Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekends with Chesterton: Fairy Tales and Castle

Over the last year or so I have gotten hooked on the TV show Castle.  Since there is nothing good to watch on television in the summer I have been catching up on all the shows that I have missed.  I have been hoarding DVDs from our local libraries and watching a show or two each evening.

The stories are entertaining and the acting is well done.  Often there is some sort of lesson to be learned by the main character, Richard Castle.  As a writer, he is interested in the victim’s “story”- why or how the person ended up in the situation that he did.  He has a childlike curiosity about anything new or different.

I recently watch an episode from the fourth season title Once Upon a Crime.  Two women are found dead, once dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the other as Snow White.  Throughout the show Castle, Beckett and other members of the detective unit discuss why people like fairy tales.  
Beckett: Oh, yeah.   They didn't sugarcoat it.   They understood that fairy tales are pretty much horror stories.

Castle: Exactly, which is why we all need them to grapple with the unknown.  Which is why they tap into our primal fears.  Like being alone in the woods, or getting eaten by monsters.

Esposito: They're not horror stories.   They're life lessons.   If you do the right thing, you get to live happily ever after.
 Near the end of the episode there's yet another discussion about fairy tales.  
Beckett: And that's why we need fairy tales, in the face of too much reality, to remind us that happy endings are still possible.
As I was watching the show I wondered if the show’s writer was a GK Chesterton fan.  A lot of what was said sounded much like one of my favorite quotes of his from TremendousTrifles
The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it--because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.


1 comment:

  1. What a lovely quote! We have the last season of Castle on our DVR... we really ought to catch up.