Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella

In Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderellawe hear the story of Cinderella from a different perspective. This story is told by her godmother. She is a washerwoman living on the island of Martinique. While caring for Cendrillon's mother, she came to be the child's godmother. Her own mother bestowed a special wand upon her, which allows her to help others for a very limited time.

The author adapted this Cinderella tale from a French Creole tale, "Cendrillon" found in Turiault's nineteenth-century Creole Grammar. He added details of Martinique to expand the story and changed the storyteller to the Godmother.

There are a few other unique details in this story. Cendrillon does not have a stepsister, but a half-sister in this story. Her father and stepmother bring a child into the world, though Cendrillon is still reduced to the life of a servant. Her godmother lives with her and is a source of comfort not just on the night of the ball, but throughout her daily challenges. She knows the identity of the man she wants to meet. Her "prince" is Paul Thibault, a kind wealthy man's son. She is upset because her stepmother has forbidden her from attending the ball in honor of Paul’s birthday.

This version explains a question I have long had about an unknown woman showing up at a society ball without a chaperone to accompany her. In this version, her godmother changes not only Cendrillon's gown, but also her own so she can chaperone her goddaughter at the ball. The story does follow the tradition of vegetables and animals becoming transportation and servants. She also must lose the traditional shoe so her beloved can find her.