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Compare and contrast any two versions of a fairytale of your choice - the Brothers Grimm and Lin Lan versions of the story commonly known as Cinderella.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast any two versions of a fairytale of your choice. Fairytales occupy a very important part of both children's literature and indeed their education. They can be fantastical and contain hidden morals which may be used by adults to warn children of dangers in society "the entire story is usually made to demonstrate a moral point" (Bottigheimer. 152). In today's society fairytales are often associated with the polished Disney movies, such has been the amount made, especially over the past decade or so. It is worth noting that this ideal is far removed from a lot of the traditional versions, and "are traditional narratives deriving mostly from oral cultures" (Watson, ???, 246). These stories or tales started off as adults tales but were "adapted for publication with the genuine intention of making them available for children" (Watson, ???, 246). Cinderella is one of the oldest and most popular children's fairytales, it has been incorporated into so many different versions and its appeal is not just restricted to western society but travels beyond all cultural boundaries and is truly universal. It is in this era of television, video and indeed the cinema the modern story of Cinderella has evolved. ...read more.

Middle

what she would like as a gift she replies that the "the first branch that brushes against your hat on your way home" [117] will do. This is in direct contrast to her stepsisters who are materially driven and ask for "Pearls and Jewels" [117]. Another common theme is sibling adversary. On a point of comparison both tales involve evil stepsisters. In the Brothers Grimm version, Cinderella has two stepsisters who are portrayed as cruel and heartless and constantly taunt Cinderella because of her dirty and unkempt appearance. This cruel behaviour is conveyed when they order Cinderella to attend to their appearance prior to the ball, knowing that Cinderella herself will be denied the privilege of going to the ball. Similarly in Lin Lan's version there is also a stepsister. This stepsister adopts the role of the cruel sibling who mistreats her sibling. This is clearly portrayed when Pock Face orchestrates her sisters' death by asking Beauty to look into the well and then proceeds to push her in and ultimately this leads to Beauty's untimely death. When Beauty comes back in her various guises her stepsister does all she can to keep her stepsister down. This is demonstrated when Pock Face kills the sparrow, cuts down the bamboo shots and throws out the bed in her attempts to suppress Beauty. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, I believe that the same essential moral of good triumphing over evil is portrayed in both versions. In the end the heroine succeeds and her evil stepsister(s) suffer the consequences of their cruel actions. Both versions portray the female lead as being beautiful but I believe that Lin Lan's version better portrays the character's inner strength and determination. It is this determination that allows her to win out in the end. The use of animal symbolism is common to both tales and I feel this serves to further engage the interest of the child. Furthermore the role of the sinister stepmother is central to both plots; however, in Lin Lan's version the stepmother suffers more than her Brothers Grimm counterpart. The Brothers Grimm version appears to be more in line with the Hollywood perception that is commonly held today. I believe it is essential in our upcoming role as teachers that we have the ability to critique various written versions of fairytales, and not just rely on the screen version that most of us are accustomed with. As our classrooms are becoming ever more multicultural it may be beneficial to consider other versions of fairytales. I feel that this assignment has been a good preparation as I had never realised the various versions of the same story that exist and how these tales can be so contrasting but yet deliver the same moral meaning. ...read more.

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