Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cinderella's Magic

Today, I want to continue the topic of Cinderella from yesterday, but I want to discuss Cinderella’s magic. Where does it come from?

We don’t normally think of Cinderella having magic of her own, but magic is used to give her gifts. It appears to be in the control of a fairy godmother or a tree, depending on which version you read. Indirectly, the magic appears to come from her mother, who is watching over her from heaven. None of the stories make a huge deal about her mother, but some do talk about God and her mother looking down on her. In the Gimms’ version, the tree is planted on her mother’s grave and watered with Cinderella’s tears. Even the fact that some versions reference a fairy godmother alludes to a higher power. I don’t know much about godmothers, but my understanding is that they are to help protect their godchildren.

In terms of storytelling, the power comes from none of those things but from Cinderella. Had Cinderella not been “pious and good,” I don’t think it would’ve made sense for someone to give her all she was given. We see that in A Little Princess. In the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett and the 1995 film, the fact that Sara has so much taken from her gives us reason to cheer when thing turn around. Contract that with The Little Princess, which is a 1939 Shirley Temple film that is based on the same book. That version makes you want to just smack that girl.

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