Critique of Bruno Bettelheim's and Karen Kolbenschlag's interpretation of "Cinderella"

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As is well known, the famous storytale "Cinderella" has many variants across cultures and time periods. These variants have been found to have the same general plot, which is characterized by the persecuted heroine, the meeting with the prince, the revealing of an inner identity, and marriage with the prince. This plot is simple enough to be understood by a child, yet the details that support the story's timeless popularity are more difficult to discern, and are sometimes viewed quite differently by different critics. This shall be demonstrated in the synthesis of Freudian psychologist Bruno Bettelheim's work "'Cinderella': A Story of Sibling Rivalry and Oedipal Conflicts," and an excerpt from Feminist writer Madonna Kolbenschlag's work "Kiss Sleeping Beauty Good-Bye: Breaking the Spell of Feminine Myths and Models."

The story of Cinderella finds its way into so many children's hearts because of a resemblance children feel with the heroine. Both Bettelheim and Kolbenschlag agree that sibling rivalry is both a very real and very strong force in a child's emotional composition. The feeling of unimportance inflicted by sibling rivalry allows children to associate closely with the character of Cinderella. Regardless of how absurdly overdramatized Cinderella's burdens seem to adults, children see themselves in a position that mirrors the characters'. Both critics go on to suggest that because Cinderella's "true identity" is later released, and that she "lives happily ever after," that children see themselves someday leading extraordinary lives also. Where Bettelheim and Kolbenschlag begin to differ on this topic is how each sex is affected differently by the main plot of the story. Bettelheim makes no distinction between the perceptions of girls and boys of the story, whereas Kolbenschlag says differently. Kolbenschlag feels that both boys and girls are attracted to the story in a similar manner, but she also believes that the tale lays a blueprint to be followed by

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