Picturing the Rose: A Way at Looking at Fairy Tales

Title: Picturing the Rose: A Way of Looking at Fairy Tales
Author: Marcia Lane
Pub Date: 1993
Pages: 137
Genre: Nonfiction, Fairy Tales and Folklore

"My own definition of fairy tale goes something like this: A fairy tale is a story - literary or folk - that has a sense of the luminous, the feeling or sensation of the supernatural or the mysterious. But, and this is crucial, it is a story that happens in the past tense, and a story that is not tied to any specifics." (5)

Lane continues to explain that myths are used to explain and legends involve tales about real people or real places. What I have found while researching fairy tales and attempting to find the most concise definition for my lessons next year is there are still disputes on what makes up a fairy tale. It involves magic, it involves the mystics, there are repetitions of the numbers three or seven. But, I have to admit, I appreciate how Lane defined myth and legend in her one-lined sentences.

"They (openings of fairy tales) constitute both a disclaimer (don't worry about these things, they are not of your time and place) and an enabler (anything is possible, because the events that follow are not bound by the laws of the real world that we know)...the stories happen, quite literally, in the country of the mind and of the heart." (10)
Fairy tales appeal to us because they allow enough distance from the horror of them and the hope that it might be believable. It immediately makes me think of Ericksonian hypnosis or NLP (neurolinguistc programming). The beginning blankets us with security: it's only a story, it's not real. And then before we realize it our subconscious has been tapped into, our emotions and desires and fears. Things that we might not even realize we've thought about or wanted to think about. Fairy tales are cool because, if executed right, haunt you afterward.

What I really dig this author for bringing up is the female figure of mystic. In "Politics and Sex", Lane points out that sure, many of the tales are misogynistic and women are looked upon as second rate BUT the women in the fairy tales hold the magic, they are the spiritual force behind the tale itself.

This book is unique from other books that study fairy tales because the author chooses to discuss them from the storyteller's point of view. Lane is a storyteller herself and this is her way of kinda giving a 101 class on how to become a storyteller yourself. She takes us through her own thought process which is totally cool. On one side she'll share the tale how it is written and then on the other who she communicates it. Lane is adamant about the storyteller learning the prose but then owning it. Practice it out loud, pay attention to your hand gestures, express yourself within the story. All in all an interesting perspective if you want to research tales.


  1. I love fantasy, fairy tale, and myth, so this sounds fantastic! Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Hey Christina! You won a prize from the GLBT Challenge today. Take a look at the blog to pick out which prize you want. :)



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