Grimm's Cinderella Story Essay

2511 words - 10 pages

The Grimm’s stories have strict criteria for good and evil. Good women are not the hero, they do not plan, nor do they get themselves out of bad situations; they are obtuse and wait until a Prince saves them. These qualities doom the female protagonists (and readers) to pursue the only destiny women have, and that is to be a wife and mother (Rowe, 1978). Cinderella is the heroine and the ideal good girl. She is unambiguously beautiful, kind, and compassionate. She does not complain or get angry. This is foreseen early in the Grimm’s Cinderella story:
“ “Is the stupid goose to sit in the parlour with us?" said they. "He who wants to eat bread must earn it; out with the kitchen-wench…. and led her into the kitchen. There she had to do hard work from morning till night, get up before daybreak, carry water, light fires, cook and wash. Besides this, the sisters did her every imaginable injury -- they mocked her and emptied her peas and lentils into the ashes, so that she was forced to sit and pick them out again. “(Grimms 21).
Instead, she takes her burdens as they come. Clare R. Ferrer noted in her article, “heroines are not allowed any defects, nor are they required to develop, since they are already perfect.” At the beginning of the story, Cinderella is described as “remaining pious and good” in-spite of the loss she endured. Cinderella is such a good person, that she takes the abuse from her step-sisters with grace and never asks for anything, nor does she reveal to her father or the Prince the type of life she has succumbed to living. Beauty goes hand-in-hand with being a good woman. According to Parsons, “a high premium is placed on feminine beauty…Women are positioned as the object of men’s gaze, and beauty determines a woman’s value” (137). Even a male writer is able to identify that fairy tales rank beauty high on a list for determining a woman’s worth. James Garner played off of the value of Cinderella’s beauty and the kind of spectacle it brings upon her when other women and men view her:
“Soon, in a heavy, gilded car¬riage painfully pulled by a team of horse-slaves, Cinderella arrived. She was dressed in a clinging gown woven of silk stolen from unsuspecting silk-worms. Her hair was festooned with pearls plun¬dered from hard-working, defenseless oysters. And on her feet, dangerous though it may seem, she wore slippers made of finely cut crystal. Every head in the ballroom turned as Cinderella entered. The men stared at and lusted after this wommon who had captured perfectly their Barbie¬doll ideas of feminine desirability. The womyn, trained at an early age to despise their own bodies, looked at Cindcrella with envy and spite.”
Perhaps ironically, the villain is also generally a female. Women who have desires and the courage to achieve them are villainous and will be punished in the end. This evil woman is cunning and ambitious, and in most cases she is jealous and malicious. At the beginning of the Grimms’ story, the two sisters are...

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