Anne Sexton'S Cinderella

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Fairy Tale Stereotypes in Anne Sexton’s “Cinderella”: Raggedly Ever After Anne Sexton’s parody on the age-old fairy tale “Cinderella” provides insight into the stereotypical characteristics that are ingrained into the minds of millions of children, characteristics that govern the perception and definition of both men and women. These fairy tales distort the way in which young children view the world, encouraging them to fit their lives into these storybook candy coatings. Girls make every painstaking effort to become either the dainty princesses longing for when their chivalrous princes will come or the obedient maids taking care of the household because these are the heroines’ roles just prior to reaching eternal happiness. In contrast, boys strive to become the “knights in shiny armor” who undertake a daunting quest to save the kingdom or the heroic gentlemen destined to be the kings of vast and wealthy realms. Sexton targets this concept of inequality--especially in the enormous gulf between female and male roles--to illustrate how fairy tales are far from “happily ever after.” In the introductory section of “Cinderella,” Sexton derisively conveys formulaic examples of “once upon a time” fairy-tale success stories. She generates humor by creating an outrageous disparity between the before and after in each case. For example, Sexton tells of such improbable transformations as “From toilets to riches,” “From diapers to Dior,” “From homogenized to martinis,” and “From mops to Bonwit Teller” (Sexton 1). Nevertheless, this humor mocks the perception that to be successful, a person must start out as dirt poor and by a stroke of luck, shakes the hand of Midas. Because Cinderella matches this model perfectly, it is, therefore, used as a stereotypical standard. Anne Sexton sarcastically denounces the fairy tale sexism in “Cinderella” with a lighthearted style that

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