The Evolution of Cinderella

The Evolution of Cinderella

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Cinderella is a story nearly every person in the world has heard at least once during their childhood. Nowadays, most fairy tales that children hear are the versions made famous by Walt Disney, but his versions of these fairy tales weren't the first of their kind. Stories such as Cinderella have been around for ages, each version different from the one before it. One version was written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm during the 1800's and was titled "Cinderella". Another version of this story was written by Charles Perrault during the late 1600's and was titled "Little Glass Slipper". These two stories have evolved or changed over time in order to best fit their time era and intended audience. This evolution, in turn, caused a difference in plot, characters, and overall theme in each story.
One of the changes caused by the difference in time era and intended audience for both of these stories is plot.
The next change caused by the difference in time era and intended audience for both of these stories is the way the characters are presented. Characters are the glue of a story without them the story would just fall apart; with each revision of a story a character's role and demeanor can change causing the overall voice to change as well. The time era and intended audience of these two stories are different, which in turn, causes the characters' behaviors to change.
The last change caused by the difference in time era and intended audience for both of these stories is the overall theme. The theme of Perrault's story is that beauty is to treasured, but graciousness, kindness, and intelligence are far more important; therefore, those who surround themselves with these qualities can make their dreams come true (Perrault, Charles). Time era had a major role in Perrault's theme. In the mid to late 1600's England was going through a huge reformation causing religion to become the new staple and old 'magical' rituals to become a thing of the past (Robinson, Bruce). It was Perrault's belief that the above qualities were a gift from God and that someone can only achieve their dreams with a strong faith in God. Where Perrault's theme is light and happy the Grimm brothers' theme is dark. The Grimm brother's theme is those who are kind, beautiful, and selfless can accomplish impossible feats, while those who are spiteful, cruel, and selfish will receive what they deserve tenfold (Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm).

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This darker theme has a lot to do with time era and audience. In 1800's England life for the underprivileged was rough. Children from poor families started working at a young age in horrible conditions, while those from privileged families lived somewhat boring but unloved lives ("Victorian Children"). This caused the underprivileged to become slightly hateful of those who were privileged and spoiled, which in turn caused a darker theme for the Grimm brothers' story. Overall, time era and audience can majorly influence a story's theme, during easier times a theme will be lighter and happier, but during hardier times a theme will be darker and more morbid.
Cinderella is a story every child has heard over and over again; however, depending on the time era the version a child heard was different. Nowadays, children hear the happily ever after Walt Disney version of fairy tales, but a hundred years ago the stories were different. These same stories have continually evolved from their original versions into the stories known today. Audience and time era are major factors in influencing the evolution of these stories. They influence a change in plot, character behaviors, and theme causing the story to evolve into a new story that will better fit the time era and audience.

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