Arguably, it is tempting for most of us to see Disney's Cinderella as just a mere fairy tale. However, the story Cinderella has many underlying themes and symbolic meanings. While our culture is full of fairy tales that have been passed from one generation to the next, different versions of the Cinderella story date back to the ancient Greece. However, the themes and the symbolic meanings of the story have remained timeless, and for this reason, the themes the cast and the storyline have remained appealing to both little girls and young adults. This, in its deepest essence, demonstrates the fact that whatever the intentions of the different versions are, in a societal setting, fairy tales serve as the unspoken or rather the hidden instructions that govern the morals that we pass to our children. This review covers some of the most important and puzzling discoveries about the Cinderella
Fairy tales are known for their metaphoric characteristics and the fact that they have deep symbolism planted in their delightful stories. Cinderella, the Disney princess, is not an exception. Firstly, the Disney Cinderella story is ideally, a metaphor concerning the beleaguered underdog who rises to the top through solely depending on their use of imagination and bravery. On the other hand, symbolism is portrayed in Cinderellats glass shoe, in the talets original version, is symbolic. As we all know, glass is delicate and is easily broken. However, in this tale, Cinderella is made to wear a slipper made of a brittle material to symbolize her graciousness. Specifically, Cinderella walks and even runs away from the prince in her glass slippers without shattering them. In a similar regard, a glass slipper is a symbolic object that portrays the sincerity and the transparency of Cinderellats ideals, despite the cruel treatment she receives from her stepmother and her stepsisters.
In addition, while Disney features a variety of princesses, ranging from Aurora to Snow White, many children, especially little girls consider Cinderella to be the most famous princess, due to various reasons. Firstly, Cinderella, through her kindness and noble character, embodies everything that a good and an ideal princess should be. Besides, she is glamorous, hardworking, and obedient (Disney). In the same vein, her ability to survive in a cruel and an undesirable lifestyle that keeps her in a state of forced servitude all while exalting the glory of her ideals and also maintaining her humility above all the circumstances that befall her is what makes her a born princess.
Among the various versions of the Cinderella story, the Aschenputtel Cinderella version by the Brothers Grimm compares and also resonates best with the original version tale. Despite the fact that the Aschenputtel version is darker and more sinister that the original tale, an account of its relevance begins with the definition of Cinderellats name. By definition, the name Cinderella is drawn from the French name Cendrillon which means little ashes. The Aschenputtel version Cinderella is portrayed as an oppressed little girl who thanks to her stepmother, had no bed to go to, but instead had to sleep by the hearth, which is rather, the floor of a fireplace. Ideally, the fireplace is usually covered with ashes, and hence the relevance of the name, Cinderella. Besides, in the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, the cruel stepmother keeps her busy with collecting lentils from the ashes numerous times, so as to keep her from attending the festival that had been announced by the king.
Comparing the Disney Cinderella version and the Aschenputtel version
Comparing the Disney Cinderella version and the Aschenputtel version portrays a couple of differences and similarities. The very first difference in the two versions is seen in the type of the shoe worn by Cinderella to the festival. In the original Disney version, Cinderella wore glass slippers which were provided to her by her fairy godmother. On the contrary, the Aschenputtel version talks about golden slippers which were given to Cinderella by her bird friends on the little hazel-tree by her motherts grave (Disney).
On the other hand, the characters and the plot of the two versions are similar. Other than having Cinderella play out the role of an oppressed princess whose mother was dead, the two versions bring up the characters of her two mean stepsisters with terrible attitudes. Also, the two versions have Cinderella suffering in the hands of a cruel and rude stepmother, who would do anything to cause her misery. Although the two versions have the same plot, the overall message or rather their morals are different. In the Cinderella story by the Brothers Grimm, the moral is a warning for one not be deceptive, wicked or jealous towards other people. This moral of this story is portrayed at the very end of this story, where Cinderellats pigeon friends peck the eyes of her two wicked stepsisters. As a punishment for their falsehood and wickedness, they became blind all their lives (Brothers Grimm). On the contrary, the moral of the Cinderella Story by Disney is that we should fight for what we want with humility and hard work. Throughout the story, Cinderella is never angry or negative due to the mistreatment she gets from her stepmother and stepsisters, instead, she keeps working hard regardless of the hopelessness in all the situations.
In conclusion, given that fairy tales are primarily meant for entertainment, it is tempting to see the Cinderella fairy tale as a mere childrents fairy tale, it is crucial that we recognize the informative power the fairy tale has, ranging from the metaphoric representations to the moral lessons.
Brothers Grimm. "Aschenputtel (Cinderella)."T John Stenzel's Home Page, stenzel.ucdavis.edu/180/anthology/aschenputtel.html. Accessed 29T Mar.T 2017.
Cinderella. Directed by Walt Disney, Perf. Cinderella, Tremaine, Jaq, Gus.T 1950. Disney, 1950.
Disney, Walt. "Cinderella's Story."T Disney Princess, princess.disney.com/cinderellas-story. Accessed 29T Mar.T 2017.
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