Sunday, September 23, 2012

From "Rags to Riches." Is it possible?

Around the world there are many different versions of the very popular fairytale “Cinderella.”  Each is different in their own unique way, but each has one major similarity.  The motif of “rags to riches” through magic or marriage is seen in every version of Cinderella from the Brothers Grimm version, to one of the versions that can be found in China.  Cinderella is considered to be a “rise tale” which features said motif and in definition means the rising from poverty to wealth.

            The Brothers Grimm version of “Cinderella” begins with Cinderella’s mother passing away and her fathers remarrying.  The woman her father marries along with her two daughters treat Cinderella as if she is their maid and continue to degrade her throughout the beginning of the story.  Thus the rags portion of the motif can be seen not only literally, but also figuratively as well.   The fact that they degrade Cinderella can be seen as the rich looking down on the poor and believing themselves to be better.
            Cinderella does not reach success nor does she become rich by herself however.   In a time of distress she goes to the tree standing over her mother’s grave and asks for help.  She receives this help and is turned into the woman the prince first falls in love with due to magic.  Reaching success or riches with magic is obviously possible in this fairytale.  However in life it does not usually happen this way.  Reaching riches in the human world can be done, and usually is done through marriage or inheritance.  It is not impossible to reach such success this way and is seen a lot in the real world.  However the way the tale “Cinderella” portrays this is teaching kids that we need only rely on magic to reach success in life.

            The motif of “rags to riches” with magic is definitely one that can be seen in Cinderella.  However it is not seen in the every day world.  It is more than possible to reach success and riches through marriage.  But if its magic you believe that did the trick, you make want to take another look.