Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales {{ currentPage ? currentPage.title : "" }}


Franz, Marie-Luise von. Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales. Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1995.


“Fairy tales seem to be innocent stories, yet they contain profound lessons for those who would dive deep into their waters of meaning. In this book, Marie-Louise von Franz uncovers some of the important lessons concealed in tales from around the world, drawing on the wealth of her knowledge of folklore, her experience as a psychoanalyst and a collaborator with Jung, and her great personal wisdom. Among the many topics discussed in relation to the dark side of life and human psychology, both individual and collective, are:

   •  How different aspects of the "shadow"—all the affects and attitudes that are unconscious to the ego personality—are personified in the giants and monsters, ghosts, and demons, evil kings and wicked witches of fairy tales

   •  How problems of the shadow manifest differently in men and women

   •  What fairy tales say about the kinds of behavior and attitudes that invite evil

   •  How Jung's technique of Active imagination can be used to overcome overwhelming negative emotions

   •  How ghost stories and superstitions reflect the psychology of grieving

   •  What fairy tales advise us about whether to struggle against evil or turn the other cheek

Dr. von Franz concludes that ever rule of behavior that we can learn from the unconscious through fairy tales and dreams is usually a paradox: sometimes there must be a physical struggle against evil and sometimes a contest of wits, sometimes a display of strength or magic and sometimes a retreat. Above all, she shows the importance of relying on the central, authentic core of our being—the innermost Self, which is beyond the struggle between the opposites of good and evil.”


• shadow


Interesting observations about the role of the helpful animal and the role they play in folklore. There are some similar connections to the role of children and minorities in horror cinema. 


"…the shadow is simply a 'mythological' name for all that within me about which I cannot directly know" (Franz 3).

"From these repressed qualities, which are not admitted or accepted because they are incompatible with those chosen, the shadow is built up" (Franz 4-5).

"As Jung once said, when you study fairy tales you can study the anatomy of man" (Franz 12).

"I take as my starting point the fact that fairy tales mirror collective unconscious material…" (Franz 137).

"Except for a few abnormal cases, it can be assumed that everywhere, in every nation, the human psyche includes in its structure a certain proneness to what Jung calls man's ethical reaction toward his own acts" (Franz 137).

"The one exception to the rule of contradiction, however, seems to be that one must never hurt the helpful animal in fairy tales" (Franz 145).

"But if basically you go against it, if you do not listen to the helpful animal or bird, or whatever it is, if any animal gives you advice and you don't follow it, then you are finished. In the hundreds and hundreds of stories that is the one rule which seems to have no exception" (Franz 145).

"This would mean that obedience to one's most basic inner being, one's instinctual inner being, is the one thing which is more essential than anything else" (Franz 145-6).

"Possession means being assimilated by some numinous archetypal image, and this story shows how wonderfully the show, horrible dehumanization of the elder brother, beginning when he joins the drinking party and has no instinctual warning" (Franz 155).

"The dead is jealous of the living and has not had time to detach naturally form the living and therefore now has a destructive and dangerous effect in the world of the living. Therefore even people who during their lifetime were really good people and not possessed by evil can, out of resentment at having been robbed of life, turn into such a thing if they are killed before their time" (Franz 159-60).

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