Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

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English; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Kalenda Eaton


This paper explores how Marxism, particularly the teachings of Karl Marx, are echoed in lesser-known Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales. I will focus on “The Maiden without Hands,” “The Juniper Tree,” and “The Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear.” My overall argument is that within the mystical world the Grimm Brothers create in their legendary fairy tales, components of Marxism exist and are purposefully written into the stories. As seen through the eyes of both Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, the society existing within the fairy tales are commodity based. The “monsters” are seen as the laborers who must comply with the wishes of the higher socio-economic class (e.g. royals within the society), and damsels function as objects that must be exchanged in order to keep society moving forward. I explore the push and pull between moral and logical reasons for accepting and rejecting capitalistic practices in society. Through the voices of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, as well as others such as Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, we can see how class is structured, and how an individual’s socio-economic position within society can help or hurt them in the future.