The Role and Significance of Folklore in the Case of Cinderella Story

Categories: Culture

The great art of storytelling has been around for generations calling forth new listeners even at this present day. In everyday life, through books, theaters, televisions, and spoken word, new and old stories are told to a variety of people. The folktale, which has been a part of a long oral tradition, is the end result of retelling and editing. With each telling, the story has been changed. For this reason, there are several different versions of a single story. Cinderella is a prime example of an old folktale that has many variants.

This popular tale may have been introduced in the orient and has been retold for centuries, even at this present day. This folktale, like many others, was created for a reason.

It was most likely originally intended for entertainment. In its basic appeal, the tale now has many reasons for being told. In every telling of a folktale, a listener will be entertained, yet learn social values and history as well.

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Folktales allow the storyteller and the listeners to go off with their imagination into a new world. For the listener, it is pure escapism. The popularity of the folktale has existed so long for one main reason. Stith Thompson, a folklorist himself, has studied reasons in which a folktale is told. He states Stories may differ in subject from place to place, the conditions and purposes of taletelling may change as we move from land to land or from century to century, and yet everywhere it ministers to the same basic social and individual needs.

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The call for entertainment... (484) With every tale being told, an audience is eager to listen and retell the story to a new audience. The call of curiosity has pulled a variety of new audiences to hear the great tales.

This great tradition has been passed down for generations by every kind of person, in all parts of the world, giving it popularity. Many stories, such as Cinderella have been told worldwide. Although it has offered great entertainment, many other reasons for the continuation of the folktale exists. While a folktale may be entertaining, they also reaffirm societys values. In the story of Cinderella, by Charles Perrault, the audience learns of the sweet nature of a young lady, and how she is mistreated. She later finds her life being turned around in a happy ending. A reader would learn from this that good will be rewarded.

The psychologist, Bruno Bettelhiem, studied what is being learned subconsciously by folktales. In his essay, he states Cinderella tells about the agonies of sibling rivalry, of wishes coming true, of the humble being elevated, of true merit being recognized even when hidden under rags, of virtue rewarded and evil punished- a straightforward story. (528) In a story of Ashputtle, by Wilhelm Grimm, the audience would learn how evil is punished. After the stepsisters had their eyes picked out by doves, the story reads...both sisters were punished with blindness to the end of their days for being so wicked and false. (496) The reader favors the character of Cinderella and begins to admire her qualities.

Many of these tales were told unknowing that it was setting good values to the listener. There are many things to learn from the folktale. While listening to a folktale, the observer can be taken back in history and around all parts of the world. Great stories of the past can teach all about history. The many variants of Cinderella have taken observers through many points in time, all over the world. African, Native American, and even ancient Chinese variants have been found. The stories can teach everyone about the setting at that place and time. Many folktales are told to teach about history.

According to Thompson, Curiosity about the past has always brought eager listeners to tales of long ago which supply the simple man with all he knows of the history of his folk. (484-485) Thompson describes that Religion also has played a mighty role everywhere in the encouragement of the narrative art, for the religious mind has tried to understand beginnings and for ages has told stories of ancient days and sacred beings. (485) Great ancient folktale have now been retold in the teachings of the past. Like Thompson, many people have studied folktales and found that there is much to learn. Storytelling has now become a widely practiced art, mainly intended to entertain one another. For the folktale to survive, it must be continually retold to new audiences everywhere. Everyone shares the ability to tell a great story. Curiosity will always lure new listeners to them. As the tradition is passed on to new storytellers everywhere, it is unknown to how much each of the tales will be change and carried on. Now, a new generation of listeners will emerge, new people will begin to study the folktale, and many new stories will be created.

Updated: Dec 18, 2022
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The Role and Significance of Folklore in the Case of Cinderella Story. (2022, Dec 18). Retrieved from

The Role and Significance of Folklore in the Case of Cinderella Story essay
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