Essay about Comparing Perrault 's Cinderella And The Great Fairy Tale

Essay about Comparing Perrault 's Cinderella And The Great Fairy Tale

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Perrault was born to an upper middle class family in Paris, France in 1628. He was a lawyer who wrote verses from the tales he heard. According to him, he did not record the tales as he was being told, rather, “adapted folk material to his own theories of juvenile letters” (Perrault 1977: 5). He wrote a version of Cinderella in 1697 from a moralist point of view, hence the opening,
Once upon a time there was a gentleman who took the haughtiest and proudest woman in the world for his second wife. She had two daughters with the same temperament and exact appearance. On the other hand, the husband had a daughter whose gentleness and goodness were without parallel. She got it from her mother, who had been the best person in the world (The Great Fairy Tale 449-450).
Perrault wrote Cinderella “to please an aristocratic audience” (Tatar 1987). This audience are majorly men, who tend to decide what the acceptable behavior of a woman is. It is filled with messages on submission, dependence and beauty. There is no voice or agency for the oppressed. In this tale, readers are introduced to the two categories of women that the moral of the story is weaved around. The question people are not asking is why will a man who was once married to the best person in the world suddenly be married to the most horrible person? While this tale seem to be an expose on dos and don’ts of behavior for an ideal woman, it is actually exposing the shallowness and thoughtlessness of men. However, the male archetype is not the focus of this essay.
The graciousness of Cinderella exposes her stepsister’s undesirable characters. There is a contrast at every point in this tale. While the step siblings sleep in “rooms with parquet floors and the most fashionable beds ...


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...nd he will not allow anyone else to dance with her except him.
She escapes each night, hiding in a pigeon house, and a pea tree. On the third night, the prince in order to ensure she does not escape from him coats the stairs with pitch, and Cinderella’s slipper sticks to it while she escapes. The quest for the right fit for the slipper is embarked upon by the prince himself. At their mother’s command to mutilate themselves, the sisters cut off a toe and a heel respectively. The prince insists on seeing all the daughters in the home, he finds Cinderella, whose leg fits perfectly into the shoe, and thus she becomes the bride of the prince. The two sisters are however punished for their wickedness towards Cinderella, as pigeons peck out their two eyes at two different times. The story once again reinforcing the ideal of the good getting rewarded and the evil punished.

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