Monday, February 11, 2008

Thoughts on Grimm’s “The Gold Children.”

If you read this fairy tale you’ll recognize a variation of “The Fish and the Fisherman.” Many of these stories have similar symbols and characters but then take a different path. What might the variations mean?

MLVF (hyperlinked here) has written that fairytales can be read as illustrations of a single psyche or an entire cultural (collective) mindset. But analyzing a culture is too hard for me. I’ll stay with a smaller project, thinking of the meanings for an individual.

The husband and wife are poor. But the psyche is fishing in the deep waters of the unconscious, looking for inner wealth. There is wealth in the unconscious life of this person, but he reveals his inner process too soon.

(What inner knowledge have I shared too soon? When have I talked too much? I know many people who don’t give themselves enough incubating time. Time at a window, sitting silent. How can one find inner riches without enough quiet time? )

After three false starts, the fish offers himself up. Some part of the unconscious is now ready to come to the surface and create--to birth beautiful ideas. Now the couple doesn’t have a superficially lavish life, as before, but they have more profound wealth--gifted children, beauty linked to the children, and a golden means of transport. (Transporation, a vehicle, takes us through our world. What moves us around? We might interpret this as our ideas, occupations, or our bodies.)

Now the story focuses on the children. They are gifted but, because of their wealth, have their own travails. I’m guessing, based on MLVF’s writings, that she would interpret the stag dream and the witch as “mother issues” in the boy’s psyche. He has done well at knowing when to show his inner wealth and when to protect himself (not throw pearls before swine) but there is a sinister element in his psyche that stalks him (even as he stalks the stag). The witch’s dog may be the boy’s own violent and unstable instincts around women.

Thankfully, there is another psychological element (or outside force?) that awakens and offers help. The spell is broken and the psyche thrives.

The idea of hiding one’s wealth (protecting the inner riches of the psyche) is repeated 4 times in this tale. How would that theme translate in a story for today? I’ll attempt that soon.

No comments: