by Anne Sexton
Cinderella Good vs. Evil Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
No, Cinderella, said the stepmother,
you have no clothes and cannot dance.
That's the way with stepmothers. (53-55)
Even after the lentils get (magically) picked up, Cinderella's request to go to the ball is denied by her stepmother. This time, it's for a reason that Cinderella can't fix (not without magic, anyway)—she only has raggedy clothes and she apparently can't dance well enough for a royal ball. Truly, Cinderella's stepmother is evil. This, incidentally, sets us up to be okay with all of Cinderella's supernatural help. We figure she deserves it after being so cruelly treated.
This time Cinderella fit into the shoe
like a love letter into its envelope. (93-94)
Good wins out! We knew it would (and so does the narrator—see the "which is no surprise" quote up in line 63). Cinderella triumphs in the end, marrying the prince, and living a royal life. Of course, we know that in this version, the "happily ever after" is ambiguous at best. But we still look for black-and-white scenarios in fairy tales. (Do you think we're conditioned to do this? Something to think about.) So, Cinderella fitting into the shoe is a classic example of good winning out over evil.
At the wedding ceremony
the two sisters came to curry favor
and the white dove pecked their eyes out.
Two hollow spots were left
like soup spoons. (95-99)
Good winning out over evil in this story isn't enough. The evildoers must be punished, and punished they are, in a rather gory fashion. The white dove—usually a symbol of peace—gets revenge on the evil stepsisters by pecking out their eyes, leaving "hollow spots" (almost like a hollow heart, or maybe a hollow bank account).