Comparing Classic Cinderella to Disney's Cinderella

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Karyn Eck
English 102-1025
M. Barros
Final Draft Disney Predecessors
February 17, 2013
Classic vs. Modern
Cinderella is a classic fairytale most little girls look up to and dream about. They watch the story of Cinderella enduring hardship and cruelty then wind up with her Prince in the end. These young girls fantasize and wish for their life to be exactly like Cinderella’s story. Children most often don’t grow up reading this original fairytale from a book, they only watch the Walt Disney version and know of nothing else. So it is expected to think that they would grow up and never know that there was a different tale of Cinderella that had been told. Present day shows that this original fairytale is becoming more and more known though. So, it would be safe to say that the number of people who know of the original fairytale by their adulthood, is about to go up.

The original fairytale of Cinderella, written by Charles Perrault, has many differences than Walt Disney’s version, but there are also many similarities. One of the first noticeable differences in the beginning was that in the book Cinderella’s father does not die, and is indeed still alive throughout the story. Although he is not mentioned after the beginning, it is known that he is not dead. The book simply states, “Once upon a time there was a gentlemen whose second wife was the proudest and haughtiest woman imaginable,” then the father was not to be mentioned again unless it was by Cinderella herself (78). The movie production by Walt Disney altered this detail of the story tremendously. The father went from being nonexistent to becoming ill and dying. This creates more of a dramatic setting in the very beginning. I believe that Walt Disney intentionally wanted that, to glorify Cinderella’s strength and will power. In the video production it is not known how Cinderella actually got her name, it is just assumed that she was born with her name. The writing by Perrault says differently though. Charles Perrault writes in the original story that, “When she had finished her work she would sit huddled in the chimney corner among the cinders, and so it was that she came to be known as Cinderpuss,” (78). He also states that the younger of her stepsisters called her Cinderella, and that is how her name came to be. In the movie it appears that the step sisters are made out to be as evil as can be, whereas in the book it almost seems like they have a tiny bit of empathy towards Cinderella at times.

The “beginning” of the story also differs in length. In the movie there is a longer timespan between the start of the story and the ball than in the book. The book is based almost solely on what happens at the ball. Whereas the movie has more of a story to it and involves more characters than the book does. The book also bases Cinderella’s story off of two different royal balls rather than just a single royal ball.

The story in the book touches briefly on all of the work and chores that Cinderella is forced to do. This is the last time that Cinderella’s father is mentioned in the story, she says, “She dared not complain to her father because he was entirely ruled by his wife and would have only scolded her,” (78). Thus showing that her father is indeed alive and well, just not a big part in the fairytale. In the movie is it noticed right away how much the stepmother and sisters rely on Cinderella. From early in the morning to late at night Walt Disney made sure to make it known how hard she was working nonstop throughout the day. Perrault seems to make it known, but not anything more.

The relationship between Cinderella and her stepsisters also differs in the original from Disney’s version. The book has multiple civil conversations between the sisters and Cinderella, and even has a part where they come to Cinderella for advice and out of the kindness Cinderella has, offers to do their hair for them. Perrault writes on page 81 in...
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