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“Cinderella” by Randall Jarrell


“Cinderella” by Randall Jarrell talks about an old woman who is sitting by the fire place imagining things. The literal subject matter of the poem is about a woman who is imagining things about life. She sees herself young with her grown up playmate. The speaker continues to talk about men. The godmother of the girl is cautioning the girl about men. The old woman is wishing to listen to the things they used to be told by the godmothers. She then talks of the gown and celebration in which her and her sisters are celebrating. At the end we see that the woman is just imagining and she is lonely with no one to tell stories. Randall as a modern poet employs the self-conscious aspects of modern writing.

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Analysis and Explanation

In the Cinderella poem, Randall uses simple diction. The language used is characterized by simple vocabulary that can be understood easily by the reader. This is a major element in the modern poetry unlike the traditional poetry which used complex diction that could be understood by few selected audience. The ordinary language draws the reader closer to the everyday experiences.

Randall uses repetition as a technique. Some phrases have been repeated in order to bring out emphasis. In addition, the repeated sentence structures bring out rhyme and thus easy to remember as well as stressing actions and characteristics. For example “gossip, gossip” and “we know”.

He has also employed a unique imagery. He uses imagery so as to present the ordinary thing in a usual manner. For example he uses words such as flame, sea and wings. These are images that indicate the state of being young and active. The old woman is visualizing the past days when her friend her were still young. During those days, life was good and she was not lonely.

Rhythm is another device that has been used in this poem for instance the end of line 2-glances and 3-ashes. Rhyme creates rhythm and has been used in the first stanza where it coincides with the idea being expressed. The images portrayed are active hence creating the notion of movement.

Randall maintains naturalness in his poem by avoiding mimicry. This ensures that the poem exhibit the intended importance and the meaning. In addition, the structure used of one stanza to another ensures flow of the ideas. First, Randall portrays the young age of the old woman. He talks of the wedding and then the marriage life. He describes this life as that of sullen wife and a reluctant mother. Finally, he portrays a lonely old woman with many grandchildren but with no one to tell stories.

The title “Cinderella” has been used to imply what this old woman wishes to be. She wishes to be young again with her playmate. She wishes to listen to the stories they used to be told by their godmothers about men. But this is not the case; the woman is old and lonely.

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Randall uses modern technique of writing a poem to make people understand the meaning. He makes people to think about the poem and not to passively receive the words only. The modern poets should compose poems that can be understood clearly by the readers. The language should be simple at the same time exhibit creativity so as to express their ideas in the most effective way.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 27). “Cinderella” by Randall Jarrell.

Work Cited

"“Cinderella” by Randall Jarrell." StudyCorgi, 27 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "“Cinderella” by Randall Jarrell." December 27, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "“Cinderella” by Randall Jarrell." December 27, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "“Cinderella” by Randall Jarrell." December 27, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) '“Cinderella” by Randall Jarrell'. 27 December.

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