Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fairytales and Happy Endings?

I've been thinking recently. I am convinced that there are no happy stories that are considered 'literature'. Trust me. Look at all of the classics and pick out a story that ends happily.

Why are there no happy stories?

Or maybe stories don't end happy or sad but rather we are just expected them to end happy.
You can thank Disney for this one. :) Don't get me wrong; I love Disney and fairytales and folklore, but I do think there is some merit in NOT teaching them so explicitly.

Maybe a little background:
In my American Literature class, we started talking about W.D. Howell's, who in the words of my teacher, 'was the MAN' in the late 19th century. He could make or break any writer's career. Since he was a nice guy, he mostly helped people. Still, if you were going to impress anyone, you wanted to impress Howell. Well, Howell believed that romanticism was dangerous because it changes the way we view the world. When we expect happy endings we aren't happy with real life. That is why all of the Disney princess stories end with the marriage. There is no way to portray real life with romantically. It just doesn't work.

I guess that is what has been on my mind recently. Especially in the BYU atmosphere. Mormon boys and girls grow up with an ideal. And they spend all of this time looking for this ideal, but the fact of the matter is, it doesn't exist. Yes, we strive for perfection and the celestial kingdom, and I believe everyone should work towards that but that doesn't mean you are going to find your heaven on earth right now, right here. We are taught to act a certain way and to look for certain attributes we find attractive. Who decided these things? Why are they so embedded in the culture?

I am just as guilty as everyone else. As Nay would describe, I go for the "obviously attractive" men. Tall, dark, handsome. I guess I do. But why? There is no such thing as a perfect man. So why look so hard? What if the guy I end up with is short, blonde, or not-so-razor-commercial-handsome?

The truth is: It will still be OK.

Good things! And even if everything doesn't turn out how you or I plan, I figure we will find our own kinds of happy endings, in the end.

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