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Approaches to what exactly a fairy tale should accomplish and how it accomplishes it are varied. Nevertheless, however diverse the conclusions of different fairy-tale genre studies may be, they all come to a similar result: a fairy tale is a representation of cultural perspective and understanding that acts as an important socialization tool, whether it teaches its audience how to understand and mitigate basic fears and human functions or reinforces an existing moral and social structure. Maria Tatar, a contemporary folktale and fairy tale scholar, writes that the "staying power" of fairy tales "suggests that they must be addressing issues that have a significant social function" (xi). Tatar also goes on to write that "fairy tales ... develop maps for coping with personal anxieties, family conflicts, social frictions, and the myriad frustrations of everyday life" (xi). In other words, fairy tales at once confront prominent sociocultural issues while simultaneously performing a didactic function for how to contend with the reality of these issues.


International and Area Studies