Monday, December 5, 2011

The Cinderella Story

(Orange Sampler of straight stitches, around 2' by 4')

The Cinderella Story

Take what you like and leave the rest

The Cinderella story is found in many forms in many cultures, from Russia to China, From Ethiopia to England.  Details change from culture to culture, but the themes remain the same.  It is one of the most pervasive human myths. 
In some few cultures, the Cinderella figure is male.

There are some important elements that seem to figure highly in nearly all versions of the story.

-The Cinderella figure is often poor, always worthy, but unappreciated.  In fact, Cinderella is usually  persecuted.

-A gift is given, sometimes by a fairy godmother or jinn, sometimes as a found treasure from an unnamed source.   This gift transforms the Cinderella figure so that he/she is seen as worthy in the eyes of others.  But Cinderella is so transformed that those who might be expected to know Cinderella the best do not recognize him/her.

-However, a Handsome Prince (or Princess or nobleman or tribal leader), does recognize the special qualities of Cinderella and is instantly smitten.

-Cinderella has to leave in a hurry, or is taken away, or is lost.

-After certain trails in which the Prince or Princess proves they are worthy, Cinderella is found again and the two are united.

-They live Happily Ever After.

It is obviously a fairy tale

I believe that there is reason that this story is found in so many cultures.  Jung speaks of the Universal Human longing for love and acceptance.  This need transcends time, place, culture and gender.  We all want it.  We all need it.
Cinderella is an archetypical story of that search for Love.  In this case, romantic Love.   It is, in effect, a ‘chase’ story, chasing after Love.

And, of course, once we have found Love, there is the question of keeping it.  Most fairy tales end with “And they lived happily ever after”.
Most of us know well that ending is itself a fairy tale.  In fact, many of us might say that it is not the ending, but the beginning of the real story

The stories that take place after the ‘happily ever after’,  those stories are probably more relevant and interesting than the ‘chase’ stories.  And more helpful, too.

But that is for another blog.

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