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ИНТЕРПРЕТАЦИЯ СЮЖЕТА «ЗОЛУШКА» В ЛИТЕРАТУРЕ И КИНЕМАТОГРАФЕ (СРАВНИТИЕЛЬНЫЙ АНАЛИЗ)

Андронова А. А. 1
1 МБОУ СОШ № 141
1. A modern edition of the original French text by Perrault is found in Charles Perrault, Contes, ed. Marc Soriano (Paris: Flammarion, 1989).
2. Aschenputtel, included in Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm, translated by Lucy Crane, at Project Gutenberg.
3. Berger, J. (2011). Arousal increases social transmission of information. Psychological Science, 22, 891–893. Doi:10.1177/0956797611413294
4. Bottigheimer, Ruth. (2008). “Before Contes du temps passe (1697): Charles Perrault’s Griselidis, Souhaits and Peau”. The Romantic Review, Volume 99, Number 3.
5. “Cinderella: Press Release” (PDF). The Walt Disney Company. The Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
6. Cox, M. (1893). Cinderella: Three hundred and forty-five variants of Cinderella, Catskin and Cap O’Rushes, abstracted and tabulated, with a discussion of medival analogues and notes. London: Chas. J. Clark.
7. Dawkins, R. (1989). The selfish gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
8. Haase, D. (2010). Decolonizing fairy-tale studies. M&T Marvels & Tales, 24(1), 17–38.
9. “Perrault: Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper”. Pitt.edu. 2003–10–08. Retrieved 2014–06–17.
10. Rohrich, L. (2008). “And they are still living happily ever after”: Anthropology, Cultural History and interpretation of fairy tales. (W. Mieder and S. Wienker-Piepho, Eds.). (P. Washbourne, Trans.) Burlington: The University of Vermont.
11. Zipes, J. (2002). Breaking the magic spell: Radical theories of folk & fairy tales. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.
12. Zipes, J. (2006). Why fairy tales stick: The evolution and relevance of a genre. New York: Routledge.
13. URL: http://www.grimmstories.com/en/grimm_fairy-tales/aschenputtel.html (дата обращения: 30.03.2017)

Introduction

Сinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper, (Italian: Cenerentola, French: Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre, German: Aschenputtel) is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The oldest documented version comes from China, and the oldest European version from Italy. The most popular version was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passe in 1697 [4, 175–189], and later by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

There are also a lot of films that were shot about Cinderella. The most popular in our country are the versions of Walt Disney (1950) and Disney production that was released two years ago in 2015. This fact proves that in spite of the fact that the story was written long ago, it is still popular. That is why this research is relevant. Furthermore, after the opinion poll that was made in my class, it was found out that almost everyone thinks that the versions of Cinderella have no differences. It means that people are not aware of the fact that all the versions are peculiar and have a lot of differences. Moreover, there is a lack of awareness in the minds of the audience that Cinderella is a story with “antiquity of motifs” passed down from the ancient times and kept in different versions of contemporary world.

The hypothesis is the awareness of the audience of the fact that the story about Cinderella has different versions and every writer and every film director has his own vision of the fairy tale.

Therefore, the aim that has been set before the research is to find if there are any differences between the versions that can be seen above and to present them in a table.

To verify the hypothesis the following tasks have been set:

• To find out information about the story in general (what it is about and where it was first written);

• To find out common motifs of Cinderella stories;

• To hold an opinion poll to find out if students know that there are different versions of Cinderella story;

• To choose written and filmed versions of Cinderella;

• To analyze the chosen versions of Cinderella in terms of fact-finding elements based on Cinderella plot and to present them in a table.

• To present an overview of the versions judging by concrete details found during the research.

The object of the research is the story about Cinderella in different interpretations, written and filmed.

The subject of the research is the differences between the versions of Charles Perrault, Brothers Grimm, Walt Disney and the new version of Disney Production.

This research is practically important as it can be used at the lessons of English to get acquainted with a famous fairy tale and its different versions. Moreover, the relevance is in the fact that a lot of children nowadays choose to watch a film rather than read a book, and they not even know that different versions have different details. Students should know that this story is firstly an oral story and neither writers, nor film directors knew the real first story about Cinderella, thus, to know the story better we need to compare different versions.

The paper consists of six parts. Firstly there is introduction. Then the chapter about Cinderella story in which information about the first version is presented. In this part common motifs of the story, and fairy tales as collective memory that is transferred from generation to generation are also mentioned. The third part gives a short description of the versions under analysis. The fourth part is practical as the table with differences between versions is presented. The fifth part is the conclusion and the last part is references.

The most useful for the research was the book of Jack Zipes “Why fairy tales stick” as here a fairy tales expert explores the question of why some fairy tales “work” and others do not, why the fairy tale is uniquely capable of getting under the skin of culture and staying there. Jack Zipes here makes his strongest case for the idea of the fairy tale not just as a collection of stories for children but a profoundly important genre.

The work of Marian Roalfe Cox who wrote the book “Three hundred and forty-five variants of Cinderella” was also of great importance.

I. “Cinderella” fairy tale

1. Collective Memory

Fairy tales, handed down through various cultures and over many generations, carry a great deal of cultural significance – and, according to Zipes [12, 11], as long as that continues to be true, fairy tales “will be regularly transmitted to provide relative stability to a culture” [12, 13].

They are not just a product of culture, they are a source of constancy for that same culture, and it is because of that desire for stability that Zipes (2006) believes “fairy tales stick” [12, 12]. It is through the transmission of ideas that culture is passed on and literature plays a very large role in the context of that transmission. Zipes (2006) goes on to define these ideas as “memes,” or “an informational pattern contained in the human brain…stored in its memory” [12, 4], and capable of transmission in a way similar to the transmission of genes – by copying themselves “into” the brain of another human being. Berger (2011) claims that emotional arousal – either amusement or anxiety – leads to a greater sharing of information [3, 891–893]. The context of folk and fairy tales as either amusing entertainment or anxiety-producing moral instruction could lead to their sharing at a much higher rate, which is consistent with the memetic theory originated by Richard Dawkins (1989)[7].

In order for a meme to survive, according to Zipes (2006), it must have three things: “fidelity, fecundity and longevity” [12, 5]. A meme must stay true to itself, exist in a form that is easy to pass on, and it must be able to survive relatively intact in its transmission from person to person, and culture to culture. Rohrich (2008) agrees, stating that fairy tales are a form of “collective memory” which passes down the cultural beliefs or practices of the past, enabling them to continue into the future [10, 380]. Haase (2003), rejecting the idea of a “pure fairy tale,” speaks instead of a “cross-cultural contamination” that contributes to the persistence of the fairy tale even as it crosses the boundaries of culture [8, 65]. Fairy tales may well evolve as they move through time and across cultures, but their importance is evidenced in their continued existence, their structure and their characters appearing in places we might never have imagined. It is these tales’ ability to survive the crossing of cultural boundaries that has allowed their spread around the world. Although many of the forms they have taken in their dissemination may be unfamiliar to us, following their trails will lead us to the stories we know so well.

2. Global History of the Cinderella Fairy Tale – from Oral Traditions to Written Texts

The fairy tales that so many cultures grew up hearing, have come to us through a long and complicated history, and yet arrived here virtually “intact” with a limited number of cultural variants (Zipes, 2006). Rohrich (2008) tells us that the history of a fairy tale can be mapped out in two ways: first, through “datable texts,” that can be traced to a particular culture and time. Second, there is the “antiquity” of motifs and themes that went their way through otherwise historically and culturally disparate tales [10, 369]. Rohrich (2008) assures us that the pattern we think we see as we examine these tales is indeed present, and it is this pattern that enables us to trace a tale’s origin in spite of the lack of a ‘paper trail.’ Cinderella, like all literary fairy tales, arose from an earlier oral tradition of stories (Zipes, 2006) that recurred in cultures around the world – but with certain cultural variations. Yet in spite of these cultural differences, they still show a great deal of similarity according to Cox (1893), in her discussion of 345 then-known variants of the Cinderella story. With the number of known variants now numbering well over 700 (Dundes, 1988), the oldest known written account of the Cinderella story – found in China– is traced by Bettelheim (1986) through eleven centuries and numerous versions, as he discusses both cultural meanings and psychological implications of the stories on their audiences. Andrew Lang, a 19th century fairy tale historian, noted in his introduction to Cox’s book the one thing that every version had in common was “a fundamental idea of Cinderella [as]…a person in a mean or obscure position, [who] by means of supernatural assistance, makes a good marriage” [6, 7]. This is not a tale from a “simple” people. “One thing is plain,” Lang notes, “a naked and shoeless race could not have invented Cinderella”. Wherever Cinderella originated, the culture of her “birth” was clearly one with a certain level of sophistication and development. Her story gives us a picture of an inventive young woman who finds herself in harsh circumstances, yet overcomes them through intelligence and a variety of often-magical means.

Tatar (1999) agrees that Cinderella is not a single tale, but “an entire array of stories with a persecuted heroine who may respond to her situation with defiance, cunning, ingenuity, self pity, anguish or grief” [6, 9]. She goes by many names as well, including Yeh-Hsien in China, Cenerentola in Italy, Cendrillon in France, Kongjwi in Korea, Cat-Skin in England or Rashin Coatie in Scotland, and Aschenputtel in Germany – and she is occasionally a he, as in the tale of “The Irish Cinderlad” (Tatar, 1999). Giardinelli (2001) claims that even the Harry Potter books were the result of a reimagining of the Cinderella narrative.

Yet, within this multitude of tales, there are common threads that tie them all together. In this next section, some of those images and story structures that are common within nearly all of the Cinderella tales will be examined.

3. Common Motifs of the Cinderella Stories

According to Tatar (1999), there is a “basic plot structure” that each Cinderella version has in common, in spite of the differences of the actions. She (or he) alternately tends cows or sheep, cleans house, or picks lentils or peas from the ash of the fires she tends. Her story as it echoes around the world, Tatar (1999) contends, seems to be fated to receive endless exclamations of “that’s not how I heard it” [6, 10], as one version after another is uncovered. A written version dating to 9th century CE China is the oldest discovered to date, and contains one of the most common of all the many motifs of Cinderella’s story – her impossibly small feet. Grimm’s 19th century German version pays homage to those small feet, as the stepsisters vie to cut off heel or toe to force their too-large feet into the tiny slipper. Believed to have originated during a time when the Chinese tradition of binding the feet of noblewomen was in its beginnings, this motif has followed Cinderella through most of her written history. In spite of the fact that China is the source of the oldest written version of the tale, it is clear that there is no known “original version” among the oral tales that preceded it.

Aarne-Thompson’s (Ashliman, 1987) numbering system for categorizing folk and fairy tales divides the Cinderella tales into two simple types. The first type begins in the way that those in the West find most familiar: a young girl who has lost her mother is robbed of her standing in her household by her father’s new wife, and becomes a servant to her new family. In the second type, the young girl’s dying mother extracts a promise from her husband (typically a king) that he will only marry a woman who meets some certain criteria (is as beautiful as she, fits her ring, etc.), and when the daughter grows up she is the only one who measures up. When the father presses her to marry him, she runs away, disguising herself in rags, and hiding as a servant in another king’s castle. At this point, the story returns to the structure of type A, and continues along more familiar lines (Ashliman, 1987). All of these stories carry similar motifs (themes) in spite of their divergent initial situations, and according to Ashliman (1987), they constitute variations on the same tale. Propp (2008) claims that these same subjects and motifs are traceable to some extent through all of the variants of the Cinderella tale.

According to Lang [6, 7], the motifs present in one form or another through nearly all versions of the Cinderella tale include: a dead mother and absent or inadequate father; a stepmother and stepsisters who mistreat the heroine; supernatural help to gain what is lacked; a vow that must be kept; an identifying object (typically a shoe or a ring); the revelation of a secret; the transformation of the heroine; and foes punished (or forgiven). Some of the major variants found for the story include: supernatural aid coming from her dead mother; the dead mother seen as an animal which helps; an animal sent by the dead mother to aid the heroine; and, as in Perrault’s story, some of the newer versions have a fairy godmother.

Ancient stories, like the Cinderella tale, were later adapted by European authors such as Basile (Italy), Perrault (France), and the Grimms (Germany)—even Shakespeare’s King Lear retells the story of Cinderella for a new audience (Dundes, 1988) – for the purpose of entertainment or moral education, for specific audiences and times, as were all such tales. From the late 19th century to the present day, the tales were again adapted into short stories or film scripts, and disseminated to an ever-growing audience (Rohrich, 2008). Through examination of the variations of this single tale, found in recognizable form in cultures around the world, we can begin to understand just how these stories began their evolution, establishing an analysis that will continue as fairy tales moved onto 20th century television screens.

II. FAIRY TALE CREATION

1. The Vision of Writers

As it has already been mentioned, the first fairy tale about Cinderella was created in China in the 9th century CE. Thus, despite the fact that Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault wrote it, the idea of the story was not their own, they just wrote the story in their vision with some elements that only their story possesses.

A fairy-tale is one of the traditional genres of folklore, formed during centuries, which contributed greatly to the development of literature, but it exhausted its creative supplies after a certain period of time. Epochal changes brought other mentality and other demands. The process of creation of fairy-tales was terminated under the influence of this and other factors. That is why we have so many variants of the story about Cinderella and if we write in the search engine: “Stories about Cinderella”, we will see hundreds of different variants even where Cinderella goes to school, or where she is a criminal and so on, and so forth.

Nevertheless, modernity could not have made any change to the fairy-tale, as a completed system, without violating the rules of the genre. So it was left unchanged, as the relics of the past. That is why the stories written by Charles Perrault and Brothers Grimm are still popular nowadays. As for innovations, making the characters and situations modern, these are signs of a literary fairy-tale, which has a concrete author and is the genre of literature, not of folklore. Therefore, these classical versions were chosen to see the story of Cinderella without any modern changes.

2. The Vision of the Film Directors

To begin with, if we speak about fairy tales, there is some similarity in what writers and film directors create. They take one oral story, which is not their own creation, put some changes on it and show it to people. Thus, every film director is a writer in some sense.

It is often said that every director of the film has his or her own “vision”. But what is the meaning of the term, is still unclear.

In general, the vision of the film director is a signature of the director in a broader sense. Now, let us find out the definition of this term in Cambridge Dictionary: “an idea or image in your mind”. Thus, every director sees the book or the script that he is going to film in a different way and has his own idea.

As we go deep, “vision” is really an amalgamation of many things:

1) A film-maker’s conceptualization of a story which when presented to an audience, feels novel. By novel, we mean an idea which has never been expressed or filmed before.

2) A film-maker’s ability to play with non-conventional techniques such as:

• Non-linear screenplay;

• Past and present shown in parallel timelines;

• Continuous uncut shots spanning all possible perspectives;

• Transitioning from one scene without cutting projecting an unsettling feeling of fragility and urgency;

• The usage of colour palettes to signify various moods, themes or times;

• A hot and ruthless world inhabited with people having similar personalities.

3) A film-maker’s understanding of the audience’s psyche.

Vision is so much more and so much subtle that you can feel it and understand it but it is impossible to measure it because it is an undefinable entity which exists as an underlying force never revealing itself willingly but making its presence felt when you least expect it.

A Visionless film would be tiring to watch. More often than not scenes will not make sense and their purpose would not be served. There would hardly be any meaning or direction to the screenplay. It will either enrage you or make you numb so that you stop caring about the characters at all.

III. THE COMPARISSON ANALYSIS OF DIFFERENT “CINDERELLA” VERSIONS

1. Opinion Poll

To find out the relevance of the research an opinion poll about Cinderella story was held at school number 141.

Students were given a questionnaire with three questions:

1) Do you know who Cinderella is?

2) How many versions do you know?

3) Do you know any differences between the versions?

Fifty students in two classes at the age of 16–17 have answered these questions.

The results of the poll showed that about 50% of the students do not even know who Cinderella is. 40% of students know who she is but do not know that different versions of the story exist. And only 10 per cent of students know some Cinderella versions and some differences between them.

2. The Table with Compared Elements

Elements

Charles

Perrault

Brothers Grimm

Walt Disney (1950)

New Version (2015) of Disney Production

Begins ‘once upon a time’

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Father remarries? Why?

Stepsisters

Yes – ‘most proud and haughty woman that was ever known’.

Reason for marriage not specified.

Unnamed stepsisters.

Yes

1st wife dies from illness.

Marries again within a year.

Unnamed stepsisters.

Yes – feels his daughter needs a mother’s care.

Stepsisters are Drizella

and Anastasia.

Yes

1st wife dies because of an illness. Marries again as his daughter needs mother’s care. Stepsisters are Drizella and Anastasia.

Death of father

No – Becomes a background figure – entirely governed by new wife.

No

Features throughout the story. Brings Aschenputtel the sprig that becomes the magical hazel tree that watches over her. Attempts to find the unknown girl who continues to escape from the prince into their home.

Yes

Father dies an ‘untimely death’

Yes

Father dies while he is away at his business trip

Stepmother and step sisters treat Cinderella poorly and make her a slave.

Yes

Domestic tasks

Yes

Kitchen Maid

Yes

House Servant

Yes

House Servant

Nickname? Reason?

Cendrillon / Cinderbreech

When finished work she would sit down in the chimney corner on the cinders.

Aschenputtel

Has no bed so is forced to lie by the hearth among the ashes that are dirty and dusty every night.

Cinderella

Reason not specified.

Cinderella as when she brings breakfast for her stepmother and stepsisters her face is in cinders. Thus, as her name is Ella they add “cinder’ to it and it becomes “Cinderella”.

Purpose for royal celebration?

Length of celebrations?

Not known why the prince holds the ball.

Runs over 2 nights

Son is to choose his bride from those that attend.

3 day feast.

King wants grandchildren and so holds a ball in the hope that his son will meet his future wife.

1 night.

The prince decides to hold a ball to which every woman is invited as he wants to find the girl that he has met in the forest

Allowed to go to the ball?

No.

Stepsisters declare that it would make people laugh to see someone such as Cinderbreech at the ball.

Only if she completes the task of picking 1 then 2 basins of peas out of the ashes in 1 hour.

Calls to her bird friends who help her to complete this task.

Still is not allowed to go.

Only if she completes all her usual tasks + additional tasks and has something appropriate to wear.

Her friends the mice transform her mother’s dress into a ball gown using stolen materials.

Stepmother sees dress and is furious as she has stolen their things.

Not allowed to go.

Ella takes her old mother’s dress and makes some changes to it. But her stepmother doesn’t allow her to go to the ball as her dress is too old-fashioned and she doesn’t want anyone to know that Ella is her relative. She tears her dress up and her daughters help her with it.

Friends (protective figures) that help Cinderella to achieve what she wishes.

Fairy godmother

Bird that has built its nest in the tree above her mother’s grave. Brings her whatever she wishes for.

Mice – Jack and Gus

Birds

Dog – Bruno

Fairy godmother

Fairy godmother

Appearance of magical figures

Yes

Fairy godmother

Hazel tree above mother’s grave.

Yes

Fairy godmother

Yes

Fairy godmother

Transformations made by magical figure

Pumpkin to gold coach

6 mice to 6 grey horses

A large rat to coachman

6 lizards to 6 footmen

Cendrillon’s ugly clothes to a beautiful silver and goldballgown + pair of glass slippers.

Grants Aschenputtel’s wish for a beautiful gold and silver dress + golden slippers.

Pumpkin to a coach

4 mice to grey horses

A grey horse to a driver

A dog to a coachman

Cinderella’s ruined dress into a blue and white ball gown.

Pumpkin into a golden carriage

Mice into four white horses

Lizards into two footmen

A goose into a coachman

Fairy godmother changes her dress to a blue one and presents her with glass slippers

Conditions imposed?

Must leave ball by midnight as all that has been transformed will return to its original form at this time.

No

Must leave ball by midnight as all that has been transformed will return to its original form at this time.

Must leave ball by midnight as all that has been transformed will return to its original form at this time.

Prince is besotted with Cinderella, they dance all night

Yes

Yes –

His reply to anyone who asks her to dance is ‘the lady is dancing with me’.

Yes

Yes

Reason for departure – leaves prince.

Nears midnight and must be home before all transformations return to their original form.

Prince tries to walk her home, she flees as she does not want him to discover her true identity.

1st night: escapes into Pigeon house.

2nd night: escapes up pear tree.

Both times slips back into usual clothes and position in house before the family and prince discover her.

Nears midnight and must be home before all transformations return to their original form.

Nears midnight and must be home before all transformations return to their original form.

Loses slipper whilst departing from ball.

Type of slipper?

Yes, glass slipper.

Yes, golden slipper.

Loses it on the 3rd night when departing as the king tries to slow her down.

Yes, glass slipper.

Yes, glass slipper

Prince will marry the lady who fits slipper

Yes

All ladies must try the shoe on.

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sisters try on glass slipper – How do they try to make it fit?

Yes

Sisters try to squash feet into slippers but their feet are too big.

Yes

Sister 1: Cuts toe off -fits

Sister 2: Cuts heel off – fits

as when they are queen they will not need to go on foot!

Prince accepts them both in turn as bride but on the way to palace magical birds alert him to their fraud.

Yes

Sisters try to squash feet into slippers but their feet are too big.

Yes

Sisters try to squash feet into slippers but their feet are too big.

Cinderella tries on glass slipper. Does it fit?

Tries on slipper.

Fits perfectly.

Presents matching slipper from her pocket.

Has to clean herself up before she is allowed to try on slipper.

Fits perfectly.

No

Stepmother trips the Grand Duke who is holding the slipper – smashes everywhere.

Cinderella presents the glass slipper from her pocket to the Grand Duke. – Fits perfectly.

She is forbidden to try a slipper, but she doesn’t listen to her and the prince puts a slipper on her foot herself and it fits.

Marries Prince

Yes

Yes

Friendly bird goes with Aschenputtel.

Yes

Immediately

Yes

Fate of sisters

Beg forgiveness from Cendrillon which she accepts. 2 sisters move into the palace and marry 2 lord of the royal court.

Not specified in many versions.

Some say Aschenputtel’s friends the birds pick out the step sisters eyes – and they were punished with blindness for the rest of their days.

Not detailed.

Not detailed.

Concludes with ‘they lived happily ever after’

No – Ends with poem about the moral of the story.

No

Yes

No

The Analysis of the Table

The four versions of “Cinderella” were taken under analysis.

Two of them are written, and two are filmed. The results are presented in a table that you can see above. Different criteria were chosen to compare and contrast these versions.

The first criterion is the beginning of the story. All the versions except the version of Brothers’ Grimm begin with the line “Once upon a time…”. But the Grimms’ version starts with the words: “There was once a rich man whose wife lay sick, and when she felt her end drawing near she called to her only daughter to come near her bed, and said, “Dear child, be pious and good, and God will always take care of you, and I will look down upon you from heaven, and will be with you [13].”

The second criterion is about the father of the family and stepsisters. In all the versions he remarries again but in written versions the stepsisters have no names in comparison with the films in which they are called Drizella and Anastasia. Moreover, the third criterion also mentions the father who dies only in films. According to books he is alive.

The fourth criterion is about her position in the house. In all the versions he is treated badly, almost as a slave and she is made to fulfill all domestic tasks.

The fifth criterion is about a nickname and its reason. In filmed versions Cinderella has not got a nickname, but in Charles Perrault’s version her name is Cendrillon or Cinderbreech, because when she finished work she would sit down in the chimney corner on the cinders. And in Brothers’ Grimm version her name is Aschenputtel, because she has no bed so she is forced to lie by the hearth among the ashes that are dirty and dusty every night. In all the filmed versions she is called “Cinderella”. The last film (2015) has an interesting story about her name. It says that originally her name was Ella, but her face was covered in cinders. That is why her mother-in-law called her so and her stepsisters simply repeated this nickname.

The sixth criterion is the purpose for royal celebration and its length. It turned out that every version has a different feast.

The seventh criterion is about allowing to go to the ball. In all the versions Cinderella is not allowed to go to the ball, because of the tasks that her stepsisters and stepmother have prepared for her. In the filmed version the question of clothes also arises, in the first version it is solved by mice who transform her mother’s dress into a new one, in the last version she does it herself.

Of course, in every version she is not alone and some magical or real creatures help her with some difficulties. In all the versions, except Brothers’ Grimm one, she has a got a fairy godmother, but in their version it is the bird that brings her everything she wants.

Magical figures usually do different transformations for Cinderella to go to the ball. But they have some differences.

The slipper of Cinderella that she loses is made of glass, but Brothers Grimm tell us that her slipper was golden. The prince who has fallen in love with her tries to find his beloved woman using the size of her shoe. Everybody wants to be the chosen future princess, that is why even the stepsisters try to fit into the shoe and here the Grimm brothers tell us even bloody details: one cuts her toe and the other cuts her heel.

It is clear that in the end the real Cinderella is found and the Prince marries her.

The further fate of sisters is not detailed in films, but books say that they beg for forgiveness (Perrault). The Grimm brothers come here again with some bloody event, the bird picks out their eyes.

The conclusion is almost the same in all the versions and only the one of Walt Disney assures us that they lived happily ever after.

Thus, 20 fact-finding elements were found out.

1. The Overview of the Versions

4.1. Charles Perrault’s Version

It begins as every fairy tale with the words “Once upon a time…” and tells us a story of a miserable girl.

Nevertheless, in comparison with the films (which are more popular with children nowadays) this version has some interesting details. For example, stepsisters don have any names and the father is just a background figure entirely governed by his wife. But still in this version he is alive. Moreover, there is no special aim thy the prince decides to hold a ball, in all the other versions his aim is to find a wife but here he just holds the ball without any particular reason. This ball runs over 2 days. And this fact may be also interesting for the children.

Speaking about the slipper, in this version Cinderella has the other one to match in her pocket. What concerns the stepsisters, here they ask for forgiveness, even beg and they are forgiven and marry two lords.

To conclude, this is a classical fairy tale that can be read for small children. This version has no frightening details (in comparison with the version of Brothers Grimm).

4.2. Brothers’ Grimm Version

This version is the most peculiar one and even begins in a different way with the words: “There was once a rich man whose wife…”. Here the father of the family is already not a background figure (we need to pay attention to the fact that this version was written later than the version of Charles Perrault, of course we cannot draw a conclusion that they used this story to write their own, but we cannot deny this fact), he is a part of the plot and helps his daughter.

This part is also the most hard for the main heroine as she even has no bed and is forced to sleep by the hearth among the ashes.

The celebration here is the longest one and lasts three days; moreover, this version has no fairy godmother. Of course there are some magical creatures that help Cinderella, such as a hazel tree above her mother’s grave and a bird, still, this version seems to be a rather unusual one. Even her slippers are not made of glass, but of gold.

Furthermore, there are no conditions when Cinderella goes to the ball, she is not meant to come back home till midnight and her clothes is not going to change. She just simply does not want the prince to find out her true identity and escapes losing her golden shoe.

From this moment begins the bloodiest part of the story. Trying to fit the shoe and marry the prince Cinderella’s sisters cut off a toe and a heel. It seems strange but the prince is not able to recognize his love and only thanks to magical birds he realizes that this is fraud. Poor sisters are punished by the birds that pick out their eyes and they are blind for the rest of their lives.

To conclude, this version is not for susceptible and impressionable children as it has a lot of bloody details. Still this version is more interesting for those who already know the classical story and wants to find out more.

4.3. Walt Disney’s Version

This version is a rather popular filmed version. As we have already mentioned every film director has his own vision and the vision of Walt Disney himself is easy to realize watching his movie.

Of course, creating this film the written versions could be used by him, still his version has some peculiarities. For example, the stepsisters have names Drizella and Anastasia and the reason why the father marries again is because, in his opinion, his daughter needs a mother’s care. We need to pay attention to the fact that this is the first version where the father dies, thus, the author finds this character not a very important one in comparison with the stepsisters that got names.

The ball here lasts only one night and is held because the king wanted his son to find a future wife.

Cinderella goes to the ball with the help of fairy godmother as in the version of Charles Perrault, still Disney thinks that there are not enough magical figures in the story that is why he adds mice, birds and a dog.

The moment when Cinderella’s dress is changing is the most favorite one of Walt Disney, thus, he tried to make it as more fascinating as he could and he succeeded in it.

Speaking about all the other details, they fully coincide with Charles Perrault’s version without any bloody parts. He finds the fate of the stepmother and the stepsister not very significant.

To conclude, Walt Disney created a wonderful, kind and fascinating fairy tale, adding some details that make his story not similar to other versions, still his story resembles more the fairy tale of Charles Perrault.

4.4. The New Version of Disney Production

After the death of Walt Disney his company continued creating films and in 2015 they released a new movie about Cinderella.

Of course, this fairy tale resembles the previous film still it also has some peculiarities and the film director, Kenneth Charles Branagh, is different and has his own vision.

For example, he explains the question why her name is Cinderella. At first, her name is Ella, but due to the fact that her face is usually dirty and is covered with cinders, she is called Cinderella.

In this version the prince has already met Cinderella before the ball and holds this ball only to find this wonderful lady that he has met in the forest.

There are birds or a dog that helps her, still Fairy godmother finds some animals to turn into a carriage, horses and so on.

The future of the couple is not detailed.

To conclude, this version is also an interesting and wonderful one, and it wins as it is the most modern one and the film has a lot of special effects. Nevertheless, the author created a new version that is different from the previous one and the written ones.

Conclusion

Any fairy tale as a genre of oral or written folklore reveals to be a valuable source of cultural heritage of a nation and contributes greatly to the upbringing process in the society. Literature and cinematography (as a form of modern visual art) play a great role in transmission of its cultural message from one generation to another.

In Russia the story of Cinderella is well-known among all generations of people. Parents tell their children this story all over the world. However, an opinion poll that was held among the students of school № 141 showed that not all pupils in Russia know who she is. Although, if they are explained that this is “Золушка”, they remember her, still not knowing that this story has different versions and who the authors of the versions are. Thus, the research is of great help for students who would like to get acquainted with the story closer.

The object of the research was the story about Cinderella in different interpretations, written and filmed.

The subject of the research was the differences between the versions of Charles Perrault, Brothers Grimm, Walt Disney and the new version of Disney Production.

The hypothesis of the research is verified as it was proved that this story has different versions and every writer and film director has his own vision of the events in the fairy tale.

The tasks that had been set were fulfilled:

1) Information about the story in general (what it is about and where it was first written) was found out. The oldest known written account of the Cinderella story was found in China. Thus, it is an antique story with lots of common motifs found in different versions in different countries.

2) Common motifs of Cinderella stories were found out. According to Lang, the motifs present in one form or another through nearly all versions of the Cinderella tale include: a dead mother and absent or inadequate father; a stepmother and stepsisters who mistreat the heroine; supernatural help to gain what is lacked; a vow that must be kept; an identifying object (typically a shoe or a ring); the revelation of a secret; the transformation of the heroine; and foes punished (or forgiven). Some of the major variants found for the story include: supernatural aid coming from her dead mother; the dead mother seen as an animal which helps; an animal sent by the dead mother to aid the heroine; and, as in Perrault’s story, some of the newer versions have a fairy godmother.

3) An opinion poll to find out if students know that there are different versions of Cinderella story was held. The results of the poll showed that about 50% of the students do not even know who Cinderella is. 40% of students know who she is but do not know that different versions of the story exist. And only 10 per cent of students know some Cinderella versions and some differences between them.

4) Two written and two filmed versions of Cinderella were chosen (Charles Perrault, Brothers Grimm, Walt Disney and the new version of Disney Production).

5) During the research a table with compared elements was made. As it shows there are 18 fact-finding elements in the research which were compared and contrasted. Almost every element in the story was exposed to numerous changes, nevertheless, the central element is the situation with the shoe (which is the climax event in the story), on the contrary, has survived without any transformations. The girt loses her slipper in every version. It can be explained by the fact that each artist whether he is a writer, a film director or a screenwriter possesses his own vision of this ancient story and aims to interpret it according to his view.

6) An overview of the versions judging by concrete details found during the research is presented at the end. Through the analysis of fact-finding elements based on 4 different interpretations (2 American, 1 German and 1 French) of the fairy tale’s plot, it was found out that Charles Perrault’s version is a classical fairy tale that can be read to small children. This version has no frightening details (in comparison with the version of Brothers Grimm). It is also important to mention that Brothers’ Grimm version is the most peculiar one and is not for susceptible and impressionable children due to the fact that it has a lot of bloody details. Still this version is more interesting for those who already know the classical story and wants to find out more. Walt Disney created a wonderful, kind and fascinating fairy tale, adding some details that make his story not similar to other versions, still his story resembles more the fairy tale of Charles Perrault. The version of Disney Production is also an interesting and wonderful one, and it wins as it is the most modern one and the film has a lot of special effects. Nevertheless, the author created a new version that is different from the previous one and the written ones.

This research is practically important as it can be used at the lessons of English to get acquainted with a famous fairy tale and its different versions.


Библиографическая ссылка

Андронова А. А. ИНТЕРПРЕТАЦИЯ СЮЖЕТА «ЗОЛУШКА» В ЛИТЕРАТУРЕ И КИНЕМАТОГРАФЕ (СРАВНИТИЕЛЬНЫЙ АНАЛИЗ) // Международный школьный научный вестник. – 2017. – № 5-1. ;
URL: https://school-herald.ru/ru/article/view?id=395 (дата обращения: 09.08.2022).

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