The Involvement that the Brothers Grimm Had in Developing the German Nationalism and Social Culture at the Beginning of the 19th Century

The Involvement that the Brothers Grimm Had in Developing the German Nationalism and Social Culture at the Beginning of the 19th Century

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One of the ideologies that started to emerge in the German states during the early nineteenth century was the concept of nationalism. The idea of being loyal to one country and having a cultural pride that makes ones country better than the others. Two brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, well educated, and respected scholars, helped develop this ideology by gathering folk tales from the different regions in order to help unify Germany and to implement its values amongst its readers. Their stories became well known across the German states because of how relatable they were to the majority of the middle and working classes, and how similar the stories were for every tribe. Not to mention that the children's tales helped teach basic values and gender-specific behaviour by scaring them with stories that does not have happy endings for the bad characters. There are also arguments that Jacob and Wilhelm's stories influenced women's behaviour as well with stories of beautiful girls who behave and are rewarded with a happy ending. By Gathering all of these tales from across the land, the Brothers Grimm Influenced the behaviour and the nationalistic ideals at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Before going into what they influenced, it will be easier to see what motivated the Brothers Grimm to write all of these tales. Jacob and Wilhelm were the oldest of six children born unto Dorothea, the daughter of a councilman in Kassel, and Philipp Wilhelm Grimm, and ambitious lawyer and later a district judge in Steinau. (Zipes, my book) Growing up they were part of the wealthier middle-class who lived in a large home with a few servants.(zipes, my book) This made them familiar with the social requirements within that class that would late...


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...nes are generally portrayed as domestic figures or figures who need domestication…" While "… men are expected to become socially useful and fight for their goals." This contrast in traits encourages women to stay in the background while their male counterparts become proactive members of society. Another author, Bottigheimer demonstrates how the Grimms would slightly twist the words that "…weakened once strong female characters, demonized female power, imposed a male perspective on stories voicing women's discontents, and rendered heroines powerless…" The explanation that was found for the gender biased contexts was because of "…Wilhelm’s increasing reliance on misogynistic folk tales from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries." so when they were published, they had a different tone that demonstrated more of the peasant values rather than those of the bourgeois.

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