These Fractured Fairy Tales Help Students Understand Setting


In the world of literature, fractured fairy tales have carved their own distinct niche. These stories take well-known and classic fairy tales and spin them into an entirely new, engaging, and educational experience. One of the many benefits of using fractured fairy tales in the classroom is to help students understand the concept of setting. This article will explore how these unique narratives are used as a tool to enhance students’ understanding of setting in literature.

The Role of Setting in Literature

Setting is a crucial element of any narrative, as it establishes the context that shapes the story’s characters, events, and themes. Beyond simply providing a backdrop for the story, a well-crafted setting can draw readers into the narrative, create mood and atmosphere, and even become a character in its own right. By analyzing the settings of various fractured fairy tales, students can develop a deeper understanding of this significant literary element.

Introducing Fractured Fairy Tales

Fractured fairy tales are unique interpretations or variations of existing fairy tales that alter some aspects such as character roles, plotlines, settings, or timeframes. Common examples include stories that change the protagonist’s perspective or gender or introduce modern-day elements into classic storylines.

Using Fractured Fairy Tales to Teach Setting

One effective way to teach students about setting using fractured fairy tales is by creating a comparison between the original story’s setting and the modified version. This method highlights how altering the setting can influence characters and events within a storyline.

For example, “The True Story of The Three Little Pigs” by Jon Scieszka is an engaging fractured version of the classic tale that shifts the perspective from the pigs to the wolf. By studying both stories’ settings alongside each other – the traditional rural landscape versus Alexander T. Wolf’s domestic environment – students can better grasp how different settings impact characters’ motivations and actions.

Discussing Multiple Settings

Some fractured fairy tales offer opportunities for students to explore multiple settings within a single narrative. This allows learners to see how different environments contribute to unique plot developments and character relationships.

A prime example is “Bubba the Cowboy Prince” by Helen Ketteman, a western twist on the Cinderella story. With the tale’s transformation from a magical kingdom to a Texan ranch, students can examine how this setting change adds new dimensions to character portrayals, such as Bubba’s rugged lifestyle and the feisty Fairy Godcow.

Creating Fractured Fairy Tales

To reinforce students’ comprehension of setting, encourage them to create their own fractured fairy tales using familiar stories. This creative process will enable them to make conscious choices about setting and observe firsthand the effects that different environments have on their narratives.


Incorporating fractured fairy tales into your literature curriculum is an effective way to engage students in exploring the concept of setting. By offering unique variations of well-known stories and challenging students to create their own adaptations, you can enhance their appreciation for this crucial literary element and foster deeper connections with the characters and plots they encounter in their reading.

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