Contrasting Feelings in Perrault's Cinderella and Grimms' Aschenputtle

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Charles Perrault's "Cinderella" and Wilhelm and Jacob Grimms' "Aschenputtel" both feature a mistreated, yet kind heroine who, despite overwhelming obstacles, attends a ball and marries a prince. However, the similarities between these two versions of the fairy tale end here. While Perrault's version emphasizes the moral and materialistic concerns of his middle-class audience, Grimms' focus is on the harsh realities of life associated with the peasant culture.

Perrault immediately connects with the materialistic values of his middle-class audience as he describes in detail the pampered lifestyle of Cinderella's step-sisters who "lay in rooms with inlaid floors upon beds of the newest fashion" (Classics, 17). Once invited
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Perrault's version is represented in the Walt Disney tale most familiar to us. It evokes warm feelings as it takes the listener back to childhood days. Cinderella was a beautiful, well-mannered lady of "rare goodness" after which all middle-class girls could model themselves.

While Perrault's "Cinderella", with its happy ending, may bring warmth to our hearts, Grimms' "Aschenputtle" leaves the reader feeling cold. In fact, from the opening paragraph, the tale is morbid and likewise begins with the death of Aschenputtle's mother, which is not mentioned in Perrault's "Cinderella." The feeling is that death and the harsh realities of life were commonplace in the peasant culture of which the Grimms were fascinated. Grimms' peasant audience could relate with the woes of Aschenputtle, who "went every day to her mother's grave and wept", or the brutal desperation of her step-sisters who cut off parts of their feet, hoping to fit them in the fated slipper (Classics, 60).

Grimms' fascination with the peasant culture is also evidenced in the magic of nature found in "Aschenputtle." While Perrault focused on the step-sisters' pampered lifestyle, of which the middle-class could relate, the Grimms focused on talking birds and other wonders of nature. It was the magic of Ashenputtle's bitter tears that caused a white bird to rise up from a fig tree and grant her

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