Analysis Of Anne Sexton 's Cinderella

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Anne Sexton was a junior-college dropout who, inspired by emotional distress, became a poet. She won the Pulitzer Prize as well as three honorary doctorates. Her poems usually dealt with intensely personal, often feminist, subject matter due to her tortured relationships with gender roles and the place of women in society. The movies, women’s magazines and even some women’s schools supported the notion that decent women took naturally to homemaking and mothering (Schulman). Like others of her generation, Sexton was frustrated by this fixed feminine role society was encouraging. Her poem “Cinderella” is an example of her views, and it also introduces a new topic of how out of touch with reality fairy tales often are. In “Cinderella”, Anne Sexton uses tone and symbolism to portray her attitude towards traditional gender roles and the unrealistic life of fairy tales. Sexton’s curt style in “Cinderella” is used to convey a satirical tone. She approaches this piece by first telling four short stories; one references a nursemaid “some luscious sweet from Denmark who captures the oldest son’s heart” (line 7). By choosing “luscious sweet” to explain the maid, Sexton suggests the woman is beautiful and only uses her looks to win the man’s love. Implying the maid has nothing else to offer other than her aesthetics, Sexton questions a stereotype of women and shows her negative thoughts of this common assumption. Sexton begins to recant Grimm’s tale of Cinderella and the prince’s ball

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