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In an article for NPR, Linda Holmes inquires into the essence of the Cinderella story. Though I have to preemptively apologize to any Hilary Duff fans out there (because Holmes seems to be specifically and very pointedly mad at A Cinderella Story), this article is a very useful read for us, since Holmes examines both the ancient roots and the modern variations of the Cinderella story in order to uncover the common thread that binds them all together.
???? Read “A Girl, A Shoe, A Prince: The Endlessly Evolving Cinderella”, available here:
As you read, consider:
Which of the different versions of the Cinderella story that Holmes’ mentions are you familiar with? Do any of these versions vary significantly from the classic story, either in terms of the plot structure, tropes, symbolism, or themes? If so, do these changes impact the meaning or the story, or the moral it provides? How?
What about Cinder-fella?
One point Linda Holmes makes concerns the lack of attention and character development given to the prince in the Disney film of Cinderella (as in most versions of the tale):
“In the 1950 cartoon, the prince is, in film terms, a MacGuffin. He is not a person but an object of pursuit, like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Or maybe he’s the prize, like the trophy at the end of The Karate Kid. Either way, he is not human…If you were putting on a stage play based on that cartoon and you were short of actors, my very first suggestion would be that you obtain a large bag of flour and a toupée, allowing you to dispense with casting anyone at all as the prince.”
Not only the prince, but all of the male characters get minimal attention in the versions of Cinderella that we’ve read. When they do show up, what do they represent to us?
What does the story of Cinderella communicate about men/masculinity? What assumptions do they make and beliefs do they communicate about men’s nature? What ideals do they endorse about masculinity?
???? Write a brief paragraph (100-300 words) discussing the questions above in relation to one or more versions of Cinderella, and other fairy tales if you choose.
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