Yes, this week we are gonna talk about fairy tales! No, that's not because it was the first thing that flashed before my head when I finally sat down and wrote the post. Actually, I was just as clueless as you might be about fairytales. You must have read or at least heard of some of fairy tales when you were a kid, but ever wandered what actually deemed them as fairy tales?
I did a little research (more like typing fairy tales in Wiki and copy the the first definition of it :P) A fairy tale is supposed to be a short story that features all kinds of mystical creatures. Fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, whatever, and it usually was sprang from a legend or has a hidden meaning behind it (I'd like to say that should count as a fable, but that's what the Wiki said :P). A fairy tale doesn't always concerns a fairy, so why was it called a fairy tale? Well, it was all pretty much out on the Internet but I will tell you. Fairy tales were first discovered and loved in France, in France, they call these stories "conte de fee", and it translate to "fairy tale"! (Yup, pretty straight forward story. Although I still wanted to know why the French would name it that way in the first place...)
Anyway, despite the definition, I must say the meaning of a fairy tale is still pretty general and vague. For example, all the paranormal novels we now read always have some sort of mythical creature or magic in it, so does this means paranormal novels are also fairy tales? Personally, I have some theories on how to identify a fairy tale. But as usual, they are flawed. Plus the subject was kind of debated by literary figures over the years, so they definitely are very rough ideas... Well, here we go.
The first thing that I thought is that it had to be set in an imagined land/place, not a real place. I felt that a lot when I was reading fairy tales (when I was a kid, of course), the feeling that you are reading a story that happened in a secret region, a region where magic was possible, it just made the whole thing all the more fantastical. Though there were actually YA books out there that happened in imagined and totally different universes, like:
Basically all high fantasy novels fit this description :P
The second thing was that it happens in the past, an older time period, not in the modern days. Or if the story prefers, their own period of time as well. Seriously, usually fairy tales happened during times when everywhere were still using monarchy, so I would consider a fairy tale as something that happened in the old times, or on their own level of time (that takes some world-building). Of course there are also a wide variety of YA books out there that had this particular element. Dystopian novels are already very good examples. And since I am too lazy to paste covers again, you would just have to find dystopain novels yourself... ;P
The third thing is that there are no sub-plots. Have you ever read a version of Red Riding Hood that captured two parts of lives in the story, like one for Liitle Red Riding Hood and the other one for her friends and relatives or whatsoever. That never happens even though there were tons of endings to the book that some even included cannibalism. A little gross...:( This one would be hard to find in any novels at all, because I am pretty sure a novel must include at least one or two sub-plots.
And that's pretty much it, if a story consisted of these 3 elements I would consider it a fairy tale.
So, I've made myself clear as to what I think count as fairy tales, how about you? What do you think fairy tales are? How would you consider a book is a fairy tale? What's you favorite fairy tale? Comment below! :)