Representation of Disability in Fairy Tales from the Perspective of the Social Model of Disability. A Case Study of Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Oscar Wilde, Charles Perrault, Giovanni Francesco Straparola, and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
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Beginning from the position of disability understood as a social and cultural construct, this paper aims to analyze and compare representations of disability in fairy tales by such authors as the Grimm brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, Oscar Wilde, Charles Perrault, Giovanni Francesco Straparola, and Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Despite the prevalence of disabled characters in many fairy tales, there exists just a handful of articles on disability in fairy tales within the field of disability studies (Schmiesing 2014). Therefore, this study attempts to fill in a knowledge gap in the area of disability studies by looking at disability and characters with disabilities in fairy tales from the perspective of the social model of disability. In this paper I seek to explore variations in the way different authors describe disability/sickness/deformity and to discuss such subjects related to the area of disability studies as overcoming disability and the question of cure (understood, in the context of fairy tales, as a supernatural restoration to the able-bodied state). In addition, I attempt to see if there exist any differences in how sick/disabled/deformed fairy tales characters are portrayed depending on their gender.
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