Crimson ichor still dripped from the eviscerated form of the young woman: not a sentence many would expect in a fairy tale intended for children. This scene described above, however, would not be out of place as a description of Bluebeard’s secret room. Many a parent would balk at the idea of having this story, where the corpses are piled seven high, exist in a children’s book today and would certainly not have it be read by their kids. However, I would argue that this Perrault classic deserves its place in children’s book and base my arguments upon two aspects: the first is that the story is beautifully written and moralistic and the second is that it hardly upsets modern sensibilities.
My first argument relies upon the story’s beauty while presenting a dark world that children must come to terms with. Perrault writing of “Bluebeard” is both quick paced and gripping. The reader is left on the edge of their seat with curiosity over “that little closet, which I forbid you [from entering]” and cannot help but wish that, despite Bluebeard’s dire proclamation that should his wife open it that “[she] may expect from my just anger and resentment”, she open the door. Once the wife reveals the gruesome mystery, the reader will wish for the wife to both survive and wreak vengeance upon Bluebeard. Thus, Perrault’s ability to draw the reader in and care greatly commends itself as a book for children. That the reader, aware of dark secrets, reacts, wanting the evil Bluebeard to be struck down reveals the great continuing need of children for morality. Even though evil may be hidden and wreak havoc, the forces for good triumphs in the end. This important example must remain.
My second argument rails against the idea that children shouldn’t be exposed to such a “dark” story. News station continuously discuss horrific events occurring throughout the world, movies and video games, both inherently more graphic mediums, focus on death, killing, and blood.
In the midst of all these virtual bombardments of gore, can anyone say that a dark story will be the one thing that scars a child? A story that, contrary to most tales children will hear on the news, ends on a happy note. The answer is a resounding no. Perrault’s masterpiece must remain and continue to intrigue, teach, and be appreciated by people of all ages. Furthermore, as the story tells us, why should we forbid it from the children? They will only end up wanting to read it all the more.