Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Writing and publishing literature for children and young adults has become a rhizomorphic entity. There are thousands of books published each year. When you compare that to the little over two hundred stories Perrault and the Grimm brothers recorded you can see how the market has substantially grown. With the use of literature as a teaching tool it is imperative we keep a close watch on trends. This study was designed to look at the changes from fairy tales to contemporary fiction in order to ascertain what changes have taken place in three particular areas: has the gender of the antagonist changed from female to male, has the presence changed from a physical to amorphous entity, has the scope of the goal or motivating factor changed?

A form of research called grounded theory was used in comparing the two timeframes of literature. Using open coding, categories and concepts emerged from the texts. Then using the categories and concepts the stories were then sorted looking at commonalities. During the stage of sorting, the results were recorded in an electronic journal and then in an organizational chart. The results between fairy tales and contemporary fiction were then compared. Twenty-six fairy tales by Perrault and Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm were analyzed along with twenty-five contemporary fiction books within the fantasy genre.

There was an assumption that the contemporary fiction has a predominance of male antagonists as opposed to female in the fairy tales. The research supported the gender change. The assumption that modern fiction contained more amorphous evil entities than physical ones was not supported. Although there were a few amorphous evil portrayals the majority were physical. The scope of the goals changing from personal to worldly was supported in that all of the fairy tales were personal and the majority of the contemporary goals were for world domination.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of School Library Studies

First Advisor

Barbara Safford


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 66 pages)