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Cinderella

By kklambatseas Nov 13, 2014 1846 Words
Discussion Board #3- Question 2

Cinderella is one of the most popular fairy tales from around the world and there are hundreds of different versions of the tale. “Cinderella: or The Glass Slipper,” by Charles Perrault was first published in 1697 ,also known as the Victorian Time, “Aschenputtel,” by the brothers Grimm was published in the 19th century. Both versions of the tale have the same theme of “happily ever after”, but the two authors use different methods to portrait that theme. Disney’s animated movie was released after World War II, in 1950. The Cinderella tale is known for having reoccurring elements in fairy tales called motifs. Motifs appear in all of the Cinderella stories including slippers, pumpkins, fairy godmothers, wicked stepmothers and sisters, a prince and a party. Each Cinderella story has a motif about a beautiful girl who is mistreated by her mother and sisters. A magical being helps her and she is awarded with riches that help her get to the party. The prince at the party falls in love with her and when Cinderella runs away, there is always something that is left behind that can identify her. The prince searches everywhere for the maiden who drops the precious item. He eventually finds her and marries her which leads to a happy or tragic ending for Cinderella and for the mother and sisters. Each version of Cinderella adds its own spice to the mix and retells in its own special story about this young girl. Perrault’s Cinderella overshadowed the Grimm’s in terms of popularity and became the basis for Disney’s 1950 film adaptation because it lacked violence, had a significant message towards the end, and presented distinct characteristics of main characters in each story. Disney chose Perrault’s version over Grimm’s due to the lack of violence which exhibited the Victorian interpretation of the story. This tale centers around a girl who is very beautiful inside and out. The father remarries and the stepmother is jealous of the beautiful girl for her own children were hideous and odious. The stepmother’s jealousy took over her heart and made the wonderful girl do the meanest chores and dressed her in rags to make her seem less beautiful. The stepmother’s daughters treat her with just the same disrespect. They give her the name Cinderella because they make her sleep near the chimney in the ashes and cinders. The king announces a ball to let the prince find a wife. All of the maidens are invited in the land, but Cinderella is not allowed to go because of her cruel stepmother. They leave and she starts to cry. Her fairy god mother appears because of her tears and gives her precious garments to wear and a magnificent coach to ride. She warns her to return at midnight because all of these wonders will vanish at the stroke of twelve. For the two nights of the ball, she dances with the prince and everyone is mesmerized by her beauty, even her stepmother and stepsisters. For the second night she almost runs out of time and runs away from the ball to avoid the prince witnessing her unexpected transformation. She drops a glass slipper and he finds it. He searches all over the land for the maiden who the shoe fits. He goes to the stepmother’s house and lets the sisters try on the shoe. When it doesn’t fit them, he finds Cinderella. It fits her and he realizes he has found his queen. They get married and live happily ever after and Cinderella even finds great lords for her ungrateful stepsisters. A story that is a little bit different from the popular French version is the 1857 German variant which is named “Aschenputtel” or Cinderella. In this German variant, there are a lot of motifs that have elements that repeat that are similar to what happens in the story about the French version of Cinderella. In this story, Cinderella’s mother dies of sickness and she plants a little tree on her mother’s grave. Her father remarries an evil woman who has two daughters of her own. The father becomes really mean to Cinderella. In this story the step daughters are beautiful also but their hearts are full of ugliness. Cinderella was also given very difficult chores to do and the stepsisters ridiculed her. In this particular variant, the helper is the little tree that grows into a magnificent tree with a bird that lives in it. People who have read this story have said that the tree is the spirit of her mother. The bird drops down the beautiful clothes and jewels so she can go to the festival that everybody is going to. The festival lasts for three days and the prince is there trying to find his future wife. In this variant, Cinderella drops a golden slipper which the prince finds. The tale is more gruesome than the French variant. In the story, when the stepsisters try to fit into the shoe; one cuts off her heel and one cuts off her toe to fit into the slipper. In the ending, Cinderella marries the prince; but the birds also peck out the eyes of the stepsisters because of their evilness. The main example of Grimm’s violent scene is towards the end of the tale when the sisters cut off part of their feet: “But they could come in with the big toe is not, and the shoe was too small for her, since her mother gave her a knife and said, from "Cut the toe: when you are queen, you no longer need to walk." On the other hand, the Perrault version is much simpler and totally peaceful: “They began to try it on the princesses, then the duchesses and all the court, but in vain; it was brought to the two sisters, who did all they possibly could to force their foot into the slipper, but they did not succeed. Cinderella, who saw all this, and knew that it was her slipper, said to them, laughing, "Let me see if it will not fit me" and in Perrault’s version there was no presence of any violent acts. Perrault’s version of Cinderella was written in the Victorian Era of Britain. The Victorian era of Britain, was the period of Queen Victoria's reign. This time period was a long period of peace and prosperity for Britain. This peace and of the era was portrayed in the Perrault’s version of Cinderella. After World War II the peace and prosperity was absent in many parts of the world especially in United States as it was a main power in World War II. So, Disney’s goal was to spread peace and prosperity back again post World War II with the release of the movie Cinderella, based on the Perrault version of Cinderella. Disney’s main audiences were and still remain children, so to make his movie more appropriate for children he used the Perrault’s version of Cinderella which had a lesser amount of violence and also shadowed the Victorian Era of Britain. Apart from peace and prosperity, there was also increase in mortality rate during the Victorian time and Perrault wrote this story to maintain literature in society. Since the common reader for Perrault and Disney where children it made was appropriate for Disney to choose Perrault’s version of Cinderella as his base of the movie. Disney selected Perrault’s version not only because it lacked violence but also it had moral ending. Disney’s movie was based on Perrault version of Cinderella over Grimm because it had a moral ending as compared to any other versions of Cinderella. This helped Disney attract their main audience, which was children and gave a major reason to watch their movie. For example, in Grimm’s Cinderella towards the end of the story, when the sisters are on their way to the church for the wedding, Grimm writes, “The doves came along and pecked out one of the elder sister’s eyes and one of the younger sister’s eyes... the dove pecked out both the remaining eyes.” In contrast to the ending of Grimm’s version, the ending of Perrault’s version was something readers want to imbibe in their life. The ending in Perrault’s version was forgiveness. Perrault ends by writing, “Cinderella raised them, and declaring as she embraced them that she pardoned them with all her heart, bade them to love her well in the future.” Forgiving the sisters towards the end portrayed a very good moral and gave a take-away message for readers. As discussed earlier, the Victorian Era, apart from peace and prosperity also culturally uplifted society toward romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, and morals. Disney chose Perrault’s version of Cinderella because it was morally based on generosity and forgiveness. While Grimm’s version had more of a vengeance and good vs evil theme. Since Cinderella is more passive and kind hearted, she would fit into the time of Victorian feminine. Disney was spreading the word of Victorian Era through their movie, and gave a message of forgiving one another to their audience. Disney also chose Perrault’s Version, over other versions of Cinderella as their base of the movie because of the type of person Cinderella represents, which made Disney’s movie suitable for children. In Grimm’s version when Ashputtle plants the branch which later grew into a handsome tree, Grimm said, “Three times a day Aschenputtel went and sat under it and wept and prayed.” In Grimm’s version, the role of Cinderella was more unaccepting of the situation and was begging to make things easier. On the other hand, the Cinderella in Perrault’s version had the propensity to be far more passive and less aggressive than Grimm's “Aschenputtel”. An evident example of this is when Cinderella ends up sitting in the garden, crying because she cannot go to the ball. That is when the fairy Godmother came to help her. Here it shows how she was not begging for help as in Grimm’s version but instead she earned it by being humble and polite throughout the story. In Perrault’s version, Cinderella’s character traits of humbleness and politeness was shown when she forgave her sisters and her accepting nature throughout the story. Disney chose Perrault’s Cinderella instead of Aschenputtel because of the characteristics of gentility, grace, and selflessness. Since Disney’s Cinderella embraced such qualities his movie became relevant and ideal to each and every child in the society. In conclusion, the tale is one of enchantment and adventure, capturing the young and old alike in the age-old story of a young girl who goes from rags to riches, and living "happily ever after". These entire stories had same theme but the presence of some elements such as: lack of violence, moral and the role of Cinderella made Perrault version more appropriate for its place as a Disney’s movie. 

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