Anne Sexton’s Cinderella is a tale that has been retold many times, in many different ways. But what makes Sexton’s version of the story so unique?
For one, Sexton portrays Cinderella as a strong and independent woman, rather than a victim who needs rescuing. In fact, it is Cinderella who rescues herself from her situation, with a little help from her Fairy Godmother.
Sexton also casts a more realistic light on the story, showing the dark side of life at the castle and unveiling the true nature of the Prince. In this way, Anne Sexton’s Cinderella offers a new and refreshing take on a classic tale.
In Anne Sexton’s “Cinderella,” one may wonder what the poem’s purpose and tone are. When poking fun at marriage, Anne Sexton employs a strong satiric and humorous undertone. The use of dark humor adds life and passion to the poem. Anne Sexton’s placement of clever understatements is flawless, allowing the reader to visualize Anne Sexton’s sardonic laugh while they read the poem.
Cinderella is not a typical tale, as Cinderella does not want to marry the prince. She wanted to stay home and tend to her “sorrows.” The stepsisters are not ugly, but Cinderella is. In this poem Anne Sexton asks the question, “What’s so great about getting married anyway?”
While most girls are fantasizing about their wedding day, Cinderella would rather stay home and cry over her sorrows. In the first stanza, Cinderella is cleaning when she hears the clock strike six. This could be interpreted in two ways: either Cinderella has been cleaning all day and is exhausted, or she just started cleaning and has six hours until midnight. Regardless, Cinderella is not interested in going to the ball. She would rather stay home and be miserable.
The stepsisters are not ugly, but Cinderella is. In this poem Anne Sexton asks the question, “What’s so great about getting married anyway?” Cinderella does not want to marry the prince because she believes that marriage is just a way for men to control women. She would rather stay single and be in control of her own life.
In the end, Cinderella goes to the ball and meets the prince. However, she is not interested in him either. She tells him that she would rather stay home and cry over her sorrows. This could be interpreted as Cinderella being uninterested in marriage, or it could be interpreted as Cinderella being uninterested in the prince specifically. Either way, Anne Sexton is making a statement about marriage and its role in Cinderella’s life.
In this line, Sexton is able to employ her poetic skill to express her views on arranged marriage as well as superficiality and “love at first sight.” The fairy tale meeting and love in a Cinderella or Romeo and Juliet scenario are considered very commonplace.
It is almost as if she wants to say that those who buy into this type of love are “poor fools”. Cinderella, being one of the most popular fairy tales, is often used by girls as an example of what their perfect love story should be like. Sexton’s poem Cinderella puts a dark spin on the tale and gives it a more realistic approach.
Sexton Fairy Godmother is very different from the original tale. In Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother is kind and loving. She helps Cinderella get to the ball and meet her prince charming. However, in Sexton’s poem, the Fairy Godmother is not so kind. She is actually quite mean to Cinderella. She tells her that she is not pretty enough and that she will never meet her prince.
Cinderella is also different in Sexton’s poem. In the original tale, Cinderella is a meek and mild character who takes whatever abuse is thrown her way. However, in Sexton’s poem, Cinderella is fed up with the way she is being treated. She stands up to her stepmother and stepsisters and tells them off. She also tells the Fairy Godmother that she does not need her help.
Sexton’s poem Cinderella is a dark and realistic take on the popular fairy tale. Sexton shows that not all love stories have happy endings and that sometimes people are not always what they seem.
That’s the way with stepmothers, she tells us. Her casual tone and understatements imply how twisted of a mind she has and how she feels about comparable structures in Cinderella.
Anne Sexton’s take on Cinderella is, as one might expect, a bit different from the original tale. In her version, the stepmother is an evil woman who enslaves Cinderella and forces her to do all the household chores. The fairy godmother is a helpful woman who provides Cinderella with a beautiful dress and a pair of glass slippers so she can go to the ball. However, Cinderella’s stepsisters are not ugly, but are actually quite beautiful. And instead of a prince, Cinderella marries a wealthy merchant.
While Sexton’s Cinderella may be different from the original tale, it still contains many of the same themes. For example, both versions feature a young woman who is oppressed by her stepmother and must perform all the household chores. Both versions also feature a fairy godmother who helps the young woman escape her oppressed life. However, Sexton’s version is more realistic than the original, as she portrays the stepsisters as being just as beautiful as Cinderella. This makes Cinderella’s eventual triumph all the more satisfying.
Sexton’s Cinderella is a dark and twisted tale that subverts the traditional story in many ways. However, it still contains many of the same themes as the original. Sexton’s ability to take a familiar story and give it a new twist makes her version of Cinderella an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
From line 80 to 85, Anne Sexton’s use of satire and undertone of satire can be seen. With no warning, “The eldest went into a room to try on the slipper,” Sexton again lightly sprinkles dark humor throughout her poem. The crimson flow forth. That is the case with all amputations.”
Cinderella’s step sisters, in their haste to win the prince’s love, maim themselves. Sexton’s Cinderella is not a sweet tale of magical love, but rather a story where people hurt each other in their selfish attempts at happiness. This dark side of human nature is what Sexton seeks to highlight in her retelling of Cinderella.
Sexton’s Cinderella is not a victim; she is an active participant in her own rescue. When the pumpkin becomes a carriage, and the mice become horses, Cinderella does not just passively sit inside waiting to be taken to the ball. Instead, she take charge and tells her animals what to do: “Be sure now / do you hear me? / You six white horses… / you’ll go like the wind.” Cinderella is in control of her own destiny, and it is this take-charge attitude that ultimately gets her to the ball and wins her the prince’s hand.
Sexton’s Cinderella is also a sexual being, something that is not often talked about in children’s stories. In lines 131-135, Cinderella thinks about the prince while she is getting ready for the ball: “I’ll fix my hair / I’ll paint my lips / I’ll bite them hard so they bleed / I will love whoever comes.” Cinderella is thinking about sex here, and she is eager to experience it. This is a far cry from the traditional Cinderella story, where sex is never even hinted at.