Michelangelo, perhaps the most gifted sculptor and painter of all times, once said that "geniuses stand on the shoulders of other geniuses." As Michelangelo built upon the brilliance of his predecessors, Anne Sexton does the same with her poem "Cinderella". Fairy tales originated as oral traditions and were passed along and sculpted by thousands of story tellers. Each raconteur changes elements in the story to fit their individual needs. Sexton reinvents "Cinderella" as a poem and integrates the story with her own opinion and commentary. Sexton's version of this classic story contrasts the rosy images of human happiness conjured by fantasy with the banality, decay, and despair of everyday life. She conveys this message with a sadistic tone and modern language, while drawing upon her own hardships and American culture.
Throughout her life, Anne had many personal struggles. Her childhood, though privileged in monetary terms, was also one of deprivation and abuse. Anne's mother and father both struggled with alcoholism, a struggle which, according to her biographers, influenced Sexton's substance abuses later in life. In addition to the alcoholism, Sexton also experienced other abuses by her parents; Sexton's biographers describe her mother as "neglectful" and her father as verbally abusive (Middlebrook 57). Anne Sexton attended Garland Junior College for only one year and mar...
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...ich spawn them.
In Conclusion, with her poem "Cinderella" Sexton not only created a wonderful retelling of a beloved tale, but a critical evaluation of how the story relates to her life and the impact it has on cultural expectations. On her reconstructing of fairy tales, Sexton herself said, "I take the fairy tale and transform it into a poem of my own, following the story line, exceeding the story line, and adding my own pizzazz" (Middlebrook 336). And pizzazz is one thing that Anne Sexton definitely had. She was a brilliant artist that marked the beginning of feminist poetry. Though her death was unfortunate and spirit and distinct voice still shines through her poem "Cinderella."
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