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A Childs Need for Music

             In Bruno Bettelheim's, "A Child's Need for Magic", the reader is torn between the desire for childhood innocence and values and the "adult", rational viewpoint that we now all hold. Bettelheim explains how fairy tales are how children relate to life and human nature, and he explains that "A child trusts what the fairy story tells him, because its world view accords with his own." He points out that nothing is too fantastic for a child to believe, especially when shown to him through a fairy tale. To a child, anything can be living and there is no way to distinguish the difference between ordinary objects and living things. Because in fairy tales, as Bettelheim points out, animals and objects can talk to humans, a child does not understand why they cannot in real life. The child will be convinced that animals can speak and understand, just as the child does. There is no sharp line drawn between reality and fantasy. Bettelheim also points out that while a child believes in fairy tales and all of their fantastic ideas, he is quick to agree with an adults explanation of the situation. Bettelheim explains that parents and teachers may offer a child a rational explanation of an event and the child will agree in order to please and not be ridiculed, "deep down the child knows better.".
             Bettelheim also says that fairy tales may provide that answers to the questions of self identity and the world around the child, which the child becomes aware of as he hears the stories. Adults view the answers provided by the fairy tales as fantastic and unrealistic, rather than the truth as the child may see it. Although adults may not like exposing a child to "false" information, they must remember that they too, at one point in their lives, believed in the truth of fairy tales. Children will "parrot" information told to them by adults because they believe it must be true, because an adult said it was.

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