Bettleheim’s psychologically oriented reading is a concept that evaluates fairytales as sources of psychological experience for children and adults. Inspired by Sigmund Freud, Battleheim offered a new look at fairytales that provide new dimensions to the child’s imagination and insight into the human psyche, which could not be learned elsewhere. Hence, psychologists can analyze the possible psychological impact and behavior patterns that are learned through stories. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” by Anne Sexton can be used to illustrate such analysis.
One of the typical characteristics of fairytales is the division between good and evil. In “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” the stepmother presents the evil, who is envious of Snow White’s beauty and wants to kill her to remain the prettiest of all. On the contrary, Snow White is a young girl and the main hero, who children can associate themselves with. Hence, the story may represent the family dynamic, where children brought up with step-parents need to be reassured that they are good and loved, while step-parents are perceived as enemies or competitors for the role of the most loved person.
In addition, the fairy tale provides an insight into how deceiving the world could be and that one must always be ready that a stranger may have evil intentions. However, Snow White remains passive about her life and the dwarfs also do not take action to protect her from the danger that they are aware of. In Sexton’s version, even the resurrection of Snow White is not done directly but by accident (Sexton 99). This provides children with insight that things in life cannot be determined, and even with a passive approach, hope for a happy outcome is possible.
Sexton, Anne. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The Classic Fairy Tales (1971): 96-100.