Different Versions of Cinderella: Cultural Perspectives of Cinderella

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1350 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 1350|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Cultural Themes in Different Versions of Cinderella
  3. Different Cinderella Narratives
  4. Telling vs. Showing in Cultural Interpretations
  5. Conclusion
  6. References


From France, Charles Perrault’s version of “Cinderella” follows the same theme as the different versions of Cinderella Around the World. The theme presents triumph of good from evil. The common character in these Cinderella stories is a young lady who turned out to be a victim of fate and then emerges into the heroine of the story because of her goodness and innocence. It is similar to a character coming from “rags to riches.”

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Cultural Themes in Different Versions of Cinderella

Charles Perrault’s version of “Cinderella” had magical elements of a fairy godmother who turned her ragged clothes to a beautiful gown, a pumpkin to a carriage and animals turned to servants; and then magically turned back to their form when the clock strike 12midnight. The handout “Cinderella Around the World” presented that some of the Cinderella stories like China’s Yeh-Shen had some magical elements like an old man who told her to gather the fish bones and make a wish which granted her a beautiful outfit and golden slippers. Cinderella married the prince and Yeh-Shen married the king. Cinderella forgave her evil stepmother and stepsisters while Yeh-Shen punishes her stepmother and stepsisters and the villagers stoned them to death.

North America’s version of “The Rough Face Girl” involved a girl who had a burned faced because of her older sisters’ doing. Unlike Cinderella’s prince, the chieftain in the story was invisible who only showed himself to the rough face girl because her heart was pure and honest. Her beauty was restored when she bathed in a lake and she married the chieftain. Almost similar plot to the story of Cinderella but Cinderella was already beautiful from the start.

Africa’s story of “Chinye” does not focus on marrying a prince. Chinye’s stepsister stole the biggest gourd because she thought it has the biggest treasure. Instead when the stepsister opened the gourd, it released a big storm. It was pretty tragic because Chinye’s stepfamily had to leave the village while Chinye was left and shared her treasures. This was a different twist compared to Cinderella because instead of the riches coming from marrying a royalty, the wealth came from the tiniest and quietest gourd. Another one from Africa, “Nyasha’s” king was the magical snake, hungry boy and old woman she encountered in her journey.

England’s version of “Tattercoats” involved an evil grandfather instead of stepmother. The poor boy that Tattercoats went to castle with was the one who chose the girl for the prince. Tattercoats went to the castle in tattered clothes and was laughed at, unlike Cinderella who went to the castle in beautiful clothes. Germany’s tale of “Ash Girl” was less forgiving than Cinderella’s character. Instead of a godmother, magic was from a white dove. The stepsisters became blind from being pecked by the birds, unlike Cinderella forgave her stepsister.

Different Cinderella Narratives

I would like children to see a similar theme by the showing elements of the stories from the different versions of Cinderella around the world. The theme is good wins over evil. For example, Cinderella married the prince out of her honesty and innocence. Yeh-Shen married the king even if her stepsisters tried to trick her. The Rough Face Girl married the chieftain out of her pure heart and honesty. Chinye ended up sharing her wealth to help the village.

In the Perrault fairytale, Cinderella slaved and was mistreated by her stepmother and her stepsisters. Cinderella wanted to go to a ball where her stepsisters attend, so her fairy godmother makes Cinderella become a pretty princess. Cinderella needs to be home by midnight before the spell wears off. A prince tracks the slipper to who wears it and found Cinderella. Cinderella forgives her stepmother and stepsisters for their mistakes.

In the show of Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans, Cenicienta is from Puerto Rico and visiting to the US to learn English. When Rosa and her friend are in class, Cenicienta only speaks Spanish and Rosa only speaks English. Rosa insulted Cenicienta about her name being Cinderella. Rosa is jealous of Cenicienta due to her talent and helpfullness. Rosa was mad at herself and asks for helping. Her fairy godfather helped Rosa to change appearance as Cenicienta. They go to the basketball game then they are situation of understanding at the basketball. After they happened, Cenicienta changes Rosa’s life from past. A Korean Cinderella, Kongji as Cinderella, slaved for her family and Patji and her stepmother prevented her from attending the Mask Dance Festival. Kongji got some unexpected help from the animals and her mother.

Telling vs. Showing in Cultural Interpretations

The Korean Cinderella storybook, Omoni forced the poor girl to do tasks within time restrains; if Pear Blossom did not accomplish the task, she would be thrown out. Fortunately, magical creatures in the shape of animals came to her aid several times. In the Korean Cinderella by Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Kongji desires to go at masked ball, but her stepmother gives her an impossible list of chores to accomplish before she can attend the ball. Fortunately, Kongji got some unexpected help from the animals and her mother. It is always good to have multiple interests for children, some may not appeal to any of the engagement in the telling mode, but highly relate to the showing mode.

In this show, Kongji was tormented by her new stepmother and stepsister, and treated as their maid. They would give her impossible tasks and threaten to punish her if she didn’t succeed. As for the culture, I found it interesting instead of a fairy godmother Kongji was protected by magical animals such as a frog, sparrows, and an ox sent by her father, then followed by her mother’s ghost to give her the advice she needed. The show interacted with the kids and mainly focused on a comedic affect.

Cenicienta overcomes her stepsisters torment with the goodness of her own heart. As for the second part, in this fairytale instead of following one single culture it is multicultural, as well as bilingual. In the end of the show Cenicienta had befriended Rosa, her stepsister who had tormented her, as well as the add twist of the fairy godfather. Lastly in the show the cast frequently interacts with the audience as well as placing the set in a relatable location, school.

When Kangji stood up for herself against her evil stepmother and stepsister, her personality had shifted into her own, even though she was still shy, she was then confident, courageous and held herself at a higher regard. When it comes to “Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans”, towards the end Rosa ends up being the one who gets the “fairy godfather” and matches the two of them, Rosa and Cenicienta, against each other. Rosa then cheats to win and Cenicienta finally sticks up for herself. I do feel they did effectively develop the characters by giving them the courage to defend themselves from cruelty.

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In the telling mode every page had a picture depicting the story and left plenty of room for the imagination. Then in the showing mode, you could see all the scenes come to life and interact with all the kids as well as all the singing and comedy involved. When it comes to the telling mode there really wasn’t much involvement with the audience, it felt the same as any other story on that basis. As for the showing mode there wasn’t anything left to the imagination. They would explain everything as soon as it happened leaving no time to build a sense of wonder. They both shared the same engagement with the audience, frequently asking the audience questions as well as having them cheer with the cast. I feel that the most disengaging part would have to be that it is bilingual with no translations. Those who speak English but don’t know Spanish and those who speak Spanish but don’t know English may have trouble following at times. 


  1. Bettelheim, Bruno. 'The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales.' Vintage, 2010.
  2. Perrault, Charles. 'Cinderella.' Translated by A. E. Johnson, 1920.
  3. Disney, Walt. 'Cinderella.' Walt Disney Pictures, 1950.
  4. 'Cinderella Around the World.' LessonPaths,
  5. 'Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans.' Honolulu Theatre for Youth,
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Different Versions of Cinderella: Cultural Perspectives of Cinderella. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Different Versions of Cinderella: Cultural Perspectives of Cinderella.” GradesFixer, 31 Aug. 2023,
Different Versions of Cinderella: Cultural Perspectives of Cinderella. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
Different Versions of Cinderella: Cultural Perspectives of Cinderella [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 31 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from:
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