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Critique of Cinderella Fairytail: The Difference Between Disney and The Grimm Brother by Decker

Updated on January 28, 2014

Cinderella: The Sweetest Story Ever Told About Child Abuse

In the Disney version of “Cinderella” it is called the sweetest story ever told, but when you read the Grimm version of the story it is anything but sweet. The Grimm version of the story “Cinderella” focuses on a child that is abused and neglected by her family. Besides the abuse, the Grimm version of this fairy tale discusses the depths of just how far some people will go to get what they want as the two step sisters mutilate themselves to get the prince. Another aspect of the Grimm brothers version of “Cinderella” that makes the story far from sweet is the amount of lose Cinderella endures. All in all the Grimm version of the “sweetest story ever told” is for from sweet, some might even question whether or not the Grimm version of “Cinderella” should be considered a children’s tale.

In the very beginning of the Grimm’s version of “Cinderella” we see Cinderella dealing with the painful loss of her beloved mother. At the very beginning of the story we see Cinderella being called to her mother’s deathbed, and there she watches her mother pass away. To anyone the loss of a parent is difficult but then you add to it the fact that within a year her father was remarried. When winter came the snow spread a white sheet over the grave, and by the time the spring sun had drawn it off again, the man had taken another wife (Grimm “Cinderella” 121). The idea that someone could move on from the loss of a loved one so quickly is difficult for an adult to wrap their minds around, so just imagine how difficult it would be for a child that had just lost her mother. Add to that lose and betrayal, the idea of an evil stepmother and sisters that really do not care whether you live or die and Cinderella is dealing with not just the loss of her mother but also the loss of her innocents.

Along with the loss Cinderella herself has to endure, the Grimm version of this fairy tale also brings up an issue of just how far some people will go in order to get what they want. While the prince is out looking for the woman he loves with nothing more than a golden slipper to find her he is confronted by the two step sisters who will seemingly stop at nothing to make the slipper fit. Then this one went into her chamber and got her toes safely into the shoe, but her heel was too large. So her mother gave her a knife and said: “Cut a bit off your heel when you are queen you will have no need to go on foot.” (Grimm “Cinderella” 126) The idea that it is ok to just cut off a piece of your foot in order to get the prince goes against the idea of a sweet fairy tale. This act might seem excessive but it is not too far from what people still do today in order to fit into society.

Throughout the entire story we see Cinderella being abused by everyone in her family. In the Disney version it’s only the evil step mother and sisters involved in the abuse and neglect but in the Grimm version the abuse is even perpetrated by the father. “Have you no other daughter?” “No,” said the man, “there is still a little stunted kitchen wench which my late wife left behind her, but she cannot possibly be the bride.” (Grimm “Cinderella” 127) This idea that the father not only knew about the abuse his daughter was enduring, but also that he participated in it, makes this version of “Cinderella” a much harsher version of the fairy tale.

The Grimm version of “Cinderella” has a lot of underlying stories most of them bad. The idea that a child can be thought of as completely useless by their families and thus used as a whipping post is a very scary. The idea that Cinderella was an abused child that had no hope is a part of the story most people would like to avoid. Add in the idea that the step mother and sisters where more than willing to lop off a piece of their own feet to marry a prince adds another disturbing aspect to the story. Finally there is the idea of loss and morning. Cinderella lost her mother and then within a year had a new evil step mother; even if the step mother was not evil this would have been very hard to take. The Disney version of Cinderella dealt with a lot of things, but if you look at her counterpart in the Grimm version she had a much easier time of it. All in all the Grimm version of Cinderella is defiantly not the sweetest story ever told.


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    • deq1010 profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Decker 

      5 years ago from Burton Michigan

      Most of the Grimm Brothers tales are like this. These tales were written as a kind of political satire but marketed as children stories to avoid the negative things that happened when disagreeing with a king.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting hub, deq1010. The Grimms' version of the Cinderella fairy tale is certainly gruesome. It definitely doesn't sound like a children's story!


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