Cinderella and Snow White
There were two princess stories I grew up with as a little girl, Cinderella and Snow White, and they had captivated my imagination. However, I was not the only little girl who loved these tales. Cinderella and Snow White are both known worldwide, but Cinderella’s tale dates farther back, more versions, adaptations, and are told in more languages. The Cinderella story is less complex and is loved by little girls across the globe. Like what is said in The Storytelling Animal,” Story homogenizes us; it makes us one.” Gottschall, page 138. I have such vivid memories of watching Cinderella and Snow White on lazy Saturday afternoons on Disney channel. I even remember getting in real trouble from my father for prancing around the house like a broken record singing, “Bippity- boppity- boo!” It is the song the fairy godmother sings in the Disney version as she uses her magic to metamorphosis Cinderella for the ball.
For Halloween one year, my mother helped me transform my pumpkin into a carriage like Cinderella’s and I had set a Barbie Doll inside it. In our town parade one year my church group dressed as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Unfortunately, I was Dopey, and every photo my mother took showed I was very unhappy about my role. I remember taking an apple outside and picking wildflowers around our farmhouse. I would craft a makeshift bed, bite the apple and would pretend to go to sleep. I had always favored Snow White to Cinderella. Her dark hair and light skin were like mine, whereas, Cinderella is usually portrayed as lighter haired. Cinderella and Snow White both exhibit a great deal of kindness and humility. With exception to hair color, both are beautiful victims who are saved by the love of a prince. But the journey to find their prince could not be more different. Cinderella’s story begins when her widowed father gives her an evil step-mother and two step-sisters. Cinderella is treated horribly, and becomes the maid. She is reduced to wearing rags and sleeps in the attic. Yet she remains kind and gracious. She befriends and sings to the family dog and house mice. Cinderella’s magical moment occurs when she is kept home from the fancy ball held by the handsome prince.
Crestfallen, with nothing to wear, a fairy godmother appears. In a magical song, Cinderella is transformed into a beauty with just a few household items. Her mice pets are turned into footmen and a pumpkin into a carriage. He dress shimmered and sparkled and off she went to the ball to fall in love with the prince. Snow White had endured the hardest traveled road. She is left with an evil step-mother who talks to a mirror. When the mirror tells her that Snow White is more beautiful, she has a huntsmen track her in the woods and kill her. Feeling sorry for her and spellbound by her beauty, he spares her life and returns a pig’s heart instead of Snow White’s to the step-mother. Left alone in the forest on her own, she comes upon a cottage and starts to clean it up. It is the home of the seven dwarfs, and they graciously accept her. She spends her days cooking and cleaning for the little men and sings to the forest animals. But Snow White’s story is not over yet, there is more of a twist. When the mirror still tells the evil step-mother that “Snow White is the fairest of them all” she grows furious. Dressing as an elderly woman and poisoning an apple she sets off to find Snow White. After a bite from the apple, Snow White falls into a deep sleep. The seven dwarfs that she looked after now take care of her. There she lay, in a class coffin surrounded by flowers, until a prince came to awake her with a kiss. Cinderella and Snow White were first published by the Brothers Grimm and later made into animated features by Disney; however, their similar histories end there. Most Americans are familiar with the Disney and updated Brothers Grimm versions.
Both Cinderella and Snow White have been branded and commercialized, the general version really teaches no moral or lesson at all. In my opinion, I think it subliminally suggests to little girls to be kind, polite, and clean the house till your prince shows up. The most ancient variations of the Cinderella story begins in Greece and Egypt. The first published variation of Cinderella’s story begins in China around 850, then a version from France in 1697. From across the globe there are over fifty variations of the similar tale, and in many languages a different name. In the Chinese and Indonesian version, the fairy godmother is a koi fish who grants her wishes. In the Philippines, the fairy godmother was a crab, which was then eaten by the cruel step-mother. In an even more sinister twist, the Vietnamese rendition has Cinderella, known as Lo Lem, seek revenge on her family.
Once she becomes Queen, she boils her step-sisters and feeds them to her step-mother. The German version has Cinderella, or Aschenputtle, come across a wishing tree instead of a fairy godmother. Cinderella’s story is not just known as being a story book fairy tale. Her influence has also been in other arts. Elements of the Cinderella story were even featured in the work of Shakespeare’s King Lear. The Cinderella tale has been the influence for eighteen ballets, and has been in four theatrical plays, starting in London in 1904. There have been more than thirty feature films or television show about Cinderella. And since her Disney debut in 1950 her popularity has become universal. Snow White is not as well known internationally or as popular as Cinderella. The oldest known version of the Snow White tale dates back to the middle ages.
The final revision of her story was published by the Brothers Grimm in 1854, and her Disney debut in an animated feature film was in 1937. There are about six different versions of the Snow White tales; however they all originate around Germany, France, and England. There have been two musical stage productions and about twenty-five films and television shows based on Snow White. Although these two popular fairy tales have been told to little girls for generations, Cinderella has a much richer history and world wide appeal than Snow White. Of the two fairy tale princess stories, Cinderella’s story I think is more light and magical than the one of Snow White, which appeals to an audience across the world.