Lack of Mothers in Fairy Tales

Cinderella, Snow White, Belle. These are just a few of the heroines from traditional fairy tales that lack a maternal figure. Most often, the mother is deceased and the heroine must navigate the world without her guidance. What is the significance of this maternal absence? How has the lack of a loving, nurturing mother in traditional fairy tales enabled the story to progress? Or has the lack of maternal figure hindered the development of the heroine?

  • This would actually be a really fascinating topic. I have often wondered about the meaning behind maternal figures in fairy tales and their significance in real life, both throughout history and today. The literary analysis of this character attribute can be discussed in much detail. – SophIsticated 7 years ago
  • It also seems that the only time an older female exists in a traditional fairy tale is when they are an antagonist, such as "the evil stepmother" or "wicked witch" trope. Maybe this is pointing to the fact that at the time the tales were written, youth, beauty, and innocence was more desirable in woman, and championed as marks of a 'good' woman, as opposed to old age and life experience, which automatically made you 'evil', if you were a woman. – Yanni 7 years ago
  • This is such a great topic! I've been wondering this for a while and especially as of late what with all the new adaptations of classic fairytales :) – ChloeB 7 years ago
  • This is such an interesting idea! Maybe that the heroine and theoretical strong mother figure would conflict? – tarawesson 7 years ago
  • This is a really interesting idea! There's an article in the Atlantic about absent mothers in cartoons, so it seems like a very prevalent trope! – RachelFieldhouse 7 years ago
  • Great idea! I think this issue really needs to be explored. It is present in super-heros and other modern fairy-tales, too. – Jeff MacLeod 7 years ago

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