Sample English Essay Paper on Cinderella



Sibling rivalry, mistreatment, and jealousy are some of the themes explicitly displayed by the Cinderella story in all its different versions. Cinderella’s stepsisters and stepmother degrade and mistreat her. They snatch her good clothes and even displace her from her bedroom making her to sleep in the cinders and do all the bulky work. Moreover, they mock her after she wakes up with cinders on her face giving her a different name – Cinderella. Her stepmother and stepsisters are jealous of her. After her stepmother finds out that Cinderella was the mystery bride she is filled with lots of jealousy and finds ways to stop Cinderella from getting married from the prince.

The purpose of this fairy tale is to highlight some of the societal injustices that happen in families as well the plight of orphaned children under the guidance of their stepparents. Moreover, the story emphasizes on the need to remain committed to attaining our objectives, desires and goals no matter the challenges we are faced with. In addition, the purpose of the this story is to discourage sibling rivalry, hate and disregard of family members who may often be despised as less important since they may one day become the most recognized people in the society. It also aims at encouraging anyone who feels downtrodden and hopeless that there is always light at the end of the dark tunnel and that however difficult things may seem to be, better tidings lie ahead.


The Cinderella story is a famous fairy tale told in different versions.  These versions have been presented in film, poem, and a short story with the same story line apart from a few adjustments. They all tell a story of a little girl who witnesses the death of her a mother after asking her to be good always, assures her of God’s protection and her continuous company even in death. She lives a troublesome life after her father marries another wife with two daughters who have no regard for her. From this story, it is evident that evil is always paid back with evil; it never pays to be mean and heartless to fellow human beings.


Grimm, Jacob and William explain that Cinderella’s sisters referred to her as a stupid creature, took away her beautiful dress for an old one and wooden shoes (2). She was also driven into the kitchen where she was obliged to all the household chores from morning until evening. Moreover, they regularly scorned her and threw lentils and peas in ashes then commanded her to pick them (Grimm, Jacob and William 2). Even after all the strenuous work, she did not have a place to sleep in the evening and was therefore forced to sleep on bare hearth among the cinders. This soon earns her a mock name- Cinderella.


 One day when their father left for a business trip, he asked all his daughters what they wanted as presents. The stepsisters asked for jewels and gowns, whereas Cinderella asked for a twig (Sexton 545). She then planted the hazel twig on her mother’s grave, which grew to a big tree that was home to a white dove.


When the ball came, both of her stepsisters were delighted to attend including their mother who denied Cinderella permission. This however did not kill her determination to attend.  Sexton explains that after crying to her mother, she got a beautiful dress and shoes, which struck everyone’s attention at the ceremony including the prince (545). According to Disney’s film, Ella and Kit toured the palace grounds together after dancing. It is then that Ella noticed that it’s almost time for her to lose the magic appearance. She flees away leaving one of her glass shoes at the palace stair, which become the specimen for the prince in trying to locate her maiden.


Grimm, Jacob and William further narrate that Cinderella’s stepsister’s were confident that one of them would fit in the shoe thereby become the princess (5). This never came to be as the two doves that sat at the hazel bush at Cinderella’s’ mother’s grave notified the prince of the blood indicating their mischief (5, 6). The final fit by Cinderella earned her wedding to the prince and a fruitful happy marriage thereafter.

Comparison and Contrast

Having gone through all the Cinderella versions, I have noted several differences in each one of them.  Despite having the same story line, there are a few notable variations ranging from the sequence of events to the sex of the participants. I choose to compare Disney Walt’s version with Grimm, Jacob and William’s story. Walt’s version is a film whereas Grimm, Jacob and William’s is a short story. The main similarity between these two versions is the concept of Cinderella finally living a comfortable life despite her past pains, whereas the main difference is how Cinderella acquired the glamorous dressing for the ball.

First, both versions highlight that Cinderella initially had both parents before her mother fell sick and died just after she had requested her to always do good.  According to Sexton Cinderella’s mother said, “be devout, be good.” In addition, they depict Cinderella and the siblings as female and out rightly indicate that Cinderella’s problems began right after her stepmother came into her life. “Her stepmother counted the drops of water the orphan is permitted to drink,” says Kirkus (6). She alongside her daughters forced her do all the house chores, dress shabbily and sleep in the kitchen. Tashlin’s version depicts Ella as male thus the name Cinderfella, also shows that Cinderella as the family’s butler/worker. In one of the mocking sessions, she awoke with cinders on her face; the sisters called her Cinderella..

Both versions also indicate that when Cinderella’s father goes for a business trip, he asks his daughters what they would want for presents. Cinderella’s sisters asked for pearls, jewels and clothes whereas Cinderella only requested for the first branch that hit her father. This aspect is also highlighted by Sexton (544).

Grimm’s and Walt’s version also talk of the ball where the prince was meant to choose his bride. Cinderella’s sisters are delighted to attend the festival since they are confident that they will be married off into royalty. On the contrary, Cinderella is denied the chance to attend after her mother frustrates her efforts to prepare by mocking her old shabby dress (Sexton 545). She cried out for her mother’s help in the garden and received a spectacular dress and shoes that earned her recognition by the prince. This aspect is also conveyed in Tashlin’s version whereby Cinderfella’s stepmother denies him the chance to attend the ball but his godfather consoles him.

Another similarity is that both versions also indicate that after the dance with the prince, Cinderella disappeared making the prince launches a hunt down to find her. Sexton says “Cinderella disappeared into the pigeon house and although the prince took an axe and broke it, she was gone” (545). It is the sandal that she leaves behind that makes her identified as the rightful bride. According to Tashlin, Cinderfella loses his shoe on the way as he runs.

Among the differences, Walt explains that it is only after Cinderella’s father left for the business trip that the stepmother became cruel, cold and jealous. Her father fell sick and died while he was away prompting her to dismiss all the workers and let Cinderella do all the work. On the contrary, Grimm, Jacob and William say that Cinderella’s problems began immediately after the step mother came in with her daughters (2).  In addition, her father did not die while away, rather he came back with everyone’s presents of which Cinderella planted her twig on her mother’s grave, which became her solace point every time she had a problem (Grimm, Jacob and William 2).

              Moreover, despite the fact that both versions admit that Cinderella’s mother frustrates her efforts to go for the ball, they both give different accounts of how she did it. According to Disney, she rips Cinderella’s dress with the help of her daughters. However, Grimm, Jacob and William explain that she strew lentils in ash twice and ordered her to pick them (3).

Grimm, Jacob and William also explain that Cinderella later ran to her mother’s grave and asked the bird to shower her with silver and gold thus giving her a dress and a pair of sandals which she used to attend the festival (3). Kirkus also explains that Cinderella’s fine dressing is gotten after cry at the mother’s grave (7). She went to the festival and danced with the prince without anyone identifying her only to disappear when the prince escorted her back home at night. All this happened three times without the prince locating her prompting him to order for the path to be spread with pitch, which made Cinderella’s shoe stick in it (Grimm, Jacob and William 5). On the other hand, Disney presents the story in a rather magical approach whereby after Cinderella was denied the chance to go for the festival, she went to her mother’s grave and sought her forgives for being bitter, she met an old beggar (woman) who claimed to be her godmother. She performed magic and made a magnificent entourage for Cinderella much to everyone’s amazement at the festival. In addition when Cinderella runs back home, her glass sandal drops at the palace stairs and she only manages to hide the other. In Kirkus’ words, “the prince has honey and wax poured on the church steps, so the orphan leaves a tiny blue shoe stuck there when she runs out ”(7).

Another difference lies in the way Cinderella is finally identified as the rightful bride. According to Disney, after the king’s death, the prince orders all maidens in the empire to fit the shoe. Cinderella goes to her room only to find her mother holding it in her hand. She makes demands for Ella, which she refuses making her smash the other shoe and present it before the Grand Duke to be rewarded. Unfortunately, the prince gets overzealous to find her. The shoes failed to fit all other maidens and just when the officers are about to leave, they hear Cinderella singing, they ask her to try fitting the shoe and the prince (Kit) recognized her. On the contrary, Grimm, Jacob and William explain that during the hunt for the rightful bride, both stepsisters faked fitting into the shoe by cutting of a part of their foot. They however did not go scot free since the pigeons alerted the prince of the blood on the shoes (Grimm, Jacob and William 5, 6). When he came back to ask for another daughter, Cinderella’s father disregarded her probability of her being the bride only for her to fit comfortably into the shoe.

As the story comes to an end, Disney explains that Ella forgives both the mother and the stepsisters before leaving with the king. The Grand Duke, the stepmother, and her daughters are however excommunicated for treason. Finally, Kit and Ella are crowned king and queen, become the lands favorite leaders and rule with the piousness and courage that Ella’s mother had required of her. However, Grimm, Jacob and William explain that the step sisters got their punishment during Cinderella’s wedding whereby the pigeons picked out their eyes leaving them blind for the rest of their lives (6).

Works Cited

Walt,  Disney. Cinderella.  Dir. 1947. Video Tape.  Buena Vista and Walt Disney Company.


Grimm, Jacob and William.  “Cinderella.”  Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  Berlin: Kinder /Hausmarchen.

       1857. 1-6.

Kirkus Reviews.”The orphan: A Cinderella story from Greece.” Academic search complete 79.11 (2011): 1148. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

Sexton, Anne. “Cinderella.”  Exploring Literature. Ed. Frank Madden.  2nd ed. New York:

       Pearson/Longman. 2004. 544-546.

Taslin, Frank. Cinderfella. 1960.  DVD.  Paramount Pictures.  2004.