15-3-3Why fairy tales are really scary tales

15-3-3Why fairy tales are really scary tales


*Some people think that fairy tales are just stories to amuse children, ==but their universal and enduring appeal may be due to more serious reasons==

  • 但是他们的普遍的和持久的吸引力可能因为更严重的问题


People of every culture tell each other fairy tales but the same story often takes a variety of forms in different parts of the world. In the story of Little Red Riding Hood that European children are familiar with, a young girl on the way to see her grandmother meets a wolf and tells him where she is going. The wolf runs on ahead and disposes of the grandmother, then gets into bed dressed in the grandmother’s clothes to wait for Little Red Riding Hood. You may think you know the story – but which version? In some versions, the wolf ==swallows up== the grandmother, while in others it locks her in a cupboard. In some stories Red Riding Hood ==gets the better of== the wolf on her own, while in others a hunter or a ==woodcutter== hears her cries and comes to her ==rescue==.

  • 不同文化的人互相讲童话故事,但是同一个故事不一定以相同的形式出现.
  • 小红帽的故事.小红帽去探望她外婆的途中遇到了一只狼,她告诉狼她要去哪里,狼就跑到小红帽的前面处理了她的外婆,然后上床穿上外婆的衣服等待小红帽的到来.你可能认为你知道这个故事,但是你所知道的是哪一个版本呢?
  • 在一些版本中, 狼吃了她的外婆,其他的把她的外婆锁到了壁橱中.
  • 在一些故事中,小红帽战胜了大灰狼靠自己,一些故事中靠的是猎人或者伐木工救了她

Little Red Riding hood 小红帽, 带披肩的帽子.

disposes 放置.处理, 安排.倾向于

swallows up吞下

gets the better of胜过战胜


The universal appeal of these tales is frequently attributed to the idea that they contain cautionary messages: in the case of Little Red Riding Hood, to listen to your mother, and avoid talking to strangers. ‘It might be what we find interesting about this story is that it’s got this survival- relevant information in it,’ says anthropologist Jamie Tehrani at Durham University in the UK. But his research suggests otherwise. ‘We have this huge gap in our knowledge about the history and prehistory of storytelling, despite the fact that we know this ==genre== is an incredibly ancient one,’ he says. That hasn’t stopped anthropologists, folklorists* and other academics devising theories to explain the importance of fairy tales in human society. Now Tehrani has found a way to test these ideas, borrowing a technique from evolutionary biologists.

  • 这些童话故事普遍的吸引力可能是因为他们有警示信息. 在小红帽中,听你妈妈的话,避免跟陌生人讲话.
  • "这些故事有趣的原因可能是因为我们可以获取生存相关的信息在故事中"人类学家JT说.
  • 但是他的研究不是那样的.我们的知识和关于所讲故事的历史的知识有很大的差距,尽管我们知道这个体裁是很早很早的一种.
  • 但是这个困难(创作时间太久啦)没有阻止人类学家...等,他们依旧解释了童话故事在人类社会中的重要性.
  • 如今T 发现了一个方式去验证这些观点,==借用进化生物学家的技术==

genre体裁 类型.

incredibly 难以置信地

folklorists 民俗研究者


To work out the evolutionary history, development and relationships among groups of ==organisms==, biologists compare the characteristics of living species in a process called ‘phylogenetic analysis’. Tehrani has used the same approach to compare related versions of fairy tales to discover how they have evolved and which elements have survived longest.

  • 为了弄清生物群体之间的进化历史、发展和关系,生物学家们采用一种叫做“p分析”的方法来比较现存物种的特征。
  • T为了弄清他们是如何发展的以及什么元素持续了这么久.用相同的方式去比较相关版本的童话故事,

organisms 有机体


Tehrani’s analysis focused on Little Red Riding Hood in its many forms, which include another Western fairy tale known as The Wolf and the Kids. Checking for variants of these two tales and similar stories from Africa, East Asia and other regions, he ended up with 58 stories recorded from oral traditions. Once his phylogenetic analysis had established that they were indeed related, he used the same methods to explore how they have developed and altered over time.

  • T的分析集中于小红帽的不同版本.包括其他的西方童话故事<狼和小娃娃>.
  • 核实了不同版本的两个故事,以及从非洲东亚等其他地区找到的类似的故事,他最终以58个故事记录了这些口头流传的故事.
  • 一旦他的P分析确定他们是有关的,他就会使用相同的方式去探索童话故事是如何随着时间发展和改变的

oral 口头的.


First he tested some assumptions about which aspects of the story alter least as it evolves, indicating their importance. Folklorists believe that what happens in a story is more ==central== to the story than the characters in it – that visiting a relative, only to be met by a scary animal in ==disguise==, is more fundamental than whether the visitor is a little girl or three siblings, or the animal is a tiger instead of a wolf.

  • 首先他做了一些假设,关于通话中的哪一部分是变化最小的,以此来显示他的重要.
  • 民俗研究者认为故事中的情节比人物特征更重要.-去拜访亲戚,却遇到了一只伪装的凶狠动物.相比下,无论主人公是小女孩,三个兄弟姐妹,还是用一个恐怖的老虎代替狼与否还是情节更重要,

central 主要的,中心的

only 竟然,不料

disguise 掩饰;假扮


However, Tehrani found no significant difference in the rate of evolution of incidents compared with that of characters. ‘Certain episodes are very stable because they are crucial to the story, but there are lots of other details that can evolve quite freely,’ he says. Neither did his analysis support the theory that the central section of a story is the most conserved part. He found no significant difference in the flexibility of events there compared with the beginning or the end.

  • 然而 T在事件发展速率上和人物变化上没发现明显差异,.一些情节很稳定是因为他们对整个故事至关重要.但是其实还有很多的其他细节可以自由发展的.(他的观点是,不重要的随着时间变化就大,主要的不变即可.)
  • 他的分析也不支持故事的中心是守恒的部分.他发现故事的复杂性和故事的首尾没有明显的差异.

incident 事件

crucial 至关重要的.

conserved 守恒的, 保护的.


But the really big surprise came when he looked at the cautionary elements of the story. ‘Studies on hunter-gatherer folk tales suggest that these narratives include really important information about the environment and the possible dangers that may be faced there – stuff that’s relevant to survival,’ he says. Yet in his analysis such elements were just as flexible as seemingly trivial details. What, then, is important enough to be reproduced from generation to generation?

  • 当他开始注意警告元素的时候,他有了重大发现. 研究采集狩猎故事时,发现这些故事中的叙述都包括很重要的信息---对周围环境和可能会面对的危险,哪些和生存有关的东西.
  • 但是在他研究这些元素的时候,他发现这些元素和琐碎的细节一样多变.那么到底是什么可以重要到代代相传呢.

narratives 叙述

trivial 琐碎的


The answer, it would appear, is fear – blood-thirsty and gruesome aspects of the story, such as the eating of the grandmother by the wolf, turned out to be the best preserved of all. Why are these details retained by generations of storytellers, when other features are not? Tehrani has an idea: ‘In an oral context, a story won’t survive because of one great teller. It also needs to be interesting when it’s told by someone who’s not necessarily a great storyteller.’ Maybe being swallowed whole by a wolf, then cut out of its stomach alive is so ==gripping== that it helps the story remain popular, no matter how badly it’s told.

  • 这个答案要出来了.是恐惧.故事中血性可怕的一面,就像是狼吃外婆的过程,结果是保存最好的.为什么这个细节保存了一代又一代,其他特征却不行呢?
  • T有个观点.在口述中,一个故事不会因为好的讲述者而持久存在.他还需要趣味性,当被一个不是那么好的讲述者陈述时.
  • 可能被狼吞食,然后切开狼的胃存活下来.这是如此的扣人心弦,即使被讲述的很烂.

gripping 扣人心弦的.


Jack Zipes at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, is unconvinced by Tehrani’s views on fairy tales. ‘Even if they’re ==gruesome==, they won’t stick unless they matter,’ he says. He believes the ==perennial theme== of women as victims in stories like Little Red Riding Hood explains why they continue to feel relevant. But Tehrani points out that although this is often the case in Western versions, it is not always true elsewhere. In Chinese and Japanese versions, often known as The Tiger Grandmother, the villain is a woman, and in both Iran and Nigeria, the victim is a boy.

  • JZ不相信T的观点,如果是恐怖那么他们不会联系在一起除非他们很重要.
  • 他认为永恒不变的主题是女人是受害者在故事中.这就解释了为什么他很重要.
  • 但是T 指出 尽管在西方版本中经常是这样,但在其他地方并不总是如此。在中国和日本的版本中,通常被称为虎奶奶,反派是一个女人,而在伊朗和尼日利亚,受害者是一个男孩。

perennial 常年的,多年生的


Mathias Clasen at Aarhus University in Denmark isn’t surprised by Tehrani’s findings. ‘Habits and morals change, but the things that scare us, and the fact that we seek out entertainment that’s designed to scare us – those are constant,’ he says. Clasen believes that scary stories teach us what it feels like to be afraid without having to experience real danger, and so build up resistance to negative emotions.

  • MC对T的研究不感冒:习惯和道德是会改变的,但是哪些让我们感觉恐怖的事情和我们寻找的让我们害怕的事实,都是不变的.
  • 恐怖故事教会我们在没有真正危险的时候感到害怕,从而建立对负面情绪的抵抗能力.