Cinderella fairy tales have evolved with time, incorporating plot elements in different ways.
The ancient Cinderella tales have evolved to a complex state nowadays. The evolution has brought about changes in the modern literature, leading to the depiction of a very different Cinderella from that depicted in the old untrue tales. These changes are in the character portrayed by Cinderella, point of view, theme, and the setting (Parsons 135).
‘The politically correct Cinderella’, ‘a feminist view’, and ‘America’s Cinderella’ versions of tales differ in how they present the character of Cinderella (Parsons 135). However, Cinderella in all the three versions of tales has presented as a beautiful woman. It has not changed from the traditional tales of Cinderella. Since time immemorial, Cinderella has had a presentation as a beautiful and pretty woman (Parsons 136). The character of Cinderella had depicted as a poor girl who wishes to have recognized even if it is for a short time. To be recognized by being a princess. However, the morals associated with modern Cinderella differ. The modern Cinderella is presented as a prostitute that was not happening in the ancient times (Parsons 136).
The character of Cinderella in a feminist version-“Ever after: A Cinderella story”, the character of Cinderella has changed from a traditional view to the modern view. The Cinderella in the tale is pro-feminist compared to the ancient Cinderella. Pro-feminism indicates gender changes in the modern form of Cinderella in terms of sex roles, and stereotypes (Parsons 137). The Cinderella presented in today’s tales can stand for herself in society. She is not of the ancient era where the Cinderella of that time had to conform to stereotypes that limited her actions in various situations such as standing for her stepmother after her father dies (Parsons 139). The modern Cinderella actually stands up for her stepmother after her father’s death. The Cinderella depicted in modern tales is a heroine (Parsons 139).
There is also the character of a noble woman. When she meets the prince, she manages to remain noble and finds the prince to be arrogant. She is a woman who can identify foes with a man. It is unlike the traditional Cinderella who was not supposed to notice the foes of the prince (Parsons 141). The American Cinderella shows a changed character of Cinderella in terms of its viewpoints. American Cinderella accommodates the changes that have occurred in the society in that; Cinderella had a modern life free from stereotypes and challenges of culture. There is no sexual bondage and imprisonment surrounding the ancient Cinderella (Parsons 142).
Point of view
The other plot element that has changed with time in tales about Cinderella is the point of view. The traditional Cinderella has viewing as an innocent child from a humble background who wants to become a princess someday. In the three versions of Cinderella, the modern Cinderella has viewing as a exposed. There is much freedom because of the changes in society. Today’s society is so dynamic and this is what has resulted in the changes in the character depicted in the modern tales about Cinderella (Parsons 142).
The feminist version also depicts Cinderella as a person who has sexual freedom even to engage in prostitution. The royal class individuals in the ancient times had expectation to have good morals (Parsons 141). The modern Cinderella has changed with the less emphasis that the society puts on morals. Lack of morals in society has led to changes in the point of view that Cinderella has about life. The moral standards today are not very high and so Cinderella has the freedom to do as she wishes without being viewed as an outcast (Parsons 143).
The theme of the modern versions of Cinderella is different from the theme of the ancient Cinderella. The theme of the modern Cinderella is that of an exposed woman in today’s society. The modern Cinderella can fight for her rights and she has no binding by stereotypes. The modern Cinderella shows a humble woman who can blend into their society (Parsons 143).
‘A politically correct Cinderella’ depicts a theme of unnecessary wanting to use the correct terminology in politics. The character of Cinderella in the version is a satire of how the nation focuses on the politically correct issues that lose meaning with time (Parsons 143).
In the feminist oriented version, the theme of the impact of feminism in literature changes with time. The original Cinderella is different from the modern Cinderella because of the impact of the women’s movement. The modern Cinderella has so much information on her exposure that changes her entire lifestyle. The change in lifestyle is what brings in the changes between the ancient and modern Cinderella (Parsons 143).
The ‘America’s Cinderella” depicts a Cinderella who is ready to love a prince. To Cinderella, love is blind and she will finally get a chance to become a princess. Cinderella believes in herself despite her poor background. Some of the phrases used in literature to show different themes include; love is blind, believe in yourself, and do not judge a book by its cover. These phrases have had use to bring out different themes about Cinderella (Parsons 145).
The setting in which the modern versions of Cinderella take place is very different from the ancient setting. The place, time, and social conditions are different (Parsons 145). In the feminist orientation, Cinderella has portrayed as a child free from oppression and stereotypes. The ancient setting depicts a woman as a person whose power and ability were limited. In the feminist version, Cinderella is in a position to pursue what they want as compared to the ancient version. The time is also different historically. There are also very many changes in the way people interact socially. Approaches in dressing and speaking have evolved in the modern society as compared to the traditional society (Parsons 149).
‘A politically correct Cinderella’ focuses on politics that was not an area of interest for the ancient Cinderella. This version shows how irrelevant, it is to focus so much on the politically correct issues that are likely to change with time (Parsons 150).
The America’s Cinderella approach depicts Cinderella as modern child, with an advanced social interaction. There are changes in the modes of dressing, speech, mannerisms, and customs. Therefore, America’s Cinderella has a different setting from that of the ancient Cinderella tales (Parsons 150).
The fairy tales of Cinderella have really evolved with time. The evolution has led to changes in literature. However, modern literature has tried to bring out the character of Cinderella in relation to the modern society (Parsons 154). The changes in literature occur in the plot of the tales, setting, character, point of view, and theme. The life of people changes with the changes in the society. It simply presents the evolution in the character of Cinderella in fairy tales (Parsons 154).
Parsons, Linda T. "Ella evolving: Cinderella stories and the construction of gender-appropriate behavior." Children's literature in education 35.2 (2004): 135-154.