Lehman College Lincoln Center Institute


The Witch Must Die: How Fairy Tales Shape Our Lives



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The Witch Must Die: How Fairy Tales Shape Our Lives


Basic Books 1999

GR 550 .C39 1999

Anyone familiar with the psychoanalytic interpretations of fairy tales in Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (CH Oct’76) will want to read Cashdan’s study. Rather than crises of psychosexual development, the tales are primarily about the “seven deadly sins of childhood,” i.e., vanity, gluttony, envy, lust, deceit, greed and sloth. Young children commonly face these issues and can learn from the tales something about how to deal with them. Witches and evil stepmothers represent a splitting off of the negative aspects of the self; the hero or heroine represents the self’s good aspects. The lesson is that one must resist the destructive, self-serving impulses. The witch must die so one’s good self will be able to live happily ever after.

Cecil, Nancy Lee





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