The story of an orphaned girl with a tough life meeting a prince who falls in love with her is universal, and different cultures have their own interpretations of it. Thus, Cinderella, which is inherent to the English tradition, and Adelita, which belongs to the Mexican tradition, share the same storyline and the overall message and moral. Both protagonists of the stories are made to work hard for their family members, who never treat them well. They have stepsisters who are constantly spoiled by beautiful clothing and opportunities to do whatever they wanted, in contrast to Cinderella and Adelita.
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However, in the end, both young women meet the love of their life and meet happily ever after. This is why the stories were chosen, as their core theme is oppression being substituted by triumph and reward for one’s suffering. The main difference between the two stories is that in Adelita, which is also a fairy tale, there is no prince or princess because Javier was a childhood friend for whom Adelita had the warmest feelings and whom she ended up marrying.
The English version, on the other hand, is grander and includes magic, such as Cinderella’s godmother being a magician and turning a pumpkin into a beautiful and luxurious coach that took the young woman to the ball, the mice into horses, and rats into grooms. The magical aspect is taken away in Adelita because the story instead focused on human relationships and the struggles that the young woman was trying to overcome, and with no help from a magician.
The general theme of hard work and oppression being rewarded fairly, in the end, is universal and can reach vast audiences. The similarities between the stories show that it is necessary for the audience of the stories to have hope for the poor girls who are not being treated well, root for their success, and triumph together with her. The English version of the story has some magic, and it may have an impact on the way it reaches children as they tend to have a great belief in the magical world and the existence of fairies, for example. However, the impact of the magical part is not that significant because the story is focused on Cinderella herself and how her life turns out.
It is important to note that there are some stereotypes found in the two fairytales. The most prominent one and such that the two stories share is the misconception that a young woman must find the love of her life to be happy and fulfilled (Xu et al. 1).
This stereotype puts pressure on girls from a very early age to be the most beautiful, intelligent, and hard-working so that a ‘prince’ chooses them out of a crowd. In Adelita, which does not have a storyline about a prince, the girl’s crush is still a young man from a wealthy local family, suggesting that finding a husband that can sustain his wife financially is highly important. Thus, while the stereotype is adjusted to the context of the stories, it bears the same meaning, and it is crucial to take note of it when reading both stories. Nevertheless, both fairytales are essential to read for the growing generations because they discuss the topic of good prevailing over everything else.
Xu, Huimin, et al. “The Cinderella Complex: Word Embeddings Reveal Gender Stereotypes in Movies and Books.” PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 11, 2019, pp. 1-18.
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