Brandi Beneke

ENGL 414A
27 March 2014

Major Course Assignments: Fairy Tale Exploration
Cinderella

Pose at least six worthwhile questions about the tale you’ve chosen.

1. In what ways has Cinderella changed as it has been translated into different cultures
(e.g., Cinderella: Or The Little Glass Slipper (first published in 1697), Vasilisa The
Beautiful (first published in 1855), Cap O’ Rushes (1890), etc.)?

2. What, if any, themes in Cinderella are universal? In what ways?

3. In what ways does the element of magic or enchantment enhance the story of
Cinderella?

4. In Perrault’s version of Cinderella, what does Cinderella’s forgiveness of her
stepsisters say about what was important in this culture?

5. In Perrault’s version of Cinderella, what is Cinderella’s glass slipper symbolic of?

6. In Perrault’s version of Cinderella, what does the fact that Cinderella’s father was
unaware and never to be told of her poor treatment say about his character or role as a
parent?

Identify at least two patterns that you find in the tale.

1. Fairy tales typically feature supernatural characters and magic or enchantments. In
Perrault’s version of Cinderella, Cinderella’s fairy godmother uses magic to bring
unexpected good fortune (rags-to-riches) to Cinderella (the transformation of a
pumpkin into a golden coach, mice into carriage horses, a rat into a coachman, her
overalls and apron into a gold and silver gown, etc.).

2. Fairy tales often feature villains, who are the force of evil in the story. The wicked
stepmother/stepsisters are common examples of villains in fairy tales. In Cinderella,
Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters treated her as their servant due to jealousy and
spite; she possessed a physical beauty, intelligence, and goodness to which her
stepfamily could not be compared. In fairy tales, the stepmother figure is known for
having destructive intentions; however, her actions often lead the “protagonist” (in
this case, Cinderella) into situations that identify and strengthen his/her best qualities.

3. Many fairy tales include happy endings based on the resolution of the conflict
presented in the story. In Cinderella, Cinderella was subjected to misfortune and evil
misdoings brought on by her stepmother and stepsisters, but ended up marrying the
prince and they lived “happily ever after.”

Draw some sort of connection(s) between two or more elements in the tale.

The theme of “good” versus “evil” exists in Cinderella. “Good” versus “evil” is a theme
often used to relay lessons of morality. In Cinderella, Cinderella is so inherently “good”
that she becomes the target of the “evil” ones (stepmother/stepsisters). Cinderella teaches
us about patience and the value of graciousness. The ending of Cinderella is an example
of how “good” triumphs over “evil” in that Cinderella ends up marrying the prince.

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