July 10, 2011
Not so Motherless
In Elisabeth Panttaja’s, article Cinderella: Not So Morally Superior the author offers an analysis of the classic fairy tale Cinderella. Panttaja’s analysis may be off-putting to some because she describes Cinderella as being crafty and not a princess who is virtuous or patient. Panttaja claims that Cinderella was not as motherless as it seemed. She does on to say that we cannot assume that just because she is the heroine that she is morally superior to her enemies. This is an example of an over complication, in a simple and beautiful story. Cinderella should be about the triumph of good over evil. Panttaja begins her article by explaining the importance of the opening scene in the story. Panttaja is resolute that Cinderella is not at all “motherless” but well mothered. Panttaja states that Cinderella plants a twig on her mother's grave, which becomes a great hazel tree in which enchanted birds live. The hazel tree then provides magic to Cinderella and aids her to achieve marriage. The author goes on to compare the goals of the two mothers in the story. The two mothers are quite similar in the text because each is wholly devoted to their daughters well being.
Panttaja then draws our attention to how Cinderella competes for the Prince's attention; for Cinderella does not “woo” the prince by her character, but rather her clothing. Cinderella wins because her mother is able to provide a magical dress that overcomes all earthly clothes. In the Grimms version of the story Cinderella is described as “deformed.” The clothes do a incredible job because they turn a “deformed” woman into a miraculous marriage partner. Panttaja end the article by saying that Cinderella, in alliance with her mother, bewitches the prince in order to gain the power and prestige that will ensue upon her marriage to the prince, nobility. First, the story begins with the unthinkable, the loss of a mother. This is an...