A Two Tale Comparison Essay Research Paper

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A Two Tale Comparison Essay, Research Paper A Two Tale Comparison Thinking back to our childhood, we all remember hearing many kinds of fairy tales. Some of them inspired us others confused us, and most of them taught us valuable lessons. Through out centuries tales and stories have been used as a valuable tool to pass on our culture to new generations. There is a strong belief that these fairy tales mirror and influence society. All cultures interpret tales in their own unique way. They add and subtract various aspects of the tale to fit the needs of their particular society. The same tale in the United States is different from the tale told in Asia. A good example of tale evolution can be seen in one of the most famous tales ever told which is “Cinderella”. As a

professor of women’s history Karol Kelley points out in her essay Pretty Woman: A Modern Cinderella “There are some 700 versions of Cinderella”.This fairy tale as many others has been changing for many years, and in recent years Cinderella has come under some criticism for its depiction of women’s roles in society. In present day society, where political correctness and equality are at the top of the priority list, by reading essays such as the one by Karol Kelley we find that this might not have been the case in earlier days. Fairy tales such as Cinderella have been found guilty of possessing subliminal socialization traits. Classifying genders as inferior and molding young girls into the female that society expects them to be. In Charles Perrault’s version, which is

considered the most common, Cinderella is seen as passive, limited, dependent and inferior. As critics argue, these traits can hinder a child’s self esteem. Karol Kelley states that the “expectations and the promises of the Cinderella story are psychologically harmful to women.” (p648). The fact that Cinderella is a limited character may give the girl an impression that she should be happy with what she has and not have any or aspirations in her life. That is, until her Prince comes to rescue her. Since these comments were made, the Cinderella story has been modified and changed. In order to see how gender roles have changed in fairy tales from the old to the new, let’s compare the classic version of Cinderella by Charles Perrault to a recent version which is a movie that

was released in 1998 called “Ever After”which was directed by Andy Tennant . Even though there are some similarities in the way they classify gender, a significant effort has been made in the movie “Ever After” to modernize the tale and change the way women are portrayed. One of the traditional stereotypes that is evident in the classic version of Cinderella is the passive nature of the girl. Cinderella’s step-mother and her step-sisters constantly mistreat her which would normally cause a person to react in a rebellious and aggressive way. This is not the case in this situation. Cinderella absorbs and suppresses the anger, and never lets it show. She continues to be lovable and caring. “People would laugh if they saw a Cinderbottom at the ball” Charles Rerrault

(p599). After her sister tells her that cinder bottoms like her would not belong at a ball, she offers to do their hair in preparation for the big night. Teaching kids to hide their emotions is one of the negative traits of this story. This also teaches the acceptance of an inferior role in society. Most of these hints are geared towards young girls, who are supposed to see that they shouldn’t have any aspirations, but wait until their suffering will pay off in a glorious way. This passiveness takes a different turn in “Ever After”. From the beginning Danielle shows her toughness and aggressive approach from beating up her male friend when she was young, to throwing apples at the prince and punching her evil sister in the face. An explosion of emotions also occurred when