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Elisabeth Panttaja states that the mother role in all the Cinderella’s has a wide effect on the fairytales. In the article, Panttaja analyzes the Cinderella myth from the Grimms brothers’ perspective, along with other Cinderella myths. One topic Panttaja mentions is, “Indeed, Cinderella’s mother’s role is far from marginal: the words and actions of Cinderella’s mother are of vital importance”.
Panttaja suggests that even though Cinderella’s mother is not a main character in the story, she is the reason Cinderella does end up having a happy ending.
This part is overlooked when reading fairytales; Cinderella’s mother is the whole reason why she has to keep striving to achieve the happy ending. Even though Cinderella’s mother appears to die in the Grimms’ version of Cinderella, her spirit lives on in relation to the tree, and the two birds. As Panttaja says, “But is she really motherless?
Not really, since the twig that she plants on her mother’s grave grows into a tree that takes care of her, just as her mother promised to do”.
Throughout the story the mother guides Cinderella by showing up in different forms of life and magically making Cinderella look beautiful for the ball. Cinderella uses this to her advantage, for example, when the two pigeons pluck out the evil stepsister’s eyes in the end of the story. “The happy ending proves that it is the mother, after all, who has been the power of the story” (Panttaja).
This quote shows that Cinderella’s mother guided her throughout the story without actually being alive in person.
Later in Panttaja’s article, she explains that Cinderella’s stepmother and her real mother are much alike. “These two women share the same devotion to their daughters and the same long-term goals: each mother wants to ensure a future of power and prestige for her daughter, and each is willing to resort to extreme measures to achieve her aim” (Panttaja). Panttaja suggests that the two mothers are competing to marry off their daughters and provide them with a happy ending.
In the end, Cinderella’s mother wins because Cinderella marries the prince who is noble. Another key point that Panttaja summarizes about is the fact that the fairytales make us think that Cinderella loves the prince, but in reality the readings never seem to mention anything about love. “The prince marries Cinderella because he is enchanted… by the sight of her in her magical clothes” (Panttaja). The prince never seems to care about the love from Cinderella, just that she is beautiful in the dress that her mother made magically appear.
All in all, Panttaja states everything goes back to the moral of the magical mothers powers. In the end, Panttaja explains how the Cinderella legacy goes on to show how siblings compete to be better than one another, and Cinderella shows this in the “most extreme form” (Panttaja). Panttaja also goes on to explain how Cinderella is not the girl everyone always imagines.
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