Charles Perrault Cinderella Analysis Essay

A Comparison Of Three Cinderella Stories; Charles Perrault's "Cinderella", The Brothers Grim's "Ashputtle", And Tannith Lee's "When The Clock Strikes."

Introduction

Charles Perrault's Cinderella begins with an introduction intended for the French Court through use of words as nobleman, proudest, and haughtiest. There is no emotional attachment as is seen in Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm's Ashputtle. Ashputtle begins by introducing the reader to a young girl at the bedside of her dying mother. As Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm are German authors, the reader gets a different sense of appeal. Although it appears to be a tale targeted for the common class, there is still a division of classes within the society, as the tale begins with, "A rich man's wife... ". There is also use of the word "haughty", by the two stepsisters when they tease Ashputtle about her old gray dress. Tannith Lee's When the Clock Strikes is completely different from the previous two tales, most likely because this tale was written more recently (around 1971), and there was a very major difference in the world as compared to the world when the other two tales were written. It is very descriptive and might appeal to formalist critics. This version of "Cinderella" begins with the focus on time and place. There is a very strong sense of time, not only indicated by the title but also by the introduction, which begins, "Yes, the great ballroom is filled only with dust now", and later in the same paragraph with, " Two hundred years now, since... ". There seems to be a focus on nobility with a direction toward the upper class.

Background

Charles Perrault's Cinderella continues to lack emotion as there is no discussion of Cinderella's mother, nor are their details of the wedding. In fact, with the lack of these details and wording that is used, "No sooner was the wedding over... " the reader might think the wedding was one of convenience. The husband appears weak and is described as being under his wife's thumb. He is not a prominent character in the tale. Cinderella has a fairy godmother, a symbol of her real mother, who tells her to be a good girl. Cinderella is very good and does as the fairy godmother tells her to do. She is kind and thankful to those around her and is rewarded with true love from a prince, who marries her and rescues her from her miserable life. Similarly in Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm's Ashputtle, before the mother dies she tells Ashputtle to be good. Three times a day, Ashputtle would cry and pray at her mother's grave. She made wishes that were granted by a little white bird. The moral of these two tales might be that a person may be more likely to get what they want if they are good. Conversely, in Tannith Lee's When the Clock Strikes, the elements of the traditional Cinderella story remain,...

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