Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a compilation of folktales with analysis and commentary added. I read it when I was about nine years of age because I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to. It had fairy tales, so it was age-appropriate, wasn’t it?
In any case, that was when and how I caught the idea that, in fairy tales, the main character’s parents tend to be dead before the call to adventure if they aren’t going to be antagonists in the story. This wasn’t a realistic representation of reality: niceness isn’t fatal. This wasn’t a moral demonstration. If it was an artistic choice on the part of the teller and retailers, then the cliche would eventually be enough to put audiences off…wouldn’t it?
The prevalence of this trope, as Estes explained, was in its symbolic value: that of the turning point of self-actualisation, when a person realises that their value system is different than their parents’. Stories represent this shift through the death of the good-and-perfect parent, and often the introduction of the wicked step-parent. In some extradiegetic life, supposedly, they are the same person or the same idea of authority figure, but the psyche of their child tends to make some distinction or else acknowledges the shift through understanding the event of an in-story death.
How, then, would an extradiegetic death be symbolised?
It could be by some grand natural disaster that ends all existence or life as we know it. Or it could be by the fall of a single leaf. Death could even, confusingly, be symbolised by death.
So goes the transfer between the corporeal world and the otherworld.
The nature of any given focal point in the otherworld, too, is (from what I’ve observed) not only mutable but multi-dimensional. How the word “fae” can retain its meaning when applied to all of the following: to the powers of order, to the powers of disorder and madness, to the liminal beings interacting with humanity, to personifications of non-people entities, to people on the other side of some insular idea of people that somehow still remain people but in some other reality, to beings who speak in a language like the sound of bells and that were born of the laughter of newborn humans, and to miniature humans that grow out of flowers and have butterfly wings, to corporeal human beings who claim bloodline or inner nature that is fae…is a mystery that I can respect.
I don’t know what I’m doing. I can’t know what I’m doing, unless I’m doing it wrong. I find out by doing, translations, transliterations, interpretation, creation, and all the warp and weft of fabrication.