Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A18. German Fairy Tales and Folklore: The Monstrous and the Marvelous

Have you ever wondered about the origins and significance of Cinderella’s slippers and her tiny feet? What about Rapunzel’s hair? And why are we still as adults so enchanted by fairy tales? In this seminar we will examine the role of German folktales, fables, and fairy tales in cultural, socio-political, as well as economic contexts. In so doing, we will identify the main structural components of German fairy tale narratives and investigate their influences in children’s psychological development and traditional gender roles.

As we (re)read the well-known tales of the Brothers Grimm, we will also be discussing the means by which fairy tale and folk motifs are transferred to current popular fictions such as The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and the Disney Princess series.

Tessa C. LeeTessa C. Lee
Associate Professor of German