MU KPB 011 The Arthur Rackham Fairy Book 0295

Hansel and Gretel encapsulates a number of rules. The most prominent rule, and perhaps the most foundational to society, relates to respect for authority. In the story, Hansel and Gretel cannot conceive of the possibility of challenging their parents’ authority. The rule implied was that authority, be it held by parents in the household, the lawmakers in civil society, or God, was not to be challenged. Society was built on that balance, and many other social rules are derived from that basic assumption. Still, nowadays, what siblings would follow their parents to a certain death without challenging their authority?

Hansel and Gretel. (Pen and watercolor on paper). Steel, F.A.W., & Rackham, A. (1918) English fairy tales. Macmillan & Co. Maastricht University Special Collections. Call Number: MU KPB 010