Fairy tales have been known to identify different aspects of life such as modern issues and concerns without having to directly point them out. In Anne Sexton’s poem, her version of “Cinderella”, modern issues and concerns are discussed through the lens of the fairytale. She touches on aspects of marriage such as wealth and possessiveness of money by discussing how most of the women in fairytales want to marry into wealthy families. Sexton also discusses how fitting into society’s complex standards is another modern issue by showing that in order for Cinderella to go out in public, she feels as if she needs to dress according to the way society dresses. Furthermore, many women in society today admire models and actresses because they are socially accepted as being the perfect person. In addition to this, she talks about how the stepmother and sisters are jealous and envious of Cinderella by showing their cruelty and hatred towards her.
Wealth and possessiveness of money is demonstrated as being one of the modern concerns that is shown in “Cinderella”. Throughout the poem, several lines have corroborated that money and marriage are interconnected. Sexton uses a variety of words and phrases such as “Next came the ball, as you all know./ It was a marriage market./ The prince was looking for a wife.”(li.41-43). Most women that attend the ball, also known as the marriage market, are mainly interested in royalty, such as the prince, that are wealthy and looking for a wife. This explains the limits some people would go to for money. This explains how, they would go as far as marrying someone that they don’t know or don’t love just so they can be wealthy. Sexton writes,
Or the nursemaid,
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... cannot dance./That 's the way with stepmothers”(li.53-55); this statement reveals the step-mother’s abiding envy towards Cinderella because even after she had picked up the lentils the step-mother had thrown, she still made up excuses to keep Cinderella at home and isolated. Although there were two step-daughters, “Cinderella was their maid./She slept on the sooty hearth each night/ and walked around looking like Al Jolson(li.30-32). This line refers to Cinderella walking around the house with dirt and sludge on her all day and sleeping on the fireplace each night while the two step-sisters walked around the house clean and slept in comfortable beds. Obviously, there is no reason the step-family should envy Cinderella; however, they do anything in their power to make sure they receive the most attention from the rich father/husband to get whatever they want.
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