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ENGLISH 3F03 The Fairy Tale (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Iris Bruce


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 502

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24697

Office Hours: Wednesday 11:30-1:20; or by appointment

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course students will have learned about the ideological implications of earlier folktales and children’s literature for our understanding of modern children’s narratives.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


Required Texts:
These are available at Titles, the university bookstore.


The Arabian Nights. Volume I: The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand and One Nights. Ed. Jack Zipes, Signet Classics

Bonsels, Waldemar. The Adventures of Maya the Bee

Ende, Michael. The Neverending Story, Penguin

Hoffmann, Heinrich. Struwwelpeter in English Translation, Dover Publications

Hoffmann, Slovenly Betsy, Create Space

Grossman, David. The Zig Zag Kid , Picador

Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Longstocking, Penguin

Saint-Exupéry, Antoine. The Little Prince, Harvest Books

Salten, Felix. Bambi , Aladdin

Folk & Fairy Tales. Eds. Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, Broadview Press, 5th edition

Courseware: The Fairy Tale


Films will include The Never-Ending Story, The Company of Wolves, Snow White: A Tale of Terror. Excepts will be shown from The Little Mermaid (Walt Disney), Cinderella (Disney, Rodgers & Hammerstein), Bambi (Disney), Pippi Longstocking.

Method of Assessment:

Assignments and Evaluations: (Due Dates)

Test (multiple choice): 20% (Feb 4)

Essay: 30% (2000 words, due March 18)

Final Exam: 50% (scheduled by Registrar’s Office)

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Written Work and Late Submissions:

Late work will be penalized: there will be a reduction of 3% per day on essays handed in late without permission, and they will receive no extensive commentary.    


Late Assignment Policy:

All essays are due either in class or electronically by the end of the day on the assigned date. 

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:




The discussion of certain texts may flow over to the following class.


January 7: Classes begin; introduction

January 9: Arabian Nights, “The Story of King Shahryar and His Brother,” 1-22

January 10: Arabian Nights, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” 105-135

January 14: Arabian Nights, “Alladin and the Magic Lamp,” 136-222 & “Conclusion,” 583

January 16: Guest lecture: Dr. Emily West

January 17: Rapunzel: Basile, “Petrosinella” (courseware); Grimm, “Rapunzel” (Folk and Fairy Tales 108-10); Schulz, “Rapunzel” (courseware)

January 21: Cinderella in Film and Fiction: Perrault, “Cinderella” (Folk and Fairy Tales 43-48), Grimm, “Ashputtle” (Folk and Fairy Tales 48-53) or Grimm, “Cinderella” (courseware); film excerpt

January 23: Cinderella stories (Folk and Fairy Tales 53-62); film excerpts

January 24: Cinderella stories (Folk and Fairy Tales 73-75); film excerpts

January 28: Lee, “When the Clock Strikes” & Maitland, “The Wicked Stepmother’s Lament” (Folk and Fairy Tales 266-83)

January 30: The Bridegroom as Beast: Beaumont, “The Beauty and the Beast” (Folk and Fairy Tales 128-38); film excerpt

January 31: Grimm, “The Frog King” (Folk and Fairy Tales 110-13); Asbjornsen and Moe, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” (Folk and Fairy Tales 138-45)



February 6: Mermaids, Mermen & Treacherous Water Nymphs: Grimm, “Nixie in the Pond” (courseware), Andersen, “The Little Mermaid” (Folk and Fairy Tales 146-62)

February 7: Disney, “The Little Mermaid” film excerpts; Yolen, “The Lady and the Merman” (courseware); Waddell, “The Woman of the Sea” (Folk and Fairy Tales 162-64)

February 11: Of Little Men, and Dangerous Wolves: Grimm, “Rumpelstiltskin” (Folk and Fairy Tales 208-10); “Snow White” (Folk and Fairy Tales 101-7)

February 13: film: Snow White: A Tale of Horror

February 14: film: Snow White: A Tale of Horror

February 18-24: MID TERM RECESS

February 25: Delarue & Perrault, “Little Red Riding Hood” (Folk and Fairy Tales 28-30; 32-34); Grimm, “Little Red Cap” (Folk and Fairy Tales 34-36), Calvino, “The False Grandmother” (Folk and Fairy Tales 30-32)

February 27: Carter, The Company of Wolves (Folk and Fairy Tales 47-55)

February 28: film: The Company of Wolves


March 4: Hoffmann, Struwwelpeter; Slovenly Betsy

March 6: Animal & Child Heroes: Anderson, “The Ugly Duckling” (Folk and Fairy Tales 118-25); Anderson, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” (Folk and Fairy Tales 173-76)

March 7: Bonsels, The Adventures of Maya the Bee

March 11: Maya the Bee; Salten, Bambi

March 13: Salten, Bambi & film excerpt

March 14: Bambi & Disney

March 18: Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince; ESSAY DUE

March 20: Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

March 21: Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking

March 25: Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking & film: Pippi

March 27: Grossman, The Zig Zag Kid

March 28: Grossman, The Zig Zag Kid


April 1: Ende, The Neverending Story

April 3: Ende, The Neverending Story

April 4: film Ende, The Neverending Story


April 11-29: Final Examination Period


Other Course Information:

Course Description:

The course will examine fairy tales and novels for children and adults from a variety of cultures. Beginning with the Arabian Nights, we will discuss tales preceding the Grimm Brothers’ collections, tales from European Romanticism, as well as twentieth century children’s literature and (parodic) rewritings of traditional fairy tales. In chronological order we will focus on particular motifs: Cinderella in Film and Fiction, The Bridegroom as Beast, Mermaids and Treacherous Water Nymphs, Of Little Men and Dangerous Wolves, Political and Feminist Tales, Animal and Child Heroes. We will place the later novels within their specific cultural/historical contexts and genres, and use films to provoke critical readings (feminist, psychological, political).