Traditional Literature: Three Cinderellas Essay

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Most people are familiar with the Cinderella story as told in the translation by Marcia Brown. There are also cultural and parodied versions of this tale. For a cultural version, I will be referring to Sootface, an Ojibwa tale retold by Robert D. San Souci and illustrated by Daniel San Souci (San Souci, 1994). The parody I've chosen is "Cinderumpelstiltskin", found in the book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith (Scieszka, 1992). All three renditions are picture storybooks, and have similarities in the cast of characters and in the motifs of transformation and magic, but there are significant differences within those similar themes. The three stories have honored …show more content…
We can tell by looking at the illustration alone that this is no ordinary retelling of the Cinderella story. A young woman in distress is the common main character, and there are similarities and slight differences in the woman's family, and in the prince figure, as well. The Cinderella figure portrayed by Brown and Scieszka are already beautiful. Poor Sootface's beauty has been scarred by ashes from the fire; her hair is singed. In all three renditions, the mother of the Cinderella figure has died. Both Brown's and Scieszka's Cinderellas have wicked stepmothers and mean stepsisters. Sootface has no stepmother; it's her mean sisters that mock her and make her do their work. The father figures are either absent or powerless to help Cinderella's situation. The father of Brown's Cinderella is "tied hand and foot to his wife's apron strings". Sootface's father seems to be off hunting while Sootface is abused at the hands of her sisters. And Scieszka doesn't even mention Cinderella's father. The prince (or mighty warrior, in Sootface) does appear in all three stories. All the young women in Brown's Cinderella and San Souci's Sootface want to be betrothed to this character; in "Cinderumpelstiltskin", he is just mentioned as the host of the ball. Despite the differences in settings and family