The Glass Slipper II
February 16, 2011
The following list is a breakdown of some of the symbolism in the story.
Relationship w/Animals: Cinderella bonds with the animals in the story in such a way that emphasizes her connection with the world. She has not allowed society or the external factors to sway her inherent good nature.
Mice: The symbolism of the mice in the story is that of strength in small packages. In Cinderella, although the mice are physically small, they have more courage and sense to aid the heroin. In Ancient Greece, white mice were kept underneath the temple of the Greek God Apollo, as they were revered as sacred to the Sungod. He was also referred to as ‘Apollo Smintheus,’ which means Apollo the Mouse. The mice are an external manifestation of Cinderella’s own characteristics of strength, existing inside a vessel appearing to be helpless.
Birds: Are symbolic of freedom and a care-free nature.
Clock: At the beginning of the film, her singing is interrupted by the dinging of the bell. The bell is society and the illusion of time and confinement. The bell is the first external conflict Cinderella overcomes. As the bell rings, Cinderella says, “Oh that clock, kill joy! I hear you come on get up you say! Time to start another day, even he orders me around. Well there’s one thing, they can’t order me to stop dreaming! And perhaps someday the dreams that I wish will come true.”
Singing: The songs are sort of like mantras that keep Cinderella calm and help project her inner voice and vision. It also connects her with her dreams, along with the goodness of the world.
Cat (Lucifer): Not only is he the pet of the Step-mother and sisters but his name in the English Bible is the name given to the Devil. The word Lucifer is Latin for ‘light-bearer’ and refers to the Fallen Angel. Throughout the Disney Cinderella, she is constantly being challenged by the smug cat, whose lazy and entitled demeanor is a direct reflection of his masters. Despite his meaningless and comfortable cruelty, Cinderella presses on despite any temptation for revenge.
Step-mom and two sisters: They are symbolic of jealousy, pride, control, greed, possessiveness, supercilious adulation, and corruption.
Glass slipper: This is symbolic of the transparency of Cinderella’s character. The uncommonness of a glass slipper directly parallels with Cinderella’s uniqueness as well as her pristine purity. The glass slipper is the only thing that the Fairy Godmother did not transform from anything; they were a thing of magic. The carriage and horsemen were all things converted from a household object, which is why at the stroke of midnight they assumed their natural state. Cinderella dances, runs at the stroke of midnight and loses her glass slipper after the ball and the shoes do not break. The usage of something so fragile and incredibly brittle, as a viable material to be worn on the feet, is symbolic of strength through vulnerability, grace and everlasting beauty through the straits of adversity.
Fairy Godmother: She is the universe that responds to Cinderella’s inner voice. In the Disney Cinderella, the first time Cinderella nearly “loses faith” is after the step-sisters tear apart her dress and pull of her pearls leaving Cinderella with “nothing.” Cinderella cries, “I can’t believe anymore, there’s nothing to believe in.” Her Fairy Godmother appears saying, “There, there now, if you didn’t believe in anything I couldn’t be here.” The symbolism of the tearing of the necklace and pearls was merely a disrobing of material goods, leaving Cinderella alone with her consciousness and the universe. Luckily for Cinderella, her character was intact, so when she felt like she had nothing left to feel or believe in, the Universe was still operating within the realm of reflection (reflecting back to her what she was).