I liked my mom’s edition of Cinderella better than the one Disney put on, much less the ones that were immortalized in sappy picture books all my friends seemed to have sitting around the house.
Part of it was, yes, that I was a rather sanguinary little brat, at least in my entertainment (in reality I was so tender hearted I rescued insects and lizards in peril of drowning in the washing tank.) I did after all devour the rather extensive collection of Captain Morgan’s adventures, all the blood and gore immortalized in litographs with a page of transparent paper protecting them.
But part of it was that it was more… satisfying. You see, in mother’s version, Cinderella had decided to make her father marry the widow woman in the next estate because this woman petted her much and gave her sweets.
Cinderella’s father told her he’d marry the widow when the pockets of his hunting jacket wore out, so Cinderella stuffed them with salt, to corrupt the leather.
So when she found herself semi-enslaved, she’d brought it on herself, which was far more satisfying than the “out of nowhere, she’s a victim.” She also contrived on purpose to summon the fairy godmother, so cleaning up her own mess in a way.
Yes, this book also contained the redemption of the evil plot devices er…. I mean step sisters who are transformed into statues until they realize the error of their ways, and then married to likely noblemen.
BUT it is Cinderella’s arc that’s most satisfying.
I’m not ragging on Harry Potter, mind. I like Harry Potter. But we were talking about this yesterday in the comments, and both his being ill treated by his family and his specialness are things he was born with (Magic and the ability to be the boy who lived.)
So he is a hero because he was born into the role.
Yes, I know, in the end he has to fight and make the right choices, which is much, much better than what we see otherwise, but let’s be real, okay? He starts out special just because he’s special.
A lot of main characters these days seem to be that way because they were born into the role. The hidden prince did nothing to bring about his downfall or his redemption. Now this has worked through since pre-history, at least if we assume Oedipus as a hidden prince of sorts, but when most stories are like that, it leads one to expect nobility of birth, as it were. Which is very antithetical to the American idea but quite in keeping with leftist notions in which you belong to a group by birth (their having come right around to feudalism.).
One of the things I like in Heinlein’s books (and in older works of Dumas, or of Scott or a dozen other writers) is that heroes got into their trouble by their own hands, and got out of it the same way.
This is not just an aesthetic opinion. It builds the expectation that you’re expected to do something, even in hopeless situations.
Perhaps that’s why the super-hero trend, even when I enjoyed some of the movies, hit me the wrong way. If common people are in the expectation that they can’t do anything to save themselves, it becomes all too easy to wait for the super hero, the pre-ordained being or the perfect president to rescue them. And in their absence to decide to burn it all down.
That’s not who we are. We are Americans — every man a king — and each of us should do what we can to get ourselves out of bad situations, whether of our own device or inherited.
There is no one perfect or preordained to save the world. You either save your own little piece of it or not, and you’re not required to be perfect to make a great difference.
Just do it.