Charles Perrault – Cinderella
How is gender portrayed? How Important is social class?
Perrault’s version of Cinderella is a tale where gender roles and social class are very important things. Cinderella in the story is seen as submissive and compliant to her stepmothers every orders, she has very few independent choices when it comes to her living conditions and her treatment. Although she is compliant, she does break away from her structured life to go and venture out in search of true happiness, which she confines in the prince.
Gender stereotypes were present through out many aspects of Perrault’s version of Cinderella. Women were depicted as the properties of their husbands and fathers, expected to cook and clean. Always seen in the shadows of the men, but in this version one of the dominant characters is the stepmother who has taken both roles of men and women with treating Cinderella like her personal slave and being depicted as ‘the man of the house’ with the absence of Cinderella’s father. Men like the prince and the king are perceived as powerful and independent figures, who could manipulate characters like Cinderella to do anything that they wanted. This is grasped in the scene when the prince is looking for the owner of the lost glass slipper and claiming that they person who fits the shoe will marry him, referring back to the power and influence that men had back then.
With social class being represented as very important and Cinderella being classed a poor and unclean, she secretly possessed the traits of a women of upper class. She was polite, patient and graceful but all of this was hidden under her rages and battered reputation created by her malicious stepmother and stepsisters. Being of such a lower social class she was often forgot about and ignored. Where as when she was all done up for the ball she was the center of attention, all eyes on her. This example shows how someone can go from rags to riches. The upper class people...
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