- Date:Jan 28, 2021
‘Cinderella’ is one of the best and famous fairy tales of all ages. The story has different versions and different storylines. The story still exists in the modern era and has multiple adaptations, including movies and even songs. Charles Perrault wrote one of the most used versions in 1697. The story follows a beautiful and kind girl who faces oppression from her stepmother and stepsisters after her mother’s death. Her stepmother let Cinderella do all the work while she slept. She also dressed her daughters well, something she did not do for Cinderella. However, despite the misery that Cinderella faces, she never reported her experiences to her father. When the king arranged a ball for his son, Cinderella could not attend the event like the other girls. She selflessly helped her stepsisters prepare for the event. However, her godmother came to her rescue and helped her to prepare and attend the event through magic. Cinderella’s beauty impresses the prince immediately; he sees her and agrees to marry her. Despite all the discrimination she receives from her stepsisters, she forgives her and helps them marry gentlemen living in the castle. While the Cinderella stories are popular, various items that are expressed dominantly in the story become essential symbols. Some of the dominant symbols in the story include the main characters, animals, the gown, the glass slipper, and the pumpkin.
The glass slipper is an icon in the story. Glass is transparent and fragile. In the tale Cinderella, the glass slipper represents the main character’s natural beauty, purity, gentleness, and true identity. It serves as the media where she shows her identity that attracts the entire kingdom and mostly the prince (Kusumajanti, Raras & Rusnalasari 6). While the glass is breakable, which thus symbolizes her gentleness, she never had any trouble with the glass slippers. Besides, it is only the glass slipper that the godmother did not transform from anything. Since one can see through the glass, the glass represents her purity. The glass slipper’s beauty also represents her natural beauty that no one could deny her. While all these are some of the positive symbolism that the glass slippers represent, it also clear that it also a negative symbolism that represents her bad side. For instance, the glass slippers may represent her as an opportunist girl. This is because Cinderella had resigned from attending the ball arranged by the king for her son when her stepsisters and her stepmother denied her that opportunity. She had no clothes or shoes for the event and only went to the event after the godmother offered to help her through magic. She also gave her stepsisters the oranges she received from the prince to taste. The glass slippers also represent the connection. The prince believes that the slipper can only fit one foot. Therefore, as he searches the castle for that one that fits, he searches for connection. Cinderella’s foot connected with the slipper demonstrates how both fit perfectly together, which is a sign of true love.
Animals used in the story also serve as a symbol. Some of the animals used include lizards, mice, and rats. In most cases, all these animals are considered dirty (Kusumajanti, Raras & Rusnalasari 7). For instance, rats are mostly found in disgusting places. They may also be found in the gutters and water tunnels. In the story Cinderella, the godmother transforms these animals into a coachman, servants, and even horses (Perrault 2). Besides, these animals become the characters that serve the protagonist as she prepares to attend the ball arranged by the king. Therefore, based on the roles that these animals serve in the story, they may be assumed to represent the lower class. Since Charles Perrault wrote this version in 1697, the story may be trying to show class relations during that period. Those who belonged to a higher class had more power and controlled those in the lower class, as depicted in Cinderella.
In conclusion, glass slippers and animals used in the story Cinderella are essential symbols. The glass slippers represent the girl’s true identity, purity, and gentleness. Rats, mice, and lizards, on the other hand, represent the lower class. They are used to serve others who may be regarded as high class. From these symbols, the story may be said to reflect the life of the low class in the hands of high-class individuals. Also, it shows how purity and gentleness triumph over evil.