Essay on Literary Elements Of Anne Sexton 's ' Cinderella '

Essay on Literary Elements Of Anne Sexton 's ' Cinderella '

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Anne Sexton’s poem “Cinderella” is filled with literary elements that emphasize her overall purpose and meaning behind this satirical poem. Through the combination of enjambment stanzas, hyperboles, satire, and the overall mocking tone of the poem, Sexton brings to light the impractical nature of the story “Cinderella”. Not only does the author mock every aspect of this fairy tale, Sexton addresses the reader and adds dark, cynical elements throughout. Sexton’s manipulation of the well-known fairy tale “Cinderella” reminds readers that happily ever after’s are meant for storybooks and not real life.
In the first stanza, Sexton begins the poem with: “You always read about it” and with this immediately begins her comical mockery of “Cinderella” (line 1). This line alone sets the sardonic tone that continues throughout the poem. Instead of saying “You always hear about it” or “You always see”, by saying we always “read” about it, Sexton implies that these scenarios are only heard of in stories. One may think that the author uses such a mocking tone because she herself never experienced her own happily ever after.
Sexton distinctively does not go directly into her version of Cinderella, but begins with the typical rags-to-riches stories of various people (Aguero, 2002, p. 1). In the first stanza the plumber goes “From toilets to riches”, in the second, the nursemaid goes “From diapers to Dior”, the third describes how the milkman goes “From homogenized to martinis”, and the fourth stanza portrays a charwoman going “From mops to Bonwit Teller” (Sexton lines 4, 9, 16, & 20). Sexton “mocks the happy ending of [each] fairy tale” to reiterate her main point of this work. The author’s mockery and hyperbole turn the traditional ...


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...en to grow up believing in? Sometimes the stories that are told to children plant unrealistic ideas of how their life should be and ultimately set them up for disappointment. This is not to say that these stories are all bad, however, realistic situations and outlooks are important in a child’s life as well. Sexton’s twist on the childhood story of Cinderella is refreshing and stimulating. The sarcastic, yet realistic depiction of the story is not meant to crush the reader’s childhood dreams of fairy-god mothers, Prince Charming and happily ever after. It is meant to open the eyes of the reader, and to make them see the irony of it all. Realistically Prince Charming is not going to come swooping in and save you on his white horse. This story becomes humorous after reading because, in the end, we know “That story” is just that, a story (lines 5, 10, 21, &109).

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