10 Things I Hate About You, a Cinderella story?

Bianca and Kat are sisters whose mother left them and are stuck growing up with their overprotective father. All Bianca, the beautiful sophomore, wants to do is date and go to the senior prom, yet her father creates a rule that she can date only when her non-comforming, feminist sister Kat dates. Through many schemes and plans, Bianca and and the boys pursuing her hire Patrick, another outcast, to take out Kat. Although he was bribed to date Kat, Patrick actually begins to fall for her. It turns into a love story and the climax takes place at the senior prom or “ball.” 10 Things I Hate About You has aspects of traditional Cinderella stories, yet it is too different from the original to be considered one?

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About Elisabeth Gruner

English professor, University of Richmond
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5 Responses to 10 Things I Hate About You, a Cinderella story?

  1. This movie definitely has some key Cinderella characteristics. It very much goes along with Karen Rowe’s point about how the heroine is passive. Kat is such a passive girl until she finds salvation through a man. Patrick enters into Kat’s life and she becomes a whole new woman who is freed from her old and freaky lifestyle. We also see the importance of beauty in this movie. Bianca is beautiful and because of it she is confident and popular.

  2. Katie Conklin says:

    10 Things I Hate About You is one of my all-time favorite movies and, while the climax of the plot is at the “ball,” I would not classify it as a Cinderella story. Actually, I think the “ball” is really the only Cinderella-esque element of the story. There is no fairy godmother figure, no negatively oppressive force (the father is simply a worrywart), no situation of riches to rags to riches, and definitely no passive heroine. I would have to disagree with Sheila’s comment about Kat being passive. I actually consider Kat to be a very active heroine. She is incredibly opinionated and intentionally goes against the girly stereotype that Bianca (her sister) embodies. A story cannot be written off as a “Cinderella Story” just because the ending consists of happiness and “love.” Earlier in the film, Kat gets a acceptance letter to Sarah Lawrence University. Nothing in the ending indicates that she is going to give up this acceptance in order to be with Patrick. She is clearly going to continue to pursue her own dreams, which consist of more than love, which makes her drastically different from any Cinderella character that we have examined in class.

  3. Vicky DeFreitas says:

    I think “10 Things I Hate About You” is a very romantic teen love story, I however do not believe it is a Cinderella story. To begin with there is the absence of a step-parent, her sister is not evil or ugly, and Kat is not forced to complete unfair and unbearable work (nor would she complete them if she was asked). In fact, Kat is the complete opposite of any Cinderella figure. She is not patient, passive, humble, good, or even nice. I think that “10 Things I Hate About You” is merely a love story, not in the least a Cinderella one.

  4. Emily Smith says:

    This is truly a great movie, however, I would have to agree with Katie in stating that it is not a traditional Cinderella story. Kat represents everything in opposition to the female role portrayed by Cinderella, in it’s passivity and domesticity. Although in the end, she does end up finding love, this is no rags to riches story. It is however interesting to examine the relationship between the two sisters. Bianca and Kat are complete opposites, providing for a somewhat step-sister relationship. This changes throughout the movie of course and in the end, every ends up happy, just without the happily ever after.

  5. kstarr27 says:

    Though this movie possesses the typical “ball” that is contained in the majority of Cinderella versions, I do not feel that this film has any further connections to the Cinderella tale. Kat was never really oppressed or unhappy with her life, and certainly was not looking for a Prince Charming to come and save her. In fact, she really had no interest in boys for a long period of time and this is what aggravated her younger sister so much (as the only way she would be able to go to prom was if Kat did). Furthermore, there was no significant transformation other that Kat falling in love, because her character and social standing remained relatively consistent. As a character, Kat is entirely different from the traditional Cinderella. Instead of being passive, dependent, or submissive she is outspoken, witty, and rebellious. I agree with many of the above statements in saying that though this is a love story and definitely an enjoyable movie, it’s really not much of a Cinderella story.

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