Comparison essay: “Cinderella” stories
This assignment requires you to compare (meaning compare or contrast) two versions of the best known and most ubiquitous of all folk tales, the story of Cinderella. The two best known European versions of this tale are in your coursepack, those of Perrault and the Grimms. The coursepack also includes several other versions of the tale, selected from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. You can also locate your own version(s) of the story on the internet, in collections of folk and fairy tales found in libraries, even in picture book editions. If you do select your own version of the tale, please okay it with me to make sure it is a legitimate Cinderella story. Your first step, once you’ve chosen your stories, is to read them several times, making lists of similarities and differences, as we did in class with Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood. Next, examine your lists and select one significant area of similarity or difference, the role of the prince, perhaps, or the theme of appearance and reality. You cannot possibly write a meaningful essay if all you do is itemize every nitpicking differentce between the tales. Rather you must focus on one facet of the stories’ similarities or differences which provides insight into the tales’ deeper meaning. As you consider your focus idea more carefully, you will eventually develop a thesis which will provide a purpose for your analysis. As yourself, for example, what do these versions of the story tell us about their authors and/or the societies in which they were first told? What psychological insights do the stories offer? What do they say about a society’s attitude towards children? Do these stories express universal themes, familiar motifs or archetypal characters? Do they contain interesting or significant language? Your thesis will evolve out of your examination of one such question. Once you have a tentative thesis, you are ready to plan your essay. Decide what points you...
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