Cinderella by Anne Sexton

ENC 1102
June 10, 2004
Cinderella has been one of the most famous myths in the history.

Adults and children have related it in different ways, but it always has
maintained the same subject matter.

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Cinderella is the story of a family, with a father who was a good man,
her mother who died when she was very young, and Cinderella, which was she.

The time passed by, and her father felt that Cinderella needed a mothers
love. And so he married again. She was a woman with two daughters just
about Cinderella’s age. After her father died, the true nature of the
second wife was revealed. Cinderella was forced to become a servant in her
own house. As time went by, the kingdom prepared a celebration in which the
prince was going to choice a woman to be his wife. The stepmother and her
daughters prepared themselves to the big event, but when Cinderella asked
her stepmother if she could come, she said no. Then, the magical moment
came; Cinderella’s fairy came into view and gave her a beautiful dress and
a pair of gold shoes to wear. She went to the celebration without being
recognized by her stepsisters and stepmother; the prince felt in love with
her, they danced all nightlong. At twelve o’clock, she got out quickly from
the castle, because her fairy told to be at home before twelve. On the
stairs, she forgot one of her gold shoes. After that day, the princes sent
his soldiers to find the owner of the gold shoe. They drove all over the
place, but nobody seemed to be the owner of the little shoe. Finally, they
arrived to Cinderella’s house, the stepmother and daughters did whatever
was possible to make the shoe fit, but anything worked. Cinderella went out
of her room and without problem her foot fit perfectly in the little shoe.

So the prince and her got married and live happily ever after. Well, this
is a short review of the famous myth for those who never hear about it. And
it maybe help to understand better what this all about.

This story had remained with the same symbolic idea; however, some
authors had been made some changes to the story. A good example is Anne
Sexton, she become one of the best know confessional poets. She took the
first place in her poems to introduce herself. Anne Sexton uses twisted
metaphors and similes, symbolic images, and vivid colors to tell about her
transformed poems. By using twisted metaphors and similes as a technique in
her writing, Sexton transforms her poems to be anything but the ordinary.

The reason that I and almost everyone else really enjoy and relate to this
book of poems by Sexton is because all the poems are centered on classic
fairytales we all know. Like this one that I just started with.

“Cinderella” this particular poem starts off as many others do, her
frustration that nobody gets the opportunity to live the life of their

“You always read about it:
the plumber with the twelve children
who wins the Irish Sweepstakes.

From toilets to riches.

That story” (lines 1-5)
In this first stanza, I believe that Sexton is talking or venting
about her personal problems growing up, indirectly. In the last part, she
used “That story”, what is this means? I read some of her interviews before
she killed herself, and saw also some pictures and believed or not she
seemed to be happy. But when I came to the last part of this stanza, the
only thing that I can see is a woman unhappy, and incomplete. She defiantly
used this kind of words and phrases to break away from the rule of the

It is impossible to forget the reality that she uses in her writing,
she point out unnecessary details, just to make the story more ordinary
than perfect.

“These events repeated themselves for three days
However, on the third day the prince
Covered the palace steps with cobbler’s wax”(line 74-76)
In the original tale, at this point the facts are unpredictable. But
Sexton’s poem is already point out; she takes out the irregular scene,
letting the reader know the end of the story. Reading her poem is much
easier to understand the purpose of her transformations; she uses a fairy
tale, because express what every woman wants to live, but in the other
hand, she wants to wake up women and let them know that their purpose in
this world go more further than a fairytale. It is not as perfect as it

Sexton’s poem is cruel as well; the description that she uses in the
poem creates perfect images about the moment without any restrictions.

“The eldest went into a room to try the slipper on
But her big toe got in the way so she simply
Sliced it off an put on the slipper
The prince rode away with her until the white drove
Told him to look at the blood pouring forth”(line 81-85)
Although this particular incident is part of the original story, Anne
Sexton includes particular elements like “the blood pouring forth” that
drive the poem in a different way, another story than a fairy tale. She
also uses this stanza to emphasize how the effects of the self-destruction
women undertake every day, and what the women have to do to take a place in
the society in order to confront the reality
“That is the way with amputations.

They don’t just heal up like a wish” (lines 86-87)
Whether it is dieting, refusing a promotion, wearing ridiculous high
heels, or having unwanted children; these situations are things that any
women can live without, and have been taken place in the society since
Sexton’s time as you can see. She is venting her problems, and trying to
prevent women from this self-destruction.

“Cinderella and the prince
live, they say, happily ever after,
like two dolls in a museum case
never bothered by diapers or dust
never arguing over the timing of an egg,
never telling the same story twice,
never getting a middle-aged spread,
their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.

Regular Bobbsey Twins.

That story” (lines 100-109)
In this last stanza, she writes that Cinderella and the prince lived
happily ever after, like two dolls in a museum case, never worrying about
the timing of an egg, something about diapers and dust, never gaining a
middle-aged spread, with their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.

Sexton has refered, in the summary of the Cinderella story to each of the
first four stories in the first four stanza’s. Nobody can be just there,
like two dolls in a museum case, because dolls are meant to be played with.

They never experience the everyday toils that we do. Sexton has written a
poem that teaches that happily ever after only exist in the fiary tales,
and she support this, including at the end “That story” the same words that
he uses at the beginnig; it is somenthing perfect but unreal, because myths
are just that myths, the may be existed long time ago, when everything was
perfect, but now the life of a person is based on experiences.


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