Anne Sexton portrays the idyllic perfection seen in “Cinderella” and other fairy tales as both completely unrealistic and disdainful. The former can be seen in the subtle use of phrases like “rather a large package for a simple bird,” (Sexton 298) and “that is the way with amputations / they don’t just heal up like a wish,” (Sexton 298). The first quote refers to how a simple dove dropped “a golden dress and delicate little gold slippers” (Sexton 298) at Cinderella’s feet after crying “forth like a gospel singer” (Sexton 298). In reality, the dove could, under no circumstances, carry that kind of weight and still create enough lift to maintain flight. Furthermore, the idea that crying and screaming like a four year old at the grocery store who doesn’t get the sugary treat they wanted will be all the work that is necessary to achieve one’s desires is preposterous. The second quote refers to the actions taken by Cinderella’s step-sisters, who need to physically maim themselves in order to fit into a slipper. That the sisters believe they can simply chop a toe or one of their ankles off without the prince noticing anything is nothing short of ridiculous. The last stanza is perhaps the pinnacle of Sexton’s argument. Cinderella ...
... middle of paper ...
... 385) he would have seen that he was living the so called ‘perfect life.’ Aylmer had a beautiful wife, and would have lived happily with Georgiana for the rest of his life, were it not for his desire to make Georgiana unmarred by nature.
Both “Cinderella” and “The Birthmark” are stories of perfection. The former shows how foolish and unrealistic the ideals of perfection seen in ‘happily ever after’ stories are. The latter shows how easily obsessing over perfection leads one to ruin. However, both literary works reveal how perfection is something that is unattainable, and will always remains just out of grasp.
Hawthorne, Nathanial. “The Birthmark.” Introduction to Literature 5th ed. Eds. Findlay et al. Toronto: Nelson, 2004. 372-385.
Sexton, Anne. “Cinderella.” Introduction to Literature 5th ed. Eds. Findlay et al. Toronto: Nelson, 2004. 296-299.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Anne Sexton: Poetry as Therapy Many great literary and artistic geniuses have been troubled with deep depression and mental illness. Anne Sexton is an example of a poet with such problems who used her personal despair to inspire her poetic works. Not all of Sexton's work is based solely on her mental health; but a good portion of her work is influenced by her constant bouts with depression. As she struggled to deal with her own marital infidelity and the problems associated with being a female poet in a male dominated genre, she combined the theme of depression with one based on the roles of women in society.... [tags: Anne Sexton Poet Poem Poetry Essays]
1430 words (4.1 pages)
- In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, a female protagonist named Hester Prynne is subjected to public humiliation and alienation from the Puritan society because she committed adultery. This “sinful” act is further enhanced when her husband, Roger Chillingworth, comes to Boston, and Hester is forced to keep the secret identities of her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, and her husband concealed from the community. Over the course of her seven-year journey, she becomes more independent, more free, and a model of feministic power to the Freudian society that had once marked her bosom with the letter “A” to shame her.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1065 words (3 pages)
- The Scarlet Letter As written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Be true. Be true. Be true!” (Hawthorne, 254). In a world full of corruption and deceit, the light of truth always finds a way to shine through, even in the darkest of places. It may be argued that forests and prisons, cloaked with gloomy ambience, are unlikely places to find this ray of honesty. However, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the author reinforces the rawness of truth and forgiveness, the destructiveness of secrets and revenge, and the evolving symbolism of light by the use of contrasting settings presented by the forest and prison.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne]
1855 words (5.3 pages)
- The presence of crime was a difficult, unwanted aspect of both Puritan society and life in the eighteen hundreds that had to be dealt with in order for society to remain fully functional. Justice systems were used over the course of this particular time period to create laws, maintain order, and to justly convict criminals that threatened the societal peace in an attempt to reduce the impact of crime within communities. Laws created by these systems reflected the standards held by the majority of the population, and they worked for the greater good of all members in a particular community.... [tags: The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Crime]
1605 words (4.6 pages)
- The author Henry James called Nathaniel Hawthorne “the most valuable example of American genius”, expressing the widely held belief that he was the most significant fiction writer of the antebellum period. (The Norton Anthology of American Literature) Will we recognize an example, a certain expository shape, to Hawthorne 's representation of the puritan woman, and to his depiction of relationships to a great extent. I think the answer is, decidedly, yes it is clearly distinguished, a few years prior, by Nina Baym in her hash-settling paper "Impeded Nature: Nathaniel Hawthorne as Feminist." Baym contends that a considerable lot of the stories we most esteem and regularly instruct make a man... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]
939 words (2.7 pages)
- The Scarlet Letter “The Scarlet Letter”, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, records a struggled life about two adultery lovers. This story was marked by the most successful work back in 1850s and also become to a big part of Hawthorne’s writing career. Through the eyes of his main character Hester Prynne, the readers seem to see a woman’s helpless under a brutal and traditional society, which was ruled by Puritan people. After his book had been published one after another, no one can deny Hawthorne’s irreplaceable talent and unremitting effort.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter]
1006 words (2.9 pages)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne is a prominent writer who uses many different elements in his works. He uses elements such as symbolism, figurative language, metaphor, irony and etc. to make his work prominent. In the works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he uses symbols for secret sin in The Scarlet Letter, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment.” As seen in The Scarlet letter, the symbol for secret sin is the Scarlet letter “A.” The “A” represents the sin in which Hester commits adultery with the town’s minister, Dimmesdale.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Symbolism, ]
479 words (1.4 pages)
- Anne Sexton's Retelling of Cinderella 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.... [tags: Sexton Cinderella Poem Poetry]
1004 words (2.9 pages)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne's References to Anne Hutchinson in His Work Works Cited Missing From the beginning of his writing career, Nathaniel Hawthorne has made several references to Anne Hutchinson. In fact, he even wrote a sketch called ?Mrs. Hutchinson';. Because of Hawthorne?s apparent interest in Mrs. Hutchinson, it is entirely possible that he would use her as a template for one of the characters in his many books. Hawthorne?s character, Hester Prynne, is similar in many ways to Anne Hutchinson.... [tags: Hutchinson Hawthorne Essays]
1002 words (2.9 pages)
- Change in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter In life, one may see that there are not many guarantees. However, the closest one may come to a guarantee is that almost anything in life can change. I believe that change can come in many forms.... [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne Scarlet Letter]
1566 words (4.5 pages)