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Riklik, F. White, W.A. (1914). Wishfulfillment and Symbolism in Fairy Tales. Psychoanal. Rev., 1(2):203-216.

(1914). Psychoanalytic Review, 1(2):203-216


Wishfulfillment and Symbolism in Fairy Tales

Franz Riklik and Wm. A. White, M.D.

Is it otherwise with our poets? Think, for example, of Gottfried Keller as mentioned by Bleuler.

We have seen that it is precisely those who have been disappointed in their social or in their love relations who put wish structures into their poetry.

Later we will see that the stepmother fairy tales are only a special group of tales with sexual wish fulfillment. The stepmother (in other fairy tales the corresponding role is generally played by a giantess or a witch, the stepmother is thus also in this relation a special case) is the enemy, the marplot in the sexual wish structure, who is vanquished. In many fairy tales she herself, in others her daughter, is the sexual rival. The first category shows, still clearer than the latter, her role in the fairy tale wish structure. (A further interpretation of the figure of the stepmother will be noted further on.)

In the oriental fairy tales the stepmother perhaps cannot play this role because the relation in the sexual domain is otherwise than with us.

“Cinderella” with its variations serves best as an example of a stepmother fairy tale; also “Dame Holle” (Grimm, No. 24). An Icelandic Cinderella, where the stepmother is relatively secondary, we find in Rittershaus, No. 66, with parallels to this theme. There is also a sexual symbolism contained in it (dog, fire, giant, burning the giant's skin), to which we will later return.


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