In my thesis paper, I examine the gothic elements found in classical gothic fairy tales from European and Japanese tradition, particularly those works by the Brothers Grimm and Yei Theodora Ozaki. By examining the principle gothic elements that are unique to both stories, and further analyzing the commonalities of story, plot, and other major tropes, a better understanding of the message meant to be imparted and other cultural nuances can be ascertained. Gothic literature creates an atmosphere of gloom and suspense, toying with concepts of dread and darkness by employing Gothic elements such as shadows, the supernatural, sinister buildings, and strong-willed villains, all of which affect the rational mind in an irrational way. Fairytales freely use such tropes to their advantage, playing with the many fears of children, while simultaneously painting an idealistic fantasy world. The degree of usage and the application of gothic elements is closely examined in the Grimm works, "Hansel and Gretel," and "The Robber Bridegroom," as well as the Japanese tales, "The Goblin of Adachigahra,""Kintaro the Golden Boy" and "The Monkey and the Crab." These stories have been chosen due for their usage of animal tricksters, themes of control, and aspects of isolation, supernatural entities, and substantial gothic imagery. The gothic elements of death, sinister older women, the supernatural, fears of abandonment, and cunning animals are akin to both Western and Eastern tales, while the concept of gothic setting and the type of monsters prepared to feast on men is significantly different for both cultures, similar lessons are intended to be gleaned by children from these tales, with the intention of generally producing positive results \u2014 while the means differ, the message is strikingly similar, yet there remain cultural differences in terms of central themes and character traits.The effect of re-introducing the darker, gothic elements of traditional fairy tales into modern literature and retellings of the original narratives has been profound.Today, whether it has been at the bequest of the public or simply a new-age movement by modern cinema audience for the "gritty and realistic," fairy tales are returning to their former gothic forms. "Snow White and The Huntsman" is one example of a film which has gone this route, opting for a more gothic, classic telling rather than the chip, cheery, rosy cheeked Disney versions. There is a tendency for most media nowadays to be far less censored and fantastical, aiming for a more realistic, grittier approach \u2014 this bleeds into film and literature likewise, and thus children are impacted by this shift as well. Children seem to be able to handle more, perhaps desensitized at younger and younger ages by the products of our widely consumerist society, or perhaps due to parents raising their children in such a way so that the darkness that tinges these tales doesn't disturb and derail but rather, emphasizes their meaning of teaching certain lessons. Tales such as these are still valuable, and will continue to be so long as we seek a reality greater than our own, where the evil of the world is wiped away, and we all live happily ever after.
- Once Upon a Midnight Dreary: A Study of Cross-Cultural Gothic Fairytales
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