Before there was a written language, fairy tales were stories passed on by mouth from generation to generation. Such stories often mirrored the culture to which they were being told and were used to illustrate moral and ethical lessons. Even though each tale began in a different community, or even on a different continent, their basic elements are strikingly similar and the use of fantastical imagery continues to appeal to people of all ages. Over time, the tales’ major components have merged together and made their way into modern day movies, television shows and bedtime stories. As will be examined in this paper, Cinderella and Snow White, two well-known fairy tales developed on separate continents, are no exception.
CULTURAL INTERPRETATION AND MODIFICATION
Much like the game of “telephone,” it’s no surprise that fairy tales became altered, adapted and combined as they travelled from culture to culture. While the basic story remained the same, the characters underwent changes in their names and physical appearances. Even the title was modified to better reflect the society to which it was being told.
In his book Fairy Tales; Their Origin and Meaning , John Thackray Bunce traces the story of Cinderella to a Hindu fable about an Indian monarch and his daughter who was born with a gold necklace that contained her soul. On one birthday, the monarch gifted her with a pair of slippers, one of which she ended up losing on a trip to gather flowers near the mountains. A prince discovered the lost shoe and set on a quest to marry the owner. The prince finally found and wed with the ruler’s daughter. Shortly thereafter, one his wives became jealous and stole the
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...nd gaining millions of fans along the way, these fairy tales have remained generally true to their roots. They not only represent the culture from where they originated from and sharing a same similar structure, but they also give out strong moral lessons that can be attracted to readers of all ages worldwide for generations to come.
Bettelheim, Bruno. 1989. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Vintage Books.
Bunce, Thackray John. 2008. Fairy Tales; Their Origin and Meaning. Icon Group International, Incorporated.
Grimm, Brothers. 2010. Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales. Canterbury Classics/ Baker & Taylor Publishing Group.
Hart, Brad. 2010. The True Origins and History of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Origins of Snow White.
Jacobs, Joseph. 2005. “Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree,” Celtic Fairytales.
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