I think Carl Jung had a lot to say about the symbolism in fairy tales. The one you most identify with is the one to explore. For me it is the Little Mermaid. As a child I found this story hard to bear. She had to give up her voice to find her Love and every step she took was like walking on knives. It still gives me a frisson of pain even thinking about it.
yeah, i have read abt the symbolism in fairy tales, but i have to wonder how much of this a child would understand.
I believe nursery rhymes were also used with political motivation - an easy way to spread a msg through an innocuous looking medium. 'Baa baa black sheep' for instance was a critique of the wool tax of 1275 in Great Britain, with the 'Master' being Plantagenet King Edward I, the 'Dame' referring to the nobility and the 'little boy' of course being the common man.
I have nothing against the use of rhymes or symbols to propagate political msgs, but I wonder why we persist in teaching these to our children even today.
Looking at 'the Little Mermaid' which, like Jo, I still can't bear to read, it is symbolic of the the plight of the 'sacred feminine'. She is considered an allegory for Mary Magdalene, the 'lost bride' of Jesus Christ'. Again, rly depressing stuff, and far beyond what a kid would or should understand.
For anyone who's interested, a couple of good links on symbolism in 'The Little Mermaid': - http://www.the-little-mermaid.com/symbolism.php - http://ramon_k_jusino.tripod.com/littlemermaid.html