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How to Read a Poem
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Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay
Form and Meter
Consistent Free VerseThere's no real rhyme or reason to the verse form in "Cinderella," but in terms of syllable count, Sexton is remarkably consistent. If you count all the syllables in any given...
Boy, our speaker is none too fond of the tale she's telling (for convenience, we'll call her a she, since Anne Sexton wrote the poem). Just think of her as a kind of grumpy realist. She knows she's...
Most of the poem is set in the generic world of fairy tales. "Cinderella" was originally written in Italian (although some say the myth originated in ancient Greece), so maybe it takes place in a k...
If there's one thing that characterizes the sound of this poem, it's straightforward prose. In fact, if it weren't for the liberal peppering of strange similes throughout the piece, it could almost...
What's Up With the Title?
The title of this poem is pretty straightforward—"Cinderella," just like the fairy tale. In fact, almost every single poem in Transformations has the same name as an actual myth or fairy tale. So...
Biting CynicismCynicism is Anne Sexton's hallmark. Indeed, it's the hallmark of most of the so-called "Confessional" poets (Sylvia Plath for instance). If you've already read the "Line by Line" and...
(2) Sea LevelThis poem is not too difficult, really—especially if you're familiar with the original Grimms' version of the fairy tale. If you're not, though, a simple read-through (see our list o...
The origins of "Cinderella" might trace as far back as a story from the first century BC, in which a prince goes searching for a princess armed only with her shoe. (Source.) Anne Sexton worked for...
GThe amount of gore in this poem might bump it up to at least a PG-13 level, but if we're talking about sex, everything is kosher here. No one is consummating any marriages in this poem!
Literary and Philosophical References"Cinderella" (the Grimms' Fairy Tales version) (22-109)The Bobbsey Twins (108)Historical ReferencesBonwit Teller (20)Pop Culture ReferencesAl Jolson (32)Christi...
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