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Perrault vs Grimm Cinderella

2016 January 15. Friday.

Perrault’s Cinderella and the Grimm brothers’ Cinderella differ in their writing format and gruesomeness. Furthermore, Perrault and the Grimm brothers have a different background from which they are writing. In this paper, we will argue that the Grimm brothers have a superior story that is more memorable and yields a larger impact on the reader.

Grimm’s version is more memorable partly because it is more difficult to read. While Perrault’s version is divided into short, clean paragraphs with the occasional break for dialogue, Grimm’s has much longer, less friendly paragraphs with out-of-the-way poems/chants. This difference may seem subtle, but it makes a significant change in how approachable the text is, and therefore who will read it for what reasons. Grimm’s more daunting read will take self-will to get through, so the reader will remember it better. Furthermore, the rhyming chants are something that get stuck in the reader’s head and force her to think about the story all day.

These stories also vary in gruesomeness. The most grisly event in Perrault’s version is the scooping of the pumpkin. But in Grimm’s version, one of the sisters cuts her toe off to fit her foot in the shoe and then a bird chants about it. The other sister cuts some of her heel off to fit her foot in the shoe, which the bird also chants about. At the wedding, both of the sisters get their eyes pecked out. These gory details make the reader grimace as she reads, and gives it some sticking power. The reader may be mistreating her little step-sister when she gets a mental image of birds pecking out eyes. It’s difficult to ignore such a thought.

Lastly, the Grimm brothers have a significantly different background than Perrault. Perrault was born in 1623 and died in 1703. The grimm brothers were born in 1785 and 1786, a lifetime after Perrault’s death. In that period, the steamship and spinning Jenny were invented and the printing press became commonplace. These authors not only lived in dramatically different worlds, but also had different experiences and lives. The Grimm brothers spent a lot of time hearing and collecting fairy tales, while Perrault seemingly wrote his from scratch. The Grimm brothers were born in Germany, while Perrault was born to a wealthy family in France. One might argue that the Grimm brothers lived a life much closer to what is now a modern life, and that his stories should bear more weight because of this.

Public Domain Dedication.