What are the 6 ways that Cinderella is a prototypical representation and symbolism of oldest
children in large/very large families but without the glass slipper, Fairy Godmother; rescuing/savior Prince, or the happy ever after? Analytical, detailed, and descriptive answers please.
It will be interesting to see how people spin this particular one.
Having made that comment, I have to say that I think it depends on who equates "Cinderella" with the "work side" of the character and/or who, instead, primarily equates the character with having to deal with the aggressive behavior of others ("step sisters"/"step mother") who are out to make sure that Cinderella doesn't get to "the ball".
My mother came from a family of five kids who survived from birth into adulthood. (My youngest aunt's twin died at, or shortly after, birth).
The siblings in their family were five years apart (except for the one brother, my mother's twin).
My mother saw herself as a "Cinderella" because the eldest sister was ten years older than my mother, so she was off and married with two kids by the time my mother was, say, in her teens. There was another sister who was married and widowed, and had a child, at around twenty/twenty-two. So those two older sisters were both into their "grown-up" life when my mother was in her teens. The only boy in the family was a boy, and in those days (and even in some families today) people didn't expect the same kind of work/helping with caring for family from boys as they did girls.
So, there was a time when the two eldest had their own thing going (and the one with a living husband was all wrapped up in her own situation); so their mother expected/needed that eldest of childless girls (my mother) to take on work/responsibility (especially when the mother became ill and was bedridden before she died).
Of course, I imagine who took on what work may have shifted or been shared at times; but even with that, the eldest one had a husband and a couple of little kids (and whatever challenges of her own she had to deal with); so I'm just not seeing her as "Cinderella" when my mother was a teen and early twenties. Maybe her turn at being Cinderella ended when she got married. (Getting married can pretty much be one of the quickest ways to end being a "Cinderella" (lol). Oh wait... Then there's the thing that so many men think the housework and kids are "women's work) - but that's a Cinderella problem for another time.)
Keep in mind that the most self-centered people (whoever that may be) aren't likely to view things through anything other than their own eyes/place (in the family or in the world).
1. Cinderella was horribly overworked by her family, forced to do all the chores for her stepsisters. The oldest children in large families are also given many responsibilities. They are expected to help out with the chores and the raising of their siblings.
2. The younger girls were able to do whatever they wanted. The younger children are able to play with each other or with their friends as the oldest children do the laundry and set the table.
3. The stepsisters flaunted their wealth and status while Cinderella pressed their dresses and scrubbed their dishes. At events, the oldest child may be in charge of the younger children, making sure they don't misbehave.
4. While they hosted lavish dinner parties, Cinderella was stuck holding the drink tray.
5. When Cinderella tried to go to the ball, she was stripped of her stepsister's (unwanted) dresses and sent to the kitchen. If an eldest child needs to go to an event on his or her own, they must plan very carefully.
6. Both of them were brought taken to the prince's party in a fancy carriage drawn by beautiful horses. Where was Cinderella? At home, doing chores! While the youngest children are lavished with praise, the oldest children are shunted to a management role in the home.
BONUS: The eldest child might even be forced to sleep uncomfortably, like Cinderella sleeping near the fire to stay warm.
I hope this answer is satisfactory to you. Have a lovely day.
When doing my research for this response, I decided to see if there were any versions of Cinderella that specifically mentioned Cinderella being the eldest child. I found the novel "Frogs & Toads" by Stacy Lynn Carroll and nothing else. There were several mentions of Jana Duggar, the eldest in the 19-child Duggar family, who is apparently nicknamed "Cinderella" by the press.
(1) Oldest children in large/very large families must SERVE their parents & younger siblings. They have to be on 24/7/365. Everyone is FIRST while they are LAST, if that! Come now, WE need YOU, COME QUICK! It brings to mind the Temptation song, " Hear that sound, that hammer pounding, pounding, from sunup to sundown...." It is never ending for oldest children in large families. Cinderella was a SLAVE to her stepmothers & stepsiblings; so are oldest children SLAVES to parents & siblings!
(2) Oldest children in large/very large families are the MOST ABUSED & MISTREATED. They are considered to be nonentities unless they are "NEEDED". Yes, oldest children are either a useable commodity in their family or they are simply regulated to being nonexistent. They are DISCARDED & DISPOSABLE, just like Cinderella. When she was not a useable commodity, poof, she was non-existent or worse, a nonentity!
(3) Oldest children have NO INDIVIDUAL or in fact NO LIFE outside of their families. They EXIST primarily for their families. It's PARENTS & younger siblings ad infinitum. Who are THEY? There is not a they.....oh NO. They......AREN'T......simply AREN'T! Cinderella had no individual life. In fact, she had NO life at all. It was stepmother & stepsiblings ad infinitum! If this is not the lower depths of hell, NOTHING IS.....
(4) Oldest children are regulated to LAST place by their parents. They are disposable, dismissed, & in general, disregarded by their parents. They receive the LEAST parental attention. Their parents feel that their oldest children are full fledge adults & treat them THAT way. However, oldest children are adults in the most negative sense. All the drudgery & none of the glamor & privileges. Cinderella as we all know was ALWAYS REGULATED TO LAST PLACE. Yes, Cinderella was marginalized by stepmother & stepsiblings while oldest children are marginalized by their OWN parents. In fact parents are the STEPPARENTS to oldest children. Well, oldest children in large/very large families are treated as STEPCHILDREN or worse by their parents!
(5) Oldest children in large/very large families LOOK for a way to ESCAPE their familial bondage by any means necessary. Some leave home as soon as they can, feeling that way they can at least have THEIR OWN lives. Many oldest daughters in large/very large families marry THE FIRST person who asks them. They have to rescue themselves. At least Cinderella had the Fairy Godmother & the prince.
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I'm just wondering what people thought about them....
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