The Glass Slipper III

February 16, 2011


Maxfield Parrish

The marriage of the Prince and Cinderella was a match made in heaven as they were equals. The Prince was meant to choose a maiden from the Kingdom but was not in love with anyone until he met Cinderella.  He saw in her qualities of virtue, sincerity and an unaware beauty that made her unparalleled to anyone in the land.  Cinderella danced with him the whole night and unaware of his material wealth, she fell in love with his unassuming, honorable and kind demeanor.

The story of Cinderella is a metaphor about the beleaguered underdog rising to the top while solely dependent on the use of their bravery and imagination. Cinderella is an archetypal example of internal fortitude that defies the boundaries of Disney packaging. She exists in everyone no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation or creed.  Her ability to be in an undesirable lifestyle and in a state of forced servitude all while maintaining humility and exalting the glory of her ideals above her circumstances is what made her a born princess. The robes at the end of the story were an external display of her regality. The Prince and Cinderella were governed by faith inverse of fear and that is why they got their happy ending.

The tale takes the reader on a journey that emphasizes the endless possibilities one can have through progressively transforming ideas into reality while maintaining one’s virtuous self.  In essence, you get what you reflect.

Happily Ever After can and will be attained for those who live by the means and codes of their ‘happily ever after’.  And for those who think the idea a cliché, a naïve thought process, a child’s outlook on things, well, you are right to the extent because you are what you believe.  The story of Cinderella teaches us that our beliefs and our ability to hold on to our ideals is what builds our reality and brings to the forefront the actuality of living a happy life.




The Glass Slipper II

February 16, 2011


The following list is a breakdown of some of the symbolism in the story.

Relationship w/Animals: Cinderella bonds with the animals in the story in such a way that emphasizes her connection with the world. She has not allowed society or the external factors to sway her inherent good nature.

Mice: The symbolism of the mice in the story is that of strength in small packages.  In Cinderella, although the mice are physically small, they have more courage and sense to aid the heroin. In Ancient Greece, white mice were kept underneath the temple of the Greek God Apollo, as they were revered as sacred to the Sungod. He was also referred to as ‘Apollo Smintheus,’ which means Apollo the Mouse.  The mice are an external manifestation of Cinderella’s own characteristics of strength, existing inside a vessel appearing to be helpless.

Birds: Are symbolic of freedom and a care-free nature.

Clock: At the beginning of the film, her singing is interrupted by the dinging of the bell. The bell is society and the illusion of time and confinement. The bell is the first external conflict Cinderella overcomes.  As the bell rings, Cinderella says, “Oh that clock, kill joy! I hear you come on get up you say! Time to start another day, even he orders me around. Well there’s one thing, they can’t order me to stop dreaming! And perhaps someday the dreams that I wish will come true.”

Singing: The songs are sort of like mantras that keep Cinderella calm and help project her inner voice and vision. It also connects her with her dreams, along with the goodness of the world.

Cat (Lucifer): Not only is he the pet of the Step-mother and sisters but his name in the English Bible is the name given to the Devil.  The word Lucifer is Latin for ‘light-bearer’ and refers to the Fallen Angel. Throughout the Disney Cinderella, she is constantly being challenged by the smug cat, whose lazy and entitled demeanor is a direct reflection of his masters. Despite his meaningless and comfortable cruelty, Cinderella presses on despite any temptation for revenge.

Step-mom and two sisters: They are symbolic of jealousy, pride, control, greed, possessiveness, supercilious adulation, and corruption.

Glass slipper: This is symbolic of the transparency of Cinderella’s character. The uncommonness of a glass slipper directly parallels with Cinderella’s uniqueness as well as her pristine purity.  The glass slipper is the only thing that the Fairy Godmother did not transform from anything; they were a thing of magic.  The carriage and horsemen were all things converted from a household object, which is why at the stroke of midnight they assumed their natural state.  Cinderella dances, runs at the stroke of midnight and loses her glass slipper after the ball and the shoes do not break. The usage of something so fragile and incredibly brittle, as a viable material to be worn on the feet, is symbolic of strength through vulnerability, grace and everlasting beauty through the straits of adversity.

Fairy Godmother: She is the universe that responds to Cinderella’s inner voice.  In the Disney Cinderella, the first time Cinderella nearly “loses faith” is after the step-sisters tear apart her dress and pull of her pearls leaving Cinderella with “nothing.” Cinderella cries, “I can’t believe anymore, there’s nothing to believe in.” Her Fairy Godmother appears saying, “There, there now, if you didn’t believe in anything I couldn’t be here.” The symbolism of the tearing of the necklace and pearls was merely a disrobing of material goods, leaving Cinderella alone with her consciousness and the universe.  Luckily for Cinderella, her character was intact, so when she felt like she had nothing left to feel or believe in, the Universe was still operating within the realm of reflection (reflecting back to her what she was).

The Glass Slipper I

February 16, 2011

I often hear people say “life is not a fairy tale,” and it always makes me wonder what they mean exactly. I suppose they are inferring that everyday life is not all singing birds, fuzzy feelings and la di da perfect.  But then, neither are fairy tales.  Granted, characters occasionally break out into song and talk to animals, but in essence, fairy tales are just fables or tales that when paid attention to, deal with characters facing adversity, just as we do.

Since I was a kid till now, I’ve had some of the same conversations with people who have told me that I’m idealistic.   When I tell people I believe in dreams coming true and that fairy tales are not too far off from life in terms of what we should expect, they say I’m naïve and tell me that one day I’ll grow up to the harsh realities of the world. Well, I am grown up, yet I still think the same way because it is truth. Truth does not exist within the confines of time, it is constant, which allows one the choice to believe it or not.

So here’s the truth and what I believe as told through the deconstruction of a fairy tale: Cinderella.

In the final scenes of Cinderella, she ends up with her ideal guy, living in the ideal situation and place.  Basically, she gets what she believed in and hoped for.  The point of Cinderella is not to have little girls spending their time dreaming about fluffy ideas, big puffy white dresses, balls (our version of a huge party), hoping to go from having nothing to having everything or about having a marriage or a guy that comes in sweeps you off your feet and saves you.  The story is about how to preserve innocence and hope all while being in the line of palpable darkness. Cinderella was not rescued by a prince; she was her own knight in shining armor. The prince and that whole castle thing, well, that was just a manifestation of things she had already projected from the very beginning of the story. In essence, Cinderella’s happy ending was a vision, a belief saturated with imagination; it was the crux of her heart flipped inside out.

The first Cinderella story was written in China by Tuan Ch’eng-Shih and dates back from the Tang Dynasty in 860 AD. The second most recent version of this story named, ‘La Gatta Cenerentole,’ was written in 1634 by Giambattista Basil.  However, the story that made Cinderella a household name was by the French author Charles Perrault in 1697.  The most popular to follow was the 1950’s Disney Version which a majority tend to be familiar with.

For those who don’t know the story of Cinderella, here’s a quick summary.  Once upon a time, there lived a girl whose father married a widow with two daughters.  Upon her father’s untimely death, Cinderella’s step-mother, who was never quite fond of her, moves Cinderella to live in a separate part of the house and forces her to do house labor.  Throughout the story, Cinderella is faced with the cruelty of her step-mother and step-sisters and the pangs of injustice.  Yet despite the brutality of her situation and through it all, Cinderella is able to maintain her good nature and in the end, get her happy ending.

In the Disney version of this story, Cinderella wakes up singing “A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes.” If you listen to the lyrics, it is clear that from the very beginning of the film, Cinderella has a deep connection and vision of what she wants her life to be.

I don’t really watch T.V much, but when I do I’m surprised to see how so many of the people on it are  in  romantic relationships when they don’t have  a healthy relationship with themselves.

It’s not just the T.V world, I see it in the people I meet and in some of the friends I have.  I have friends who have been serial dating since they were 15-year-old and have yet to be in a healthy relationship. And every time one of their relationships ends, they always seem to find fault in the partner they were with or even love itself, never once stopping to think that maybe the problem is cemented in them.

What do these un-healthy people look like? They have low-self value, live masochistic lifestyles, ego driven, lack of identity, sex or body driven self-worth, a  narcissistic personality, selfish, materialistic, jaded, bitter, jealous, negative, cowardly and a victim mentality (boo ho for me all the time). (Of course there are more traits than these, but for now this will do)

This is how I see it, metaphorically.

When we are born, our parents build us a house, and in that house there are things we like and don’t like. For all of us there are healthy and unhealthy elements to it, that as we grow can become a part of what we think or feel is natural or unnatural about the world.

As we get into our teens, we start grabbing control of our individuality and decide to decorate our rooms; our first step into coming into our own, into expressing our inner needs and wants. Along the way, depending on how many relationships (friendships and lovers) we engage in, the room fluctuates between neat and messy.

As for the rest of the house, depending on the type of family you have, it can become continuously upgraded; catering towards your growth, continuously downgraded; stunting your growth, or somewhere tittering in-between whereupon growth comes in stints of a lot, a little, to none at all.

Once you go to college or reach about the age of 17-18 and are in the next stage of your life, it is your duty to rebuild, redecorate, refurnish.  Depending on your childhood you may not need to change very much. If your family built you a stable foundation that is connecting you to happiness, love and success than maybe you just need to re-decorate and not re-build. If your family, created a house with a weak base than it is your job to take the time to tear down and build a better one.

You will never find true love and happiness if you don’t work to fix yourself, your issues from childhood, and any other issues that come along the way .

When you date someone you bring them into your house of clutter or neatness, depending on the amount of self-help you have done. Depending on how long they are there, some just alter a corner of your room, others the entire room, and some the entire house.   So many of the people I know just pack their last fling, or boyfriend/girlfriend in a box, closet, or in a room, shut the door and pretend they don’t exist because they’re not in sight. If you don’t take the time to unpack, grieve, and clear up the remains of your past relationships, you are only weakening your foundation for personal and relationship growth.

The story of the Three Little Pigs provides a great example of the dangers of not building a “home” (life) with a proper foundation and roof. In the book, ‘The Uses of Enchantment, The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, author, Bruno Bettelheim, an Austrian born child psychologist and writer, touches on the matter in a meaningful piece called ‘Pleasure Principle versus Reality Principle.’  The following is an excerpt from his book.

 “The littlest pig built his house with the least care out of straw; the second used sticks; both throw their shelters together as quickly and effortlessly as they can, so they can play for the rest of the day. Living in accordance with the pleasure principle, the younger pigs seek immediate gratification, without a thought for the future and the dangers of reality, although the middle pig shows some growth in trying to build a somewhat more substantial house than the youngest.

Only the third and oldest pig has learned to behave in accordance with the reality principle: he is able to postpone his desire to play, and instead acts in line with his ability to foresee what may happen in the future. He is even able to predict correctly the behavior of the wolf- the enemy, or stranger within, which tries to seduce and trap us; and therefore the third pig is able to defeat powers both strongest and more ferocious than he is. The wild and destructive wolf stands for all asocial, unconscious, devouring powers against which one must learn to protect oneself, and which one can defeat through the strength of one’s ego.  The story of the three pigs suggests a transformation in which much pleasure is retained, because now satisfaction is sought with true respect for the demands of reality.”

The only way to create a future riddled with moments of happiness and true love is by building an internal brick house.  No amount of money or business success will ever fix your inner voids, they will only mask them. If you are hopping from un-healthy- relationship to another than maybe it’s time to slow down and ask yourself; What material am I building my life out of?