Is “Cinderella” Just A Story?


“Cinderella and the prince /   

 lived, they say happily ever after, /   

like two dolls in a museum case /   

 never bothered by diapers or dust /   

never arguing over the timing of an egg, /   

 never telling the same story twice, /   

 never getting a middle-aged spread, /

their darling smiles pasted on for eternity. /   

 Regular Bobbsey Twins. /   

 That story” (Sexton 100-109).     

      This is an excerpt from Anne Sexton’s, Cinderella, her poem presents Cinderella and Prince Charming’s life after their “happily ever after”. I think that this poem is an excellent in the way it shows how Cinderella and her prince never experience parts of real life. Sexton showcases elements of reality and how they both were not affected by children, fights, or even old age. I believe that this poem further demonstrates how Cinderella’s life is just a fairy tale and how it is hard for it to come true or be believable. In addition, Sexton’s poem is an alternative to traditional versions of  the story.  

      The “Cinderella” story has been around for centuries and many different versions have been created and reworked. It can be argued that one of the most famous versions is of course Disney’s. Disney’s Cinderella was made in 1950 (“ImDb”) and illustrates the classic story with Cinderella, the evil Step-Mother, Step-Sisters and of course Prince Charming. I think that Disney’s version is so popular that it is still around today but more importantly, present in the lives of young girls everywhere. I believe that Cinderella is a character who embodies what is to be a female and femininity. I was an example of this. I watched Cinderella as a child and loved it, Cinderella’s beautiful dress, gets to go to the ball, and marries the prince in the end – what’s not to love right?   

A picture with young girls and Cinderella

      Cinderella I believe works on the emotions and feelings of young girls everywhere. She is beautiful, elegant, charismatic and gets to live in a castle with her prince. Karen Rowe’s article, “Feminism and Fairy Tales” states that, “Few women expect a literally “royal” marriage with Prince Charming; but, subconsciously at least, female readers assimilate more subtle cultural imperatives. They transfer from fairy tales into real life those fantasies which exalt acquiescence to male power and make marriage not simply one ideal, but the only estate toward which women should aspire” (344). Rowe discusses that women don’t necessary believe that they will live in a castle with Prince Charming but rather the idea of a fairy tale ending. In addition, that women’s only goal in life is marriage.  Cinderella also presents traditional gender roles. Cinderella is the helpless princess while the prince is her saviour to take her away from her mediocre life. Cinderella uses this idea as in the film she takes on a domestic role and becomes the wife of a Prince. I think that this also can be seen in the lives of young girls because they fall in love with the idea of meeting their dream prince and perhaps not being successful,  living their own lives by making their own choices or more importantly, being independent.   

     Cinderella is an example of a Disney film that I would argue has given females of all ages unrealistic interpretations about love. The movie provides the audience with a female character who embodies idealistic ideas about life.The “Cinderella” story is embodied in our culture as not only Disney but different types of literature, movies etc. have use Cinderella as way for young girls to look up to her and what they should try to achieve in their lives. Therefore, Cinderella and her prince get married and live happily ever after, but what comes after the “ever after” is a mystery. Sexton’s poem provides an option for what may have happened to Cinderella and Prince Charming, as it reads, “their darling smiles pasted on for eternity… / That story” (107-109). Is Cinderella just a story?  

     This is a clip from Cinderella and illustrating how her life is fairy tale. I think that the ending of the movie shows how Cinderella’s dreams come true but also how the prince rescues her from her life.


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