The Brothers Grimms: From Brothers Who Worked Together to Collect Tales to Brothers Who Work Together to Terrorize People

In light of the recent bombings in Boston, I’ve chosen to dedicate this post to discuss the collaborations of the two brothers suspected to be behind the bombings in comparison to the collaborations of the brothers Grimm.

Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm (the brothers Grimm) were forced to grow up and take on adult responsibility at a very young age. The two siblings, born and raised in Germany, were the eldest in a family of  six. Philipp Grimm died unexpectedly of pneumonia when the boys were 11 and 10 years of age. The entire family found themselves facing economic difficulties afterwards and depended on their extended family for support. Wilhelm and Jacob immediately took charge of the family as the two eldest men in the household.

If taking on the responsibilities of their father at such a young age weren’t challenging enough, the two brothers also faced harsh discrimination from the prestigious school they attended due to their difference in economic status from fellow peers. The boys, who were very studious and intelligent, managed to graduate at the head of their classes despite the odds.They went on to attend and graduate college, which is where their passion for German culture and the folklore that came with it was ignited.

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From thereon out, the brothers chose to collect tales from housewives and working women and publish them into a series of books. They wanted to be sure to reconnect the general public to their roots and culture through these tales to reinforce a strong sense of patriotism and cultural pride in their readers, namely children.

Despite the hardships and obstacles that were placed in their way, Wilhelm and Jacob chose to work harder and reach their goals and dreams rather than wither away in self pity and anger. They also chose to combine their genius and collaboratively create publications of tales that are still part of popular culture all around the world today.

Unfortunately, genius siblings today have put their intelligence to bad use. Case-in-point, the two brothers who are suspected of having bombed the Boston marathon on April 15, 2013, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Though little is known of the two brothers’ familial background, it has been made clear that, like the Grimms, they excelled intellectually and in extracurriculars despite their hardships.

The Tsarnaev brothers were not native to the United States. Both were of Chechnyan descent but fled to the U.S. with their family in 2002. Their native Chechnya was war-racked and the family was unable to resettle in the country. Coming from a war-torn country and suddenly being thrust into an entirely different culture in the United States, the two brothers faced the hardships of being immigrants trying to make their way in a foreign country. Both, however, managed to make great achievements. The eldest of the two, Tamerlan, was a boxing champion. He expressed interest in joining the U.S. Olympics boxing team. Dzhokhar was attending university in Massachusetts and described by his classmates as having been a funny, athletic and smart man.

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Although nothing has been confirmed yet, the two suspects have been tied to the bombings in the Boston marathon, where they are suspected of having placed a bombs near the finish line, killing three and injuring over 100 people. Tamerlan was killed during a shoot out with police while Dzhokhar was found severely injured and in critical condition recently and is being treated. It is believed that the eldest of the two brothers was an Islamic extremist.

If the suspects are truly the terrorists behind the bombings, then the world will have seen sibling intelligence put together to harm rather than help people. They may have ultimately been similar to the brothers Grimm in personalities (one of the brothers Grimm was more outgoing while the other was an introvert; Dzhokhar was considered more social and outgoing by friends and family while Tamerlan was considered a loner) and intellect, yet they chose to work together to hurt people at a large scale rather than inform them and culturally influence them like the two writers did.

Unfortunately, this is the world we all live in today.

 

 

 

How Some Children Played at Slaughtering: From Creepy Tale to RPG-like Murders

People often smile at the sight of children at play. In the Grimm’s tale, “How Some Children Played at Slaughtering”, that includes watching children murder children.

In one of the most twisted tales in their collection, this story is told as two separate tales; both, however, involve children, man-slaughter, and poor choices. The tale’s first part begins with a councilman witnessing a group of children playing butcher. One child played the actual butcher, one was the cook, another was an assistant, and one played the pig. The boy playing butcher proceeded to actually slit the boy pig’s throat and the assistant caught his blood in a bowl.

The councilman takes the butcher to the mayor’s house, who immediately summons a council. One of the councilmen, supposedly the wisest, advises to the chief judge a clever way of determining the boy’s guilt or innocence. He suggests for the boy to be offered two choices: a red apple and a Rhenish gulden (a gold coin). If the boy were to choose the red apple, he was to be set free without a punishment for the murder; if he chose the Rhenish gulden, he was to be killed (it’s amazing how the justice system has radically changed since then). When offered these two items, the boy took the apple with a laugh, and so he was set free. The moral of the story seems to be that if you’re a child, you can get away with murder as long as you know how to play the innocent.

The second part of the tale has a similar incident, except the three children playing slaughter are all siblings. The children’s mother sees one of her sons slit his little brother’s throat while bathing another child, takes the knife out of her younger child’s throat and stabs the heart of the boy who played butcher out of anger. When she goes back to the child she was bathing, she comes to find the child has drowned in the tub. She becomes so scared and desperate that she hangs herself, and her husband dies soon afterward. The moral of this tale still remains unclear.

Both parts of the this tale seem to offer the idea that children will imitate what they see. Somehow, in recent acts of violence committed by children and young adults, this form of reasoning is still used to attempt to explain such crimes. Video games and violent movies are often targets of blame by adults for the influence it has on young minds. Although this may seem a far stretch to many, it’s a noteworthy source to examine when reviewing mass crimes of murder that have occurred in the past few decades among young people. One murderer who made skeptics of this claim do a double take was Anders Breivik.

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For those who don’t remember, Anders Breivik was the mass murderer who killed 77 people, mostly teenagers, in Norway back in 2011. He dressed up as an officer after bombing a government building and slaughtered a multitude of teens at a sleep-away camp in Oslo. The ultranationalist right wing extremist admitted that he was a hardcore World of Warcraft player and fan, and that the game influenced his approach to his crimes. Breivik also stated that Call of Duty, another rpg, helped him hone his sharp-shooting skills before his shooting rampage in Oslo.

Although Breivik isn’t a child, many of those who play games such as Call of Duty are indeed children. If the violent video games managed to have such an incredible influence on a grown man, it’s frightening to think of  what effect it would have on the mind of impressionable young children. If tales like that of the Brothers Grimm isn’t enough of a warning, the number of gun crimes by minors and young adults since the rising popularity of shooting RPGs should be. The killings in Columbine, Colorado and most recently Sandy Hook Elementary, both committed by young men, were executed in a manner reminiscent of the shooting scenes in a lot of these violent video games and films. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the two teens who massacred 12 people during the Columbine High School shooting, were avid violent-video game players. Adam Lanza, the 20-year old man who killed a multitude of young school children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut was also known to have spent hours playing Call of Duty.

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Clearly, the children in the Brothers Grimm’s tale have been replaced by gamers playing violent RPGs, but ultimately the tale remains the same; children kill other children while playing out what they see. Nowadays, children see violence all around them, whether it is on the news, in movies, or in the very video games they play in their recreational time. Somehow, the influence that witnessing violence has on children is still the same today. Perhaps it’d be wise to heed the warning set by the tale.