Read The Witch Must Die: The Hidden Meaning of Fairy Tales by Sheldon Cashdan Online


In The Witch Must Die, Sheldon Cashdan explores how fairy tales help children deal with psychological conflicts by projecting their own internal struggles between good and evil onto the battles enacted by the characters in the stories. Not since Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment has the underlying significance of fantasy and fairy tales been so insightfully and entertaiIn The Witch Must Die, Sheldon Cashdan explores how fairy tales help children deal with psychological conflicts by projecting their own internal struggles between good and evil onto the battles enacted by the characters in the stories. Not since Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment has the underlying significance of fantasy and fairy tales been so insightfully and entertainingly mined....

Title : The Witch Must Die: The Hidden Meaning of Fairy Tales
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780465008964
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Witch Must Die: The Hidden Meaning of Fairy Tales Reviews

  • Beth Anne
    2019-05-14 03:14

    i really enjoyed this book. it's a psychological breakdown of the symbolic meanings behind fairy tales, both mainstream and obscure. the book goes through the "deadly sins" of mankind (vanity, greed, sloth) and basically dissects fairy tales and how they fit into each of the sins. at the core, the book is an argument that these stories teach children that they should destroy/kill/banish the wickedness they hold inside of themselves...i agree with other reviewers, the most interesting part of the book, to me, was the peak into the true fairy tales as they once were written by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, etc...the sexual and incestuous and rather disturbingly violent parts of these stories many only know as happy ending "Disney" classics. it has prompted me to read some of these well known stories as they were originally intended...very interesting read.

  • Claudia
    2019-05-18 09:19

    Un buen libro para saber más sobre los cuentos de hadas y sus significados. Gracias a él he recordado cómo me gustaba Madre Nieve de pequeña, y cómo este y otro cuento sobre la constancia eran mis preferidos.La razón por la que le he dado las tres estrellas es a causa de las erratas del libro de esta versión, que se podían haber corregido fácilmente.En conclusión, espero que se reedite (y se actualice) algún día.

  • Julie
    2019-05-24 10:28

    The premise was fairy tales in the context of the seven deadly sins, but it veered off into other topics and stories. While I am sure you can take just about any story and find elements of fairy tale in them, that doesn't mean they should be in this book. He jumps from the topic headings of Vanity, Gluttony, "Objects That Love". That is not a sin, and was irrelevant and annoying. He gets the ending of The Velveteen Rabbit wrong, and I almost quit reading at that point. He oversimplifies much of what makes fairy tales enduring, and the inclusion of so many stories that ARE NOT fairy tales drove me nuts. I expected much more from someone with a Ph.D.

  • Katy
    2019-05-03 02:23

    I really enjoyed this book as one way to understand the draw of fairytales and how they speak to us psychologically. The treastise is interspersed with recaps of many fairytales and their different versions. I discovered with pleasure some fairytales I hadn't heard before and enjoyed immensely. I also really like the idea that the witch represents our own inner vices and thus, to live happily ever after, the witch must die. Definitely.

  • Veronica Juarez
    2019-05-03 06:07

    ¿De qué modo los cuentos de hadas influyen en los niños? es la interesante interrogante que plantea Sheldon Cashdan en La bruja debe morir, un análisis para descubrir los significados simbólicos de los cuentos de hadas clásicos y su relación con los pecados capitales.Reseña completa en

  • Zyle
    2019-04-26 07:21

    Me ha encantado encontrarme con los cuentos clásicos desde un nuevo punto de vista. Eso si, la traducción en castellano tiene tela. Me voy a dar un paseo con Dorotea y sus Mascones.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-17 05:02

    I read this for a women's book club. It was a fun read and it gave me such rich dreams.

  • Emily Ann Meyer
    2019-05-20 07:28

    This was a great book. It approached fairy tales from a rather psychological, symbolic approach, reading into the themes and the deeper meanings. The author's thesis was, essentially that the wicked characters in these stories embody the symbolic wickedness within ourselves that we struggle to destroy, and/or common enemies in our own lives (e.g., the good witch/bad witch being the nurturing vs. selfish aspects of our mothers, so that we learn to embrace our mother while holding her blameless for the times that she's not able to be there for us because it's "not really her.") Apropros to the concept of the wickedness in the stories being an embodiment of the audience's own internal "guilt," most chapters took a title from one of the seven deadly sins (Envy, Greed, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, etc.). Additionally, as with any book that explores things from a psychological perspective, there's a discussion of the sexual aspects - the wicked stepsisters cut off parts of their feet in an attempt to fit the discarded shoe in the original Cinderella; the prince sees the blood and is frightened and repulsed. According to the author, it touches on every man's fear of castration (I might argue that it's actually symbolic menstrual blood, thus further rendering the sisters "unclean" from the prince's phallocentric perspective, but whatever . . .). The Little Mermaid doesn't visit the witch to get her legs (and thus access to her sexual organs) until she's "of age" though she's longed to be a part of the world above for much longer than that. There was also a lot of really great information regarding the sociological aspects - how almost all cultural groups have a version of the Cinderella story, and how that story within European cultures evolved and grew and changed depending on the audience and perhaps the message that the archivist (Grimm, Perrault, and one other who's name currently escapes me) was trying to send.And, just as how every story in Shakespeare has an analog in the Bhagavad Gita, in looking at it thematically, it was fun independently to identify how some of the same themes crop up even in modern epics - they really are universal. Selfishly, the one way the book disappointed me was in its neglect of the story of Beauty and the Beast. It's my all-time favorite fairy tale (from the lushly illustrated picture book I had as a child, to the Linda Hamilton TV show to Robin McKinley's three retellings (Beauty, Rose Daughter, and Sunshine), to the Disney musical, to C.S. Lewis' 'Til we Have Faces, to even Buffy (Don't tell me Buffy & Spike aren't Beauty & the Beast)) and it would've been fascinating to see that theme explored -- both in identifying the evil and in a psycho-sexual aspect.

  • Chris Cipollini
    2019-05-10 05:17

    Im a life long fan of fairy tales. I love them. The souped up Disney versions, the cheerfully deranged originals and some of the contemporary yarns. I would go so far as to say they are probably one of my favorite thigs in the world. So I was delighted to come across this tome. I truly enjoyed "The Witch Must Die". Being a fairly analytical person, I appreciated the psychological view the author took in assessing each tale, but not coming at the reader with just psycho babble, and also paying homage and telling the original narritive. I was even introduced to a few tales I had never heard of. ("The Adroit Princess" anyone?)I love how the 7 deadly sins were incorperated as well. Each tale is assigned a sin and shown how the underlying narrative of the story is about said vice. IE-Snow White is a classical tale of Pride and Vanity run amuck.I could go on, but if you told an interested in uncovering these classical tales from a deeper perspective and why they have such a hold on our culture and what they mean to our oral tradtions, I implore you to read this book. The author approches each story with ample respect and none of the tongue in cheek irony so many of these tales have been plastered with. Happy Reading!

  • Seb Read
    2019-05-17 08:01

    The Witch Must Die is an interesting exploration of what fairy tales mean to children and social life more broadly. Specifically, it looks at the importance of the witch character and why they must die to complete the meaning of the fairytale and fulfil its purpose. The book also offers alternative interpretations of Freudian analysis, which it is suggested has dominated a lot of literary criticism of fairytales up until now. Cashdan interprets a number of the classic fairytales, while also introducing a few less well known stories.It isn't easy to agree with all of the conclusions made in the book, but it poses entertaining questions and the quality of the reading experience is enhanced by the fact that Cashdan sticks to a narrative and line of thinking, rather than getting bogged down in more traditional academic hedging. Definitely a book that I would recommend for both people who are fans of fairytales and the more casual reader.

  • Janet
    2019-05-23 07:14

    The Witch Must Die is a straightforward, readable analysis of fairy tales from the perspective of childhood psychology. It's refreshing to see an author chuck elaborate Freudian analysis and explain the appeal of fairy tales as a way for children to deal with the temptations of the various ways to be bad. Cashdan describes "the witch" as both a representation of 'the bad mother' and of the negative side of the self, and explains why the witch must die. She also explores fairy tales that help children to wrestle with the 'sins of childhood': envy, vanity, sloth, greed, gluttony, deceit, and lust (premature sexual activity). Cashdan's analysis is intelligent but not at all stuffy. Her references to modern books and movies and chunky quotes from comparative versions of the same fairy tales easily continue to engage the casual reader's interest.

  • Jernelly
    2019-04-26 05:00

    Analyzing fairy tales from a psychoanalytic way is what got me to pick up this book. I found the stories to be the most potent in just themselves, and found the explanations and analysis wasn't as in depth as I hoped. I liked the Jungian theory analysis (the shadow self, self-actualization) which I tend to side more with than Freud ideas (sexual oppression and desires) which Cashdan seems to agree. I enjoyed learning about child psychology and concepts like transitional objects and the Good Mother / Bad Mother. Interesting!I liked the premise and the stories just not necessarily the depth I had hoped for. Still, a good read and basic introduction with engaging stories with helpful explanations. I'm glad he included where to find more fairy tales in the appendix. I'm itching to learn more and read more stories for their own sake.

  • Charlotte Coburn
    2019-05-18 06:13

    While I love that this book takes you on a tour of many classic fairy tales, and some lesser known ones, the authors arguments are loosely held together. Cashdan attempts to organize the tales by sin, and somehow manages to contradict his own statements rather than support them. The book begins by stating common myths about fairy tales, 1, that they are for children, and 2, that they impart some sort of moral lesson. Strangely, the remainder of the book centers around exactly how the fairy tales he has chosen impart moral lessons to children. I was confused by this, and many times I felt his claims were the result of cherry-picking and an obvious disdain for anything in the neighborhood of Freudian psychology. Overall, not bad, but I don't think I'd recommend.

  • Kerri
    2019-04-25 03:15

    This is such an interesting view on fairy tales. I like how Cashdan brings in other opinions on what fairy tales mean and then says why he does or does not agree with them, and in the appendix is a large list of other books to pursue for further study if interested. I mostly agree with Cashdan's analysis, though there were one or two things that just did not sit quite right with me and I am still thinking upon them. He presents himself and his ideas clearly and easily, quoting directly from fairy tales to highlight his point instead of just assuming the reader is familiar enough with each story to follow.

  • Americanogig
    2019-05-08 06:27

    I wanted to like this book more than I did. I appreciated the focus on some of the older, darker fairytales and yes, even I, had not heard of quite of all of them. However, a lot of the psychological underpinnings attached to the tales seemed to be quite a reach. I was hoping for more of a sociological perspective. Why society as a whole needs these things. I think the book would have been stronger had it just focused on the psychological aspect (again, though I disagree with many of the author's conclusions or connections) or the deadly sins aspect and not tried to interweave and incorporate.

  • Megan Beals
    2019-05-10 02:06

    This is an excellent thesis on how we relate to fairy tales in our formative years, and why they have such a hold on us as adults. Cashdan explores a different fairy tale in each chapter and relates it to its central sin (gluttony in Hansel and Gretel, envy in Snow White...), and how those themes are encorperated into our internal ideas of self. It's a very smart, very readable way of looking at fairy tales as they are seen by children. And it gleefully reincorperates tales as they were originally written, and how fairy tales have changed over the years to reflect our ideas of childhood.

  • Andie Froim
    2019-04-24 05:09

    I feel like I learned so much about fairy tales from this book. I've had my fair share of literature courses, and this book was as informative of the best of them - and was enjoyable to read. I probably enjoyed it as much as I would enjoy reading any of the fairy tales the book is about.I love the real stories behind a lot of the cleaned-up, Disney-fied versions of fairy tales that we have today, especially Sleeping Beauty. Who knew! I enjoyed hearing the author's ideas, and I love the interpretations of the stories and the power they have over the children who read them today.

  • Cory Thomas
    2019-04-28 09:06

    An interesting look at fairy tales from the perspective of child developmental psychology. Focus is on internal 'sins' and how children use tales to cope with them. Cashdan can get entrenched in his interpretations and insist on a singular 'use' of any one fairy tale, rather than recognizing it as functioning at multiple depths within a developing mind. Well-structured prose with embedded tales to explore each sub-theme. Case studies distract from book's focus. Accessible writing. Smart, engaging look at fairy tales.

  • Lizzie K
    2019-05-19 09:05

    I really enjoyed reading this book. The author delves into the world of fairy tales and sorts the stories by the sins they contain. The author poses a theory that fairy tales are built to help children deal with their shortcomings and discusses what each type of character means in a story. This book was amusing, had lots of puns, and introduced me to some new fairy tales I had not heard of before along with stories I grew up with. I highly recommend for people who love fairy tales and who want to analyze them.

  • Kendall
    2019-05-09 04:04

    This book goes through all the fairy tales and explains some of the hidden meanings behind them. Whether you take the meaning to heart or not is completely up to the reader. It was intriguing to learn some of these meanings, as well as see the differences from the original stories and the stories we know today through Walt Disney. It will inevitably have you looking at fairy tales in a whole new light, and you will probably never see them the same way again. I enjoyed it though!

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-02 02:24

    Super interesting look at fairy tales and why we 'need' them.. What I like most about it was really that you got read the real versions of the fairy tales and not the disney versions. The real versions are really not that PG, they can be kind of intense. Like the real story of Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty was raped by the prince when she was 'asleep' or under the spell of the witch. Yeah I can't figure out why that didn't make it into the movie.

  • Shelly
    2019-05-08 09:03

    Very interesting exploration of the power of fairy tales, the underlying meaning of the stories and how they can be used to teach children to avoid different vices. The book compares different versions of familiar fairy tales that have been "Disneyfied." The author also introduces some less familiar Russian fairy tales. Some of the theories are a bit out there but they are entertaining none the less!

  • neverwhere
    2019-04-24 03:08

    Fantastic overview of faerie tale motifs, and a perfect starting place for for anyone interested in the psychology of children's literature. Written in a very accessible style, this book covers enough ground to be diverse and interesting, but doesn't weigh itself down with excessive details or confuse the layman with scholarly jargon. Recommended for those wanting a basic introduction to faerie tale criticism that will definitely leave you wanting to know more. :)

  • Chris
    2019-04-24 09:06

    This book was a very interesting analysis of the place fairy tales have in culture. I warn you, it can get rather deep into psychology (simply look at the other books the author has written), but even a layman would, I imagine, get a lot out of it. I was pleased to note that he rejected the Freudian analysis of most stories. Psychoanalysis can get very tedious with regards to hidden meanings and the like, so I enjoyed their absence (for the most part)

  • Tortla
    2019-05-24 03:14

    There were some really insightful bits in here, and Cashdan clearly has a thorough background on fairy tale scholarship and psychology. But I was not entirely convinced by the argument that fairy tales were focused on these "sins," and would occasionally get annoyed by all the references to Cashdan's personal experiences with family members and patients.

  • Annie
    2019-05-21 10:25

    Very pleasant. I remember reading my Blue Fairy book as a little girl and being really frightened by how dark and scary some of these stories were but being unable to stop reading them. I loved the explanation for why we crave scary stories, the defense of Disney and evolution of these stories today. Great book, I'd recommend it to anybody who loves folk tales.

  • Jo
    2019-05-05 05:05

    Excellent blend of psychology and fairy tales. Admittedly two of my passions, however, Cashdan explains and interprets the fairy tales in an easy manner to maximize understanding. Loved how he would compare the actual tale itself with popular interpretations today - think Disney. I would recommend this book to any parent or teacher interested in teaching their child fairy tales.

  • Sue
    2019-05-08 07:07

    I had no idea fairy tales were edited "down" from the adult level, or changed in any way. It is true that, as children, we read a watered-down version and never look back. There were some real surprises here, explained at the collegiate level. I have to say, more than I expected.

  • Munch
    2019-05-13 02:24

    I lent this book to a friend from work and before she could even start it her boyfriend started reading it. He's even got his friends interested in reading it! She has demanded that they get their own copy since she wants the chance at it

  • Stephanie Woody-groshelle
    2019-05-24 08:03

    Very informative collection of the psychology of societies and collective feminine archetypes. I thought the author made an interesting point of the necessity of the female villain. This book was a great source of perspective when I was doing some research for some of my artwork.