Jack and the Beanstalk Essay

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"Jack and the Beanstalk" is an example of a Buildungsroman. As the tale progresses, Jack evolves from an immature person into a mature, self-assertive person. While minor differences exist in various versions of the tale, such as those between Joseph Jacobs' and Horace Elisha Scudder's versions, the tale can always be read as Jack's quest for maturity. Some critics, however, analyze the tale as one in which Jack remains spoiled and immature. While they make points which support their claims, careful analysis of the tale will reveal that Jack's struggle to grow up and to achieve maturity is representative of the difficult process of adolescent (especially male) maturation and the process of adolescent socialization. Some critics, as previously stated, maintain that Jack does not mature or learn any lesson during the tale. For example, Nell B. Byers writes that Jack is "a fellow who makes what would not be thought of as a prudent investment; who is not above trickery in outwitting the giant's wife; who steals the gi... ... middle of paper ... ...ook of Giants. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1968. Scudder, Horace Elisha. "Jack and the Beanstalk." The Children's Hour: Folk Stories and Fables. Ed. Eva March Tappen. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1907. 23-33. Utley, Francis Lee. Introduction. Once Upon a Time: On the Nature of Fairy Tales. By Max Luthi. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1970. 14-15. Wolfenstein, Martha. "Jack and the Beanstalk: An American Version." In Childhood in Contemporary Cultures. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955.

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