Cinderella: A Tale of Two Tales

From the beginning of time, women have been thought of as being weaker and less valuable than men. Due to this biased belief, their roles in literature have been limited and often suppressed.

Rather than people, women are thought of as property and often mistreated. The status and position of a women is often defined by the position of a man in their life. For generations fairy tales have been passed down in order to teach the growing generation about morals and help them distinguish right from wrong. Without taking a closer, Cinderella may look like a simple story, where a girl ultimately meets the true love of her life with the help of friends. Furthermore, some people may believe it teaches the young children to always follow their dreams and never give up. However, this is not the only message behind Cinderella.

In both fairy tales, Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper by Charles Perrault and The Cat Cinderella by Giambattista Basile the cultural expectations placed on women by society are a passive attitude, marriage and appearance. Firstly, in both fairy tales the authors convey this message that society expects women to be passive. This is clearly evident in Cinderella, or the glass slipper when the stepmother employs Cinderella “in the meanest work of the house” (Perrault, p.16), but she does not once voice out her discontent in the work she is doing. She continues to do her work and just hopes for things to change. Even after hearing her sisters say “it would make people laugh to see a Cinderwench at a ball” (Perrault, p.17), she continues to help them.

She has a very passive attitude because even after hearing these harsh words, she helps them dress perfectly well for the ball. Similarly, in The Cat Cinderella after helping her step mother marry her father, Zezolla is also faced with mistreatment from her step mother. “She fell from the salon to the kitchen, from the canopy to the grate” (Basile, p.6), but she..

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