by Anne Sexton
Cinderella Luck Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
You always read about it:
the plumber with twelve children
who wins the Irish Sweepstakes. (1-3)
When people think of luck, one of the things that often comes to mind is winning the lottery. There's a reason this story is the first example of good luck—it's the most obvious one. Winning the lottery is pure luck. It requires no skill at all, just enough money to buy a ticket and the right combination of numbers.
Or the charwoman
who is on the bus when it cracks up
and collects enough from the insurance. (17-19)
All the stories in the first part of the poem are instances of luck or good fortune, but we're focusing here on the two that are most purely luck. This one is a perfect instance of chance—there's no way the charwoman could have known that the bus was going to crash. (And even if she did, that would be a reason to avoid the bus, not to get on it.) It's pure luck that lands her an insurance fortune. These examples set up the cynical, "what-did-she-ever-do-to-deserve-this?", Anne Sexton version of the Cinderella story.
She planted that twig on her mother's grave
and it grew to a tree where a white dove sat.
Whenever she wished for anything the dove
Would drop it like an egg upon the ground. (36-39)
And here is Cinderella's lottery prize: the tree with the white dove. Sweet. Now, Cinderella's no witch. She didn't conjure up the tree and bird from any kind of spell or anything. It just appeared after she planted the twig her father gave her. You could say that she deserves this kind of luck after being treated so badly by her stepfamily. But that's a whole other matter—one that deserves some thought, we think. (So go ahead. Start thinking!).