THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT
"Brother and Sister"
UNIFYING OUR DUAL NATURE
moment fills our entire existence. Becoming aware that he feels two
ways about something at the same time-for example, when the child
wants to grab the cookie, but also wants to obey Mother's order not
to-confuses the child. Understanding this duality requires a cogni-
zance of inner processes which is greatly facilitated by fairy tales
illustrating our dual nature.
Such fairy tales begin with an original lack of differentiation be-
tween the two siblings: they live together and feel alike; in short, they
are inseparable. But then, at a certain moment in growing up, one of
them begins an animal existence, and the other does not. At the end
of the tale the animal is changed back into his human form; the two
are reunited, never to be separated again. This is the fairy tale's
symbolic way of rendering the essentials of human personality devel-
opment: the child's personality is at first undifferentiated; then id, ego,
and superego develop out of the undifferentiated stage. In a process
of maturation these must be integrated, despite opposite pulls.
In the Brothers Grimm's story "Brother and Sister," "Little brother
took his little sister by the hand and said
... 'Come, we will go forth
together out into the wide world' " to escape from a home which had
become a depriving one. "They walked the whole day over meadows,
fields and rocky expanses; and when it rained, little sister said:
'Heaven and our hearts are weeping together.' "
Here, as in many fairy tales,
pushed out of the home stands
for having to become oneself. Self-realization requires leaving the
orbit of the home, an excruciatingly painful experience fraught with
many psychological dangers. This developmental process is inescap-
able; the pain of it is symbolized by the children's unhappiness about
being forced to leave home. The psychological risks in the process, as
always in fairy stories, are represented by the dangers the hero en-
counters on his travels. In this story the brother represents the endan-
gered aspect of an essentially inseparable unity, and the sister, as
symbol of motherly care once one has become alienated from home,
is the rescuer.
The fairy tale leaves no doubt in the child's mind that the pain must
be endured and the risky chances taken, since one must achieve one's