“The Next Best Thing”


This is Sara Bareilles’ take on fairy tales. It references many fairy tales, not just Cinderella, but I think it provides us a modern-day and feminist look at our common fairy tales.

She discusses the focus of every story being on the maiden and how really the maiden is just waiting on “the next best thing”. Could this be true? Is this a more modern and 21st century women’s perspective?

“Cinderella’s on her bedroom floor she’s got a crush on the guy at the liquor store cause mister charming don’t come home anymore” Is this pessimistic or realistic?

I think Sara Bareilles is just trying to present a sort of antithesis to the typical fairy tale story. Pretty interesting and a good song!


About Elisabeth Gruner

English professor, University of Richmond
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2 Responses to “The Next Best Thing”

  1. It is interesting to thing that the heroine is just waiting on the next best thing. This definitely links to the passivity that is seen because although the heroine is always waiting on the next best thing, she usually never goes after it. Seeing Cinderella waiting on the floor for her crush is very realistic. Like in many fairytales, we see a woman who is not going after something that she wants and is just waiting for it to come to her or for somebody else to come and get it.

  2. kmcnichol says:

    I have to agree with Sheila. I found this particular form of criticism on fairy tales extremely interesting. Sara Bareilles does a great job linking the heroines of fairy tale stories to being passive. By waiting on the next best thing she is relying on others. Instead of taking control of her own situations. I also found it interesting when she was referring to Snow White and said, “that the only thing you could do after 7 men was clean up.” Connecting fairy tale heroines with housewives. Once they become a housewife they are also just waiting on the next best thing. Just like the heroines of the fairy tales.

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