Monday, March 2, 2009

The Meaning of the Cinderella Story

The story of Cinderella is one of the most loved stories of all time. It has been retold many times. It has made millions of young girls say, “I want to be a princess when I grow up.” Many people have asked if this is the message we want to send to children. Others aren’t sure what kind of message the story is sending to children.

When we consider the story, the first thought is that we don’t want to tell children that they can solve problems with magic. But if we peel back the layers of the story and look at what it promotes, the story isn’t really about magic. The magic in the story is just a convenient way to make the story understandable to children. It is much easier to say that the magic stops working after mid-night than it is to develop a non-magical reason why she must flee without giving anyone her name.

Looking at the true theme of the story, the real message of the story is that justice will prevail, even when it appears the unrighteous are prospering from their evil deeds. The theme is a Christian theme. God has said that the wicked will not always prosper. Cinderella is representative of those who obey God’s law. The stepmother and stepsisters represent people who try to prosper through evil deeds. The Fairy Godmother is similar to how the Bible portrays some of the angels, in that she comes onto the scene, does something miraculous to put things right, but steps back out of the way. The prince is only the reward and is similar to the reward God has promised to those who put their faith in Jesus. Some versions of the Cinderella story have the stepsisters cutting off their toes and heels to get their feet to fit into the glass slipper. In this we see the punishment God has promised for the wicked.

Though the theme is Christian, let’s not assume that the story is Christian. All truth is God’s truth, so when a story speaks truth, we are going to see similarities to the word of God. I believe we can use stories like Cinderella to teach truth, but they should never replace going to the Bible so we can tell people “thus sayeth the Lord.”