Cinderella Wants to Decide: A Feminist Study of Several Versions of This Fairy Tale Over the Years

Quílez Royo, Marta
Herrero Granado, María Dolores (dir.)

Universidad de Zaragoza, FFYL, 2014
Filología Inglesa y Alemana department, Filología Inglesa area

Máster Universitario en Estudios Textuales y Culturales en Lengua Inglesa

Abstract: Abstract The literary fairy tale, present along history since the Middle Ages, is a device that portrays the ideology, politics, values, and morals of a society. However, they have also worked as an acculturation device for many centuries now. The language used in these tales is a key element, for it is selected by the tale collector or the tale writer with a purpose. A clear example is the fairy tale "Cinderella". People with power, men in the majority of cases, have articulated some specific discourse in order to reproduce or, rather, create, a reality in which men are strong while women are weak, men are active while women are passive, men are the leaders while women are the followers, just to mention a few dichotomies. Male collectors of fairy tales such as Basile, the brothers Grimm, and Charles Perrault have used their power as storytellers to reproduce a hierarchical structure of society, namely, patriarchy. These biased ideas on women, which the literary fairy tale has helped spread, have negatively affected the formation of gender identity in young people for a long time, since gender identity is socially constructed. Feminist scholarship denounced this biased discourse, and has tried to subvert it in different ways. While some female authors, such as Emma Donoghue and Tanith Lee, have re-read traditional fairy tales and written their own versions, other feminist authors have created brand new fairy tales. In all of them, though, the female figure is portrayed in ways which widely differ from the representations that can be found in tales written or collected by male authors. As this Master thesis will try to show, fairy tales are not as inoffensive as one might think at first. They have been a political weapon which leaves women in a position of weakness and dependence, under a powerful and controlling male figure. However, femininist scholarship, and by extension the feminist re-writing of traditional fairy tales, has denounced this phenomenon and has tried hard to fight it.

Free keyword(s): cinderella ; fairy tales
Tipo de Trabajo Académico: Trabajo Fin de Master

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