WHAT IS SO INTERESTING ABOUT STORIES OF “CINDERELLA”?

 

    What is it in “Cinderella” fascinates people all over the world? It is found in many versions. There are many forms of “Cinderella” in oral, written, and film forms. There are approximately 700 versions of “Cinderella” around the world. I very much agree with the point that was provided by psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, “Competition among brothers and sisters presents a profound and largely unconscious problem to children” (Bettelheim 638).  I agree with his assumption concerning the conscious and unconscious mind and the way in which unconscious will seize upon the content of a story in order to resolve conflicts. I have compared and contrasted some of the important elements of three different versions of “Cinderella” of Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, Walt Disney, and Charles Perrault in the following paragraphs.

 

    In all three variants of “Cinderella” there are quite a few similarities. Some of the similarities are that Cinderella was innocent and passive in all of them.  In all of the versions, the stepsisters mocked her, made her do all the housework, and didn’t treat her well. In addition they had total control of her. Similarly, in all of the versions the Prince’s character was that of a nobleman, charming. He fell in love with Cinderella at first sight. For she was so beautiful he couldn’t take his eyes off her. Furthermore, the functioning of magic was present in all versions. For example, in Perrault’s and Disney’s versions, her fairy godmother did the magical part of making it possible for Cinderella to go to the ball. However, in Grimm’s version it was the spiritual tree and the doves that made it possible for her to go to the ball. All variants had animals helping Cinderella. For instance, doves, mice, dog, and a horse helped her to go to the ball in some way or other. Moreover, in all versions there was an invitation to the ball. Also, there was another significant element in all variants: the test situation. When all the girls had to try on the golden shoe, glass slipper, or any other foot wear. Of course Cinderella was the only one whose feet would perfectly fit the footwear.

 

All three variants of “Cinderella” have some differences as well as similarities. In Grimm and Perrault have a small role for the father but there isn’t any role of the father at all in the Disney’s version. Conversely, in Perrault and Disney, Cinderella had to return home by midnight; in Grimm’s version, she didn’t have a midnight rule, although she chose to come home by evening anyway; perhaps it was the fear that she’d get caught. Cinderella forgave her stepsisters in the other two versions but in Grimm’s version this was not the case.  There is some extend of violence in Grimm’s version while not in the others.  Two versions, Perrault’s and Disney’s, had the fairy godmother magically made it possible for Cinderella to go to the ball, whereas in Grimm’s it was the spiritual tree and the doves. In contrast to the others Grimm’s version was the only one where there was just a little presence of Cinderella’s mother. In addition to this, all of them had a happy ending. However, in Grimm’s version there was some violence both of the stepsisters were blinded by doves. Also, in Grimm’s version, the stepmother told the daughters to cut off in one case a toe, in the other one a chunk of her heel.

 

    In conclusion, “Cinderella” is a story where a young girl experiences painful suffering from sibling rivalry. Cinderella is made into a maid by her stepsisters, she had to give up her pastimes for her stepsisters because of her stepmother, she is supposed to do all the grimy and unclean work and although she does it well she gets no credit for it. But she is expected to do even more and this is how she is distressed by the miseries of sibling competition. I think the hidden message is that Cinderella resolves her problems and so the children can resolve their problems by hearing the story as well.

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