Professor Rebekah Starnes
Despondently Ever After…
In the familiar more traditional version, Cinderella is a poor maid girl that, with the help of fairy godmother, gets a chance to meet prince charming. They fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after, and then what? What is a happily ever after? Is this even a realistic thought? In the dark comedic poem Cinderella, Anne Sexton forces the reader to examine this question. Utilizing literary devices such as tone, imagery, and style, Sexton encourages the reader to think about how silly and unlikely a fairy tale ending actually is.
Sexton’s take on the story Cinderella is not based off of the well renowned Disney version, but rather the darker more adult Grimm Brother’s version. In this version, Cinderella is a poor young girl that lives with her father, two wicked stepsisters, and despicable stepmother, after her own mother dies. One day when Cinderella’s father comes home from the town fair he brings his daughters what they requested, for the two stepdaughters, jewels and dresses, and for Cinderella a twig. Cinderella plants the twig on her mother’s grave; it grows into a tree on which a magical dove lives. This dove grants her every wish. On the first day of the three-day ball Cinderella is told that the only way she will be allowed to go to the ball is if she picks up a plate of lentils her stepmother has thrown on the floor. The magical dove, and all of his friends come and help her clean up the lentils. Once every lentil is pick up her stepmother tells her she still can’t go because she has nothing to wear and can not dance. She goes to her mother’s grave and weeps of her misfortune, the magical dove hears her cries and gives her royal attire and everything she needs. For the first two days of the ball, Cinderella and the prince fell in love, each night however Cinderella would run into the pigeon house to escape and hurry home to avoid getting...
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