Cinderelly, Cinderelly

November 12, 2007 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

I was thinking this morning about how there has to be more to Cinderella. I’m not talking about turning the story into something like Ella Enchanted or Ever After (God forbid). I just mean that Cinderella is cooler than she’s usually portrayed, and all because of the glass slipper, something that’s usually kind of overlooked.

All the “updated” versions of the tale I have seen either ignore the issue of the slipper completely or hold that Cinderella left it by accident. In Ella Enchanted, the slipper has very little to do with Charmont’s recognition of her, I believe that Ever After ignores it completely, and even the Disney version has Cinderella literally stepping out of her shoe on the stairs.

She had to have left the shoe on purpose. There’s no way she could have just stepped out of it while running down the stairs. In order to be running that fast in those heels, they would have had to fit absolutely perfectly, especially for a girl who has been living her life as a maid and who is more used to going barefoot. And to run later in only one heel, as the Disney movie suggests, is virtually impossible and probably a scenario dreamed up by a man.

The French version of the tale says that Cinderella “left behind” one of her slippers; it’s her stepsisters who attribute the loss to “haste.” The Cinderella of this story is much more quick-witted than that of other versions; she “jests” with her sisters, “amusing” them (and herself) while in disguise, and though she is certainly patient and kind to them, it’s easy to see how she is just biding her time until she can out-smart them and somehow gain control.

As opposed to just giving her the attributes of “graciousness” and a good heart, Perrault also gives her “intelligence, courage…[and] common sense”, a list of virtues usually absent or ignored in this story. What girl wouldn’t drop a slipper and hold on to the matching one, so the prince could track her down and make certain of her identity? It’s really a brilliant move, and I think it’s sad that the character doesn’t get enough credit for it.

(As a side note, I love how blogs let you totally go off on tangents in the middle of a sentence with a simple hyperlink. I can point you to the French Cinderella without even breaking the rhythm of my sentence. Awesome.)

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Entry filed under: Fairy Tale Friday, Musings and Essays.

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