Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cinders, Glass, and Blood on the Horse

I love the story of Cinderella. I loved it when I was a child, and I still love it.

I know that many feminists decry it, but if 'feminist' is defined as 'a woman who does pretty much as she pleases no matter what anyone else might say about it,' then I've been a feminist all my life, and I do love a good romantic story wherein the bad guys get theirs, and the good guys live happily ever after. I've got a right to like them, correct? Correct.

Who says that every story has to be realistic? Who says that? Not me. I get plenty of realism every day, and when I read, I like to be transported to a kingdom where things eventually work out.

When I am not at school, I wear jeans and old concert t-shirts, but that doesn't mean that a story about beautiful gowns and sparkly shoes and fancy hairstyles isn't going to interest me, especially if there are good illustrations.

And I am helpless and hooked when it comes to magic.

I love stories about overworked mistreated girls who win out over adversity, even if it takes magic to get them out of the kitchen fireplace and into something that is, at least, clean.

Does this mean that I am selling out? That I am substituting fairy tales for Good Literature? That I advocate plotlines that feature helpless women? Feh.

Well, I suppose that if I read fairy tales INSTEAD of Good Literature, I would be, but I read fairy tales AS WELL AS Good Literature.

Sometimes, I love the fairy tales best, and sometimes, I must have good literature in order to satisfy something in me.

The fairy tales satisfy something in my heart, and the good literature satisfies something in my head.

The best literature satisfies something in both places.

"They say. What do they say? Let them say."

Oh, Cinderella, Aschenputtel, whatever you're called, I love you and your story.

But, but, what IS the story?

There are many versions. If the only one you know is the Disney version, please go to the library at once (I don't care if it IS the middle of the night!) and check out a book that contains one of the better real versions. I like Grimm, myself.

(I love the Disney animated fairy tales, but the stories are corrupted.)

Fairy godmother? There wasn't one.

Her father was alive; he was just p-whipped.

Her dead mother talked to her from the grave, and gave her pretty ball gowns.

The stepsisters cut off parts of their feet, that they might fit into the slipper.

The Prince was so stupid, he didn't realize he'd been fooled (twice!) until the little birds told him to look at the blood dripping down the side of his white horse.

Some historians claim that the slipper wasn't really glass, but fur; the words for 'glass' and 'fur' are very similar, in French. I don't know that I like that theory, though. The story is French, but the French placed a high value on pretty glass. I think I prefer to believe that the slippers were glass, however uncomfortable they would be for dancing 'till midnight.

And there is something so totally satisfying about an obviously guilty, evil person who is punished by being stripped naked, put into a barrel studded with red-hot spikes, and rolled down a hill.

Would that we could deal with all evil in that fashion. I've posted before about how some people think small children are frightened by such things, but I think they are wrong. Such punishments mean that we are all a little safer, that this one evil, at least, can no longer hurt us. Even a little child knows that a dead person can't harm anyone any more. Punish evil thoroughly, and we are all a little safer for it.

Ooh, how politically incorrect. I'm soooooo sorry. Not.

Oh, Cinderella, I hope the King and Queen didn't mind that you weren't a Princess. I always wondered about that, even as a child. That she might not be accepted worried me more than any talk of evil, blood, ghosts, or abuse. The fact that the Prince wasn't very smart always bothered me, too. What if Cinderella got tired of having a stupid husband? Then again, she wasn't exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier, herself. Oh well.

For many years, I thought the word 'splendid' meant 'golden,' because our story of Cinderella began with, "Cinderella lived in a splendid house. . . ." and in the illustration, the house was golden-brown. Heh.

And by the way, it's "happily ever after,' not 'happy.' They lived HAPPILY ever after.

Adjectives and adverbs are not interchangeable.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:21 PM | |


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