Comments on Tatar's Introduction to Cinderella


I have to admit that I read the introduction to this section of the
anthology twice, once before reading the variations, and once following.
Reading the introduction beforehand allowed me enough awareness that I
was able to see the difference in personality from one Cinderella to the
next. Tatar said that "even within a single culture, she can appear
genteel and self-effacing in one story, clever and enterprising in
another, coy and manipulative in a third" (Tatar, 1999, p. 102). Knowing
this beforehand, and having read other fairy tale variations, made these
character changes easier to see.

Because of Tatar's introduction I was also aware of the role of the
father in the stories--the father either is cause of the turmoil,
lusting after his daughter because of his dying wife's wish for fidelity
(I don't think she thought he'd find anyone that met her requirements),
or his own daughter's neglect. I find it interesting that the father
figure fades into the backgroud. I remember reading on Disney animated
movies for another class long ago, and something there was mentioned
about the absence of father. If I remember (and I haven't seen
Cinderella in a long time), something happens to the father, it's
not that he's absent so much as he dies, I think, and Cinderella is left
with her stepmother and stepsisters. We see this particular idea again
in other film versions of the story as well.

Finally, and I mentioned this a little above, I never thought about the
story of Cinderella involving incestuous relationships between father
and daughter before. Where must a father be after the death of his wife,
to pursue a relationship with his own offspring?

Tatar, M. (1999). The Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W. W. Norton
& Co.

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