And She Lived Happily Ever After : Finding Agency in Modern Adaptations of Cinderella



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Cinderella is a worldwide known and very well-liked fairy tale. Nonetheless, the best-known versions of this story are often deemed as setting bad examples to female audiences because the protagonist is portrayed as a damsel in distress who needs to be saved by a male hero to escape a horrible domestic situation. Therefore, the story has been adapted by many modern authors to provide a more independent protagonist. This presentation will focus on a modern feminist parodic adaptation of the story, namely “Cinderella & The Glass Ceiling” by Laura Lane and Ellen Haun, to analyse the differences of agency between the main protagonist of this story when compared to the heroines in the oldest literary European versions of the story, namely Giambattista Basile’s 1634 “Cenerentola” and Charles Perrault’s 1697 “Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper”. The protagonist in Lane and Haun’s adaptation shows awareness of how difficult it is for somebody in her situation to improve their position as the rules of the society make it nearly impossible for somebody, especially a woman, to gain status by other means than being born with it. Therefore, she decides that she needs to marry the prince to escape her situation. However, once she meets the prince, she comes to realise that although by marrying him, she could get away from her stepfamily faster, it is not worth the trouble. Lane and Haun’s heroine shows a level of assertiveness that is unusual for a female protagonist in a fairy tale. She not only does not marry the prince, but she decides to get an education and start her own company to improve her social standing on her own, breaking the glass ceiling and challenging gender norms in the process.
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