The Tale Of A Modern Fairy Tale Essay

750 Words Oct 3rd, 2016 3 Pages
The Tale of a Modern Fairy Tale

In Emma Donoghue’s The Tale of the Shoe, the classic Cinderella tale gets put under the microscope; the author tests the way the reader views the classic fairy tale. Donoghue challenges and dismantles perhaps overused fairy tale archetypes by using vivid imagery, figurative language, and specific word choices throughout the work. By retelling the Cinderella story in this manner, Donoghue is able to force the reader to be critical of fairy tales and create a fresh story for new audiences.

The strategic imagery that Emma Donoghue uses throughout The Tale of the Shoe creates layers on top of previous images used in the piece. The imagery that the author uses often creates a sense of discord; that something is wrong with the image the reader is presented with. This in turn allows the reader to compare Donoghue’s writing to conventional fairy tales. “The prince hovered at my elbow like an autumn leaf ready to fall,” (Donoghue 6) for example, destroys the established model of a prince. By comparing the prince to an autumn leaf the prince is portrayed as fragile and inconsistent, as opposed to the robust, gallant prince that is usually seen in stories. The use of autumn imagery in this line also links the prince to death, whereas the prince in traditional Cinderella stories often symbolizes a new life. A second example of effective imagery can be seen in the following line, “I danced like a clockwork ballerina and smiled until my face was…

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