Cinderella : A Story of Sibling Rivalry and Oedipal Conflicts, by Bruno Bettelheim

1475 Words3 Pages
Most children experience agony and hope as they face the struggles of sibling rivalry throughout their childhood. This situation has been experienced by children, of whom may or may not have siblings, for hundreds of years. Several stories represent this crisis, including the Biblical story of Abel and Cain which was written over 3000 years ago. Abel of whom was forced to be Cain’s ash-brother. Cain had developed an intense feeling of jealousy of Abel when his offering to the Lord was rejected while Abel’s was accepted. This caused him great agony, but he wasn’t the only one. The fairytale “Cinderella” encompasses the ideas of sibling rivalry as well as the agonies and hopes that correspond with it.

In the essay: “ ‘Cinderella’: A Story of Sibling Rivalry and Oedipal Conflicts”’, Bruno Bettelheim discusses how Cinderella is a story about the difficulties of sibling rivalry and the degraded heroine ending up on top of the siblings that oppressed her. Bettelheim argues that sibling rivalry is created when a child feels that they cannot win their parents love and esteem in comparison to his brothers or sisters. In addition he argues that every child feels that they deserve to be degraded at some point in their life. The concept of Oedipal guilt, his last point, has some intriguing details included in it, concepts of which could be disputed. However, the main focus of this essay is on how children justify the idea that they should be degraded, and because of the hardships they have faced, risen up and exalted like Cinderella was. He states that Cinderella relates very closely to the youth because they feel like they can relate to her situation more than the majority of people could.

In his essay Bettelheim quickly asserts that s...

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...hough she was brutally mistreated, Cinderella was able to find a solution for her problems and children can to. All they have to do is make the effort, try hard enough and success is possible. Adults should pay attention to this and see if Cinderella can help their children keep a positive attitude toward whatever situation they may be in - exaggerated as it may be. Cinderella doesn't only help show one how to overcome adversity it points out good morals, and sends the message that good always prevails. Both of these messages are crucial in a society that is slowly crumbling. All we can do is watch and hope the messages learned from Cinderella make a difference in the lives of Children all around the world.

Works Cited

Bettelheim, Bruno. ""Cinderella" A Story of Sibling Rivalry and Oedipial Conflicts." Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment. 1976. 279-282.
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