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Abstract

In the wake of current events such as COVID-19, the current state of police brutality, and the struggle for civil rights across the globe, the pursuit of art functions as an outlet for many people trying to make sense of the problems facing society. Building from each of their own experiences, contributors to this project have attempted to recontextualize elements of their own lives and current events in the form of modern fairytales with inspiration, particularly coming from the Russian tradition. The collection we present here was completed in part to fulfill the requirements of the course LLEA 353: Russian Fairy Tales. In lieu of a final exam, students in LLEA 353 were each assigned to write and present their own story inspired by the fairy tales of various traditions that were read and studied in the course. In sharing our stories, verbally engaging with each other's creative works just as historical storytellers did in developing the most beloved traditional European fairy tales, we realized how commonalities in our works brought us together. In analysing these stories, we engaged in discussions about politics, societal norms, and history. Some tales presented here explicitly critique or comment on our modern world, while some others seek to more broadly entertain the reader in a time of uncertainty. While, like all creative works, messages behind our stories are open to the reader’s interpretation, we hope that the common thread that has weaved them together is a self-evident aspect of this compilation. Without the encouragement of Dr. Anastasia Kostetskaya and the Russian program as a whole, this work would not have been possible, and it stands as a testament to the initiative instructors can inspire in their students. We only hope that we’ll be able to inspire you as much. --- In writing this story, I strove to retain the simplistic charm of the classic fairytale by keeping the structure of the story itself similar to what is found in the traditional fairy tales, both those that I grew up with and those that were read and discussed in LLEA 353. I was particularly inspired by the elements of repetition and the growth of the protagonist through a journey. Within this framework, however, I tried to integrate the theme of emotional independence that is absent from many traditional tales for children, especially those that are aimed at young girls.

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