When we were children, we used to sit on out parent’s laps and amazing stories were read to us.  Many of those stories have been amongst us for long.  Many of them have served ad models to follow or not to.  Some of those stories may be called fairy tales, some of them are called stories, myths, legends, in all, they conform what we call Folklore.  Let’s now work a bit on setting a common ground for our discussion.



Explain in your own words the difference between folklore and fairy tales


Wikipedia defines Folklore as

“Folklore (or lore) consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales, stories, tall tales, and customs included in the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It also includes the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called folkloristics, and people who study folklore are sometimes referred to as “folklorists”. The English antiquarian William Thoms introduced the word “folklore” in a letter published in the London journal The Athenaeum in 1846.[1] In usage, there is a continuum between folklore and mythology. Stith Thompson (1885-1976) made a major attempt to index the motifs of both folklore and mythology, providing an outline for classifying new motifs, and within which scholars can keep track of all older motifs.

Folklore can be divided[by whom?] into four areas of study:

    • artifacts (such as voodoo dolls)
    • describable and transmissible entity (oral tradition)
    • culture
    • behavior (rituals)”


On the other hand, Wikipedia explains Fairy Tale

“A fairy tale (pronounced /ˈfeəriˌteɪl/) is a type of short story that typically features folkloric fantasy characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants, mermaids, or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described)[1] and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables.”


Choose the best answer


a) Folklore is a part of fairy tales

b) Fairy tales are a part of folklore

c) Both are written traditions

d) None of the above


So, as you should understand now, fairy tales are a part of folklore.


(Blue Beard)


In order to speak the same language, I’ll need you to learn or clarify the following language


Match the following words with their definitions


a) Face value 1) To contend with difficulties and act to overcome them
b) Roots 2) An inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience and present in the individual unconscious.
c) To cope with 3) The principal female character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.
d) Journey 4) The act of traveling from one place to another; a trip.
e) Adulthood 5) The act or an instance of seeking or pursuing something; a search.
f) Quest 6) A progenitor or ancestor from which a person or family is descended.
g) Adolescence 7) The period of time in your life after your physical growth has stopped and you are fully developed
h) Heroin 8) A transitional period of development between youth and maturity
i) Archetypes 9) On the far side of; past:
j) beyond 10) Apparent significance

Note: definitions taken from www.thefreedictionary.com











Answers to matching exercise:

a10, b6, c1, d4, e7, f5, g8, h3, i2, j9






Before you read the text, I’d like you to have these questions in mind


Answer these questions about the text that follows



What is the text about?

a) About how wives waited for their husbands in WWII

b) About the fact that John Wayne and Brad Pitt are German

c) About changes in the message of traditional stories when told by Disney

d) Disney makes their films very accurate to the original stories


Read the text below and answer the previous questions


Fairy tales and folklore have long taught children to cope with things they are afraid of. These days, the fairy tales kids are familiar with are not the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson, but Disney. The problem is, Disney has taken the archetypes represented in the fairy tales and gone Hollywood. The heroines are pure, beautiful and sweet and the heroes are a mixture of John Wayne and Brad Pitt. Instead of journeys and quests, there are chase scenes and knife fights. Friendly animals and song remove any evidence of the dark, forbidding German forests found in the Grimms’ fairy tales. I examined Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, comparing the original texts to the Disney version. All of these stories have gone through retellings and revision; for example, Cinderella stories are found in ancient Egypt, but the problem is, Disney has forgotten these stories roots and purpose, i.e. preparing adolescents for adulthood, and created a whole new mythology. Some of Disney’s stories represent the values of the time they were produced, for example 1959’s Sleeping Beauty seems to represent the WWII wives waiting for their lovers to come home from war. However, I think students need to look beyond the animation and discover what these stories mean. They should compare the original text to the Disney revision and not just take Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at face value. Additionally, there are other revisions that more clearly represent values young people hold true today, such as Ever After, where the Cinderella character fights for what she wants instead of waiting for her fairy godmother to bring it to her.  Students could also use the web to review the different points of view of fairy tale and folklore revision and further critique of Disney”

Abstract taken from: http://www.teachingliterature.org/teachingliterature/pdf/story/disneyfication_friedmeyer.pdf














Answers about the main idea of the text








Now I’d like to have you answer some more questions about the text, you must know that you can read the text as many times as you feel necessary.


Answer the following questions


1) What were fairy tales and folklore tales intended to do originally?

2) What does the phrase ‘gone Hollywood’ mean?

3) According to Grimm stories, how are the surroundings of the fairy tales?

4) What have Disney’s stories forgotten about?

5) What does Sleeping Beauty represent according to the author?


















Answers to second reading task


1) They were meant to teach children to face their fears

2) To be dramatic

3) Dark and dangerous places such as forests

4) They have forgotten about the roots of the stories and their purpose

5) According to the author, the Sleeping Beauty would represent the wives of soldiers in WWII, who waited for their loves to return home safe and sound



Now I’m going to ask for your opinion, which you can share using the comment box below.



Answer these questions


Can you give other examples of Disneyfication?




2 Responses to “Folklore and Disney – Vocabulary, Reading and Expressing Opinions Free Online Lesson”

  1. dani, Reply

    Great job, sebastian.
    Other example of Disneyfication could be the changes that American film industry makes to movies and series that are original from other countries. They often adapt them to the american society.

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