Anne Sexton's Cinderella Essay

952 words - 4 pages

With many variations of fantasies, "Happily ever after" is reoccurring in every fairy tale. "Cinderella" by Anne Sexton is a different variation of the classic tale. The author sets up her version of Cinderella with four anecdotes sharing how others can go from poverty to riches or gritty reality to fantasy. Sexton changes her happily ever after ending by satirizing the message the story gives. By doing so, Sexton would like the reader to know the difference between a fairy tale and reality. Anne Sexton deconstructs the ending of her retold fairy tale by using sarcasm to change the reader's expectations of the story and myth.Setting up the poem with little anecdotes of unexpected reality, Sexton's sarcastic tone foreshadows the outcome of the poem. In the first anecdote, Sexton writes, "You always read about it: the plumber with twelve children who wins the Irish sweepstakes. From toilets to riches. That story" (S1). Sexton uses a sarcastic tone by implying the situational irony in each story. The reader may find it hard to believe the story because each anecdote is so far fetched. The fantasy is brought back into gritty reality, however, the luck the man has to be in a poverty stricken situation to win the Irish sweepstakes. Sexton brings fantasy into the fairy tale so the readers can pick up on it and relate the new fantasy with Cinderella's tale. Sexton implies that the happily ever after story happens by pure chance and luck, not experienced by everyone.Sexton's uses sarcasm in the refrain to influence the reader's predictions of the fairy tale by using the previous knowledge of the story Cinderella. "That Story" (L 5,10,21,109) is used as the refrain in the poem. "That story" is a clue for the reader to rethink the previous told stories of Cinderella and other fairy tales that go along the same lines of living happily ever after. The reader can sense the ridicule that sexton portrays in the refrain because she is simple and to the point. The anecdotes are radically drastic and Sexton refers to them as "That story" implying the repetition of the heard fairy tales. Sexton uses the refrain to influence the reader's predictions of Cinderella with referring themselves back to "that story".Sexton uses ironic imagery through her sarcasm in the poem to change the reader's viewpoint of the classic story. Sexton explains Cinderella appearance as, "She slept on the sooty hearth each night and walked around looking like Al Jolson" (L32-33). In the twenties and thirties, Al Jolson was a white singer who dressed up as a black man because he thought he would have a funnier act that way. Sexton makes reference to Al Jolson and Cinderella being artificially black. However, in Cinderella's case the grease and soot were not her choice. This may be funny to the reader...

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