AS TEARS GO BY: MOTIFS OF AFFECT IN FAIRY TALES‏

Laura Virginia Sández

 

Abstract

 

This work is concerned with how motifs of affect mediating recognition outline the type of agency presented in fairy tales. Since the rise of the fairy tale coincides with the rise of the bourgeois public sphere (Zipes 40), I employ the theoretical framework of commodity and value to analyze recognition in fairy tales classified as AT 923. In this type of folk tales, the king expels his youngest and prettiest daughter from his reign. The reason for the expulsion is that when asked how much she loves the king, she answers with some sort of analogy pertaining to salt. I take recognition in the fairy tale to mean both identification of a lost subject (the heroine that went away) and the act of assigning a status or value to a subject or its opinions (the wisdom of the heroine). Different variants of fairy tales type AT 923 show that recognition in “The Goose Girl at the Spring” has passed from being mediated by one element of high use-value (salt) to another with high exchange-value (pearls). In this work I consider the textual function of motifs vis-à-vis the social value of emotions, in order to analyze the motifs of affect that mediate recognition.

 

Keywords

 

Affect theory, agency, value, “The Goose Girl at the Spring”, fairy tales, recognition.

 

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