Fairy Tales and Stepmothers: the Extended Families in a legal Perspective

Alessandra Cordiano


The work aims to analyse the theme of the stepmothers, as they are traditionally portrayed in classic fairy tales: fairy tales often delineate caricatures and stereotypes; other times, instead, on the allegorical plane they propose archetypal figures, such as those in parental roles and, particularly, in the clear-cut opposition between mothers and stepmothers. This opposition of roles, which metaphorically opposes biological mother and social mother, is based in the supremacy of biological derivation and finds in consanguinity the presupposition of the bond. This feature is not translated only into the social representation of the phenomenon, but also extends to the use of more or less connoted language and, furthermore, it is found in different regulations and legal systems: in contemporary extended families, the two female figures coexist, perpetuating, in archetypal thought, the opposition of roles, of good and evil, in ways that do not occur with the paternal line, making it more difficult to delimit the confines of the role, also from the legal point of view.


family law; stepparent; adoption

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13136/isr.v5i3.116

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