Anne Sexton Cinderella

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Not So Happily Ever After

Growing up, children become fascinated with the ideas they encounter all around them. Stories they have read in books, fairy tales they have seen on television; its inevitable for children to create this so called idea of “happily ever after” in their minds, because that is all they have been accustomed too. “Cinderella,” being a perfect example, has created this facet of stumbling upon prince charming and living happily ever after. In Anne Sexton’s “Cinderella,” the speaker uses a nonchalant tone, graphic imagery, and repetitive similes to critique the cultural misconception of what happiness truly means. Throughout the poem, the speaker refers to the events that occur in such a way that highlights notions of sarcasm as well as hinting at the mere expectation of each event that takes place. Towards the beginning of this piece, the speaker refers to each mirroring example as “that story” (Sexton ln 5). The recurring usage of this term stirs within us, the sheer idea of the perfect ending. Phrases such as “that’s the way with stepmothers,” and “that is the way with
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In one of the examples towards the beginning of the poem, the speaker mentions how “the white truck like an ambulance goes into real estate” (Sexton ln 12). This is a rather odd comparison and brings a sense of urgency and distress. While everything seems to be going well for the milkman, there is an underlying connection between newfound happiness and grief. As the story of Cinderella continued, the speaker mentions a dove, which “would drop [anything she wished for] like an egg upon the ground” (Sexton ln 39). With this, the reader gets a sense of vulnerability and delicacy of each wish that was made and the word choice depicts the sense of everlasting hope and desire for

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