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Essay/Term paper: Modernism and cinderella

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English Composition

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April 25, 2000

Research Writing

Though there are many fairy tales that have been created through the years, Cinderella is into our subconscious by stimulating the part of us that sympathizes with the mistreatment of Cinderella. Others say that the theme of a down-and-out poor girl rising up to become rich and happy appeals to any normal person. This theme is the common bond between all the stories. Recently, however, modern versions of the tale have surfaced in an attempt to relate to modern audiences. In the textbook Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum the editors decide to take out a chapter entitled Fairy Tales: A Closer Look at Cinderella. This chapter includes the stories, The politically Correct Cinderella, A feminist View, and America's Cinderella.

The changes were made because the content was outdated and not "true" Cinderella stories. In the politically correct version, the author makes a mockery of today's obsession with correct terminology. Every detail is explained so that no one is offended and pretty much makes a mockery of the story. The Politically Correct Cinderella is merely a satire on the left leaning views that our nation has been taking over the past decade. Excluding this version from the main stories was a good move by the editors because the politically correct issues that were so important years ago are losing steam today.

The editors of the textbook also ousted the feminist orientated version. This feminist criticism was totally unnecessary because there were two of them. Having Pretty Woman: A Modern Cinderella as well as a segment on the feminist voice is totally redundant and unnecessary. Both segments give the reader what they need to know about femininity and its impact on literature. Karol Kelly in her Pretty Woman piece compares the Perrault version with the Pretty Woman story. She explains the changes that have occurred because of the women's movement especially the impact on information. We now have a lot more information that has led to societal changes. The feminist criticism that was omitted hit on several feminine issues in the actual variations of the Cinderella story.

"The slipper, the central icon in the story, is a symbol of sexual bondage and imprisonment in a stereotype."

The author then explains how this small slipper idea originates from the ancient Chinese act of foot-binding eventually leading to the mutilation of their foot. She hits on many other feminine aspects in the Cinderella stories. The authors had their pick of which feminist version to get rid of and they chose the one that was plainly feminine criticism. The Pretty Woman selection was a relation of how a variation becomes what it does, as there are changes in a society.

The American Cinderella may have been taken out because it does not necessarily add anything to the chapte. This piece by Jane Yolen criticizes the fairy tale because it has become Americanized even in its viewpoints. She finds the story as first heard by settlers and later read in books by folklorist who had settled. She takes us along the path of changes to make it our Cinderella. She doesn't, however, agree with its perspective and states that, "The mass-market American Cinderella's have presented the majority of American children with the wrong dream."

The editors of the text simply removed the unnecessary stories, which would have just confused the reader with extreme story views. The comedy attempted in the politically correct Cinderella isn't exactly comedy. It's more like annoying if anything having everything explained and made to be inoffensive. The novelty of being politically correct has worn thin and having it out of the book was a good move. The feminine criticism that is omitted is done so because there is only room for one piece. America's Cinderella, as well as the others, does nothing for the chapter. The American criticism gives to an American student nothing that he already does not know. The authors made correct judgement in their removal of the chapter and are able to get a more better understanding of the true Cinderella across to the reader.


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