book. some of them are simply to scary for them, like Little Red Riding Hood. Hansel and gretel is also off the list. Many of the stories I grew up with when I take a look at them are actually pretty violent. Why is this?

 

Some of the lines in the books I refuse to actually recite to my kids as they are to me just too creepy. Here I show you what I mean. On page 75 the woman says "Nonsense sweetheart you can smell the scraps of yesterday's child I gave the cat". This line I never read to them, just ignoring it.

 

On page 76 she says "Nonsense angel, it's only the smell of that baby broth you had yesterday". Another pretty gruesome line.

 

Now I grew up with these stories but I am now wondering why on earth the old storytellers liked to scare young kids so much?

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Posted

At junior school (aged 10 probably) we read (as a class) The Hobbit. Half the kids had nightmares. I found it OK. 8 years later I read LOR (whilst on holiday in Switzerland).

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Posted

"They all lived happily ever after" is a fairly new addition too, to keep the kids happy. Apparently "They lived together until they were dead" wasn't cuddly enough.

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Posted

 

I am now wondering why on earth the old storytellers liked to scare young kids so much?

 

Probably because they weren't necessarily meant for children. Wikipedia has some good information on the origins and different interpretations.

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Posted

Good idea to Wikipedia the tales. Apparently Beanstalk may be from Lithuania!

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Posted

I always figured that in those times, they thought scaring the crap out of kids would keep them in line. Well, it works, doesn't it?? :P

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Posted

Jeremy.. just take care that the kids never log in to TT...

 

There is some shite spouted there too!!

 

Scary!

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Posted

You think that's bad. Ever read Max und Moritz?

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Posted

post-85138-13541483137206.gif

 

Some kids are tougher than others.

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Posted

At kid#1's Waldorf kindergarten I am pretty sure they were telling us that it is a matter of kids dealing with horror in an acceptable format and learning to manage the resulting emotions without damage to the psyche. Now, given that I was unable to put a sentence together and had basically no German, I may possibly have totally misunderstood, but it does make a certain amount of sense.

 

@bludger - kid#4 had some Max and Moritz at school yesterday and was laughing his socks off at the oven escapade in that horrified way that they do. For me it's the pictures - they are brilliant. Remember the 'offensive baker bag' thread?

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Posted

Jeremy...

 

Do you tell your kids about Satan Claus?

 

lets face it.. he is breaking and entering....

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Posted

Jimmy Saville once fixed it for me to milk a cow whilst blindfolded. Great bloke.

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Posted

The brothers Grimm are from Germany, and wrote many of the gruesome old fairy tales such as Hansel and Gretel that I grew up with.

I also remember the "violent" cartoons where Wiley Coyote was always trying to hurt the Roadrunner.

 

Not everyone would agree, but it seems these did not seem to drive kids to violence as they accepted them more as just as stories and cartoons.

It does appear the more live action video violence and TV shows has increased the violent and gruesome actions, and kids are becoming more numb to it.

:

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Posted

I dunno, I kind of felt like i'd been lied to when I found out that disney added all that happy ending stuff. I loved gruesome scary stories when I was a kid. I didn't really care about princesses, horses and castles as much as witches, skeletons, and other villains. My parent's didn't even really care if we watched cheesy horror movies. Their idea was that if we spent a night with the lights on, we'd self regulate after that. I didn't grow up to become a witch or a skeleton or some kind of violent villain with a thirst for baby broth. I still think it is weird that in English, unlike in other many cultures, you are expected to shield children from reality. It's kind of like how in English we are expected to lie to people when they have gained weight and tell them they haven't. I think the better question is, why are English speakers such mollycoddlers? Now here is the disclaimer - I am not a parent.

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Posted

I love Roald Dahl and his gruesome books -particularly books like The Witches or George's Marvellous Medicine (and the grandma), or Charlie and the Chocolate factory and what happened to the horrible kids. Great stuff.

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Posted

 

Now I grew up with these stories but I am now wondering why on earth the old storytellers liked to scare young kids so much?

 

Yeah, but were you really scared? I atually found the stories funny and entertaining

 

Things have gone so PC now anyway, I'm sure most of you with kids know the rhyme "Hoppe hoppe Reiter"

 

Hoppe hoppe Reiter, wenn er fällt, dann schreit er.

Fällt er in den Graben, fressen ihn die Raben.

Fällt er in den Sumpf, macht der Reiter plumps!

 

Hop hop (horse)rider, if he falls, then he screams/shouts.

If he falls into the ditch the crows eat him.

If he falls into the swamp, the rider goes plop!

 

Anyway, parents in Germany have been saying/singing this to kids for generations with no harm and quite a few years ago when my youngest daughter was about 1 or 2, we were on the ferry from Hamburg to Harwich and I was singing this to my daughter bouncing her up and down on my knee as she was happily giggling along, when I noticed a woman giving me the "evil eye", after I sang the rhyme a few times she came over to me and said with disgust, that "we" don't sing that anymore, the second line has been changed to "Fällt er in den Graben, lachen alle Raben. - If he falls into the ditch all the crows laugh . (tbh, being laughed at isn't nice either ;) )

 

Anyway she said her piece, and I carried on singing "Fällt er in den Graben, fressen ihn die Raben." - she soon got up and left ;)

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Posted

I thought it was pretty funny last Christmas when my GerMan's mother insisted we read her favorite Christmas story "the Little Match Girl". Long story short, the girl lives in such destitution, that she dies on the street in the cold while trying to sell matches. How that qualified(ies) as a favorite Christmas story, I will never know. :blink:

 

That being said, I'm not all about sugar coating stuff for kids, and was the grumpy teacher who, when discussing the first Thanksgiving, prefaced our discussion with, "Well when we read this, it is important to remember how strange it must have been for the Native Americans to have a bunch of white people show up and say, 'We live here now.' It wasn't always so jolly and friendly as this book makes it seem." grumblegrumblegrumble! humbug! My own kids are going to be the most cynical little people on the block. I'll keep the Santa myth alive, though.

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Posted

 

I thought it was pretty funny last Christmas when my GerMan's mother insisted we read her favorite Christmas story "the Little Match Girl".

 

That story makes me cry :(

 

It's forbidden* in my house

 

*yep, I'm becoming more and more German ;)

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Posted

 

I always figured that in those times, they thought scaring the crap out of kids would keep them in line. Well, it works, doesn't it??

Fear being a large component of many religions would support this suggestion.

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