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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Indian Cinderella


This story is very different from any we have previously read.  What makes this story recognizable as a Cinderella story?  There is no stepmother, fairy godmother, or ball.  What does this say about Native American values and culture?

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1937 Chevrolet Advertisement/Cinderella Story

This version of the Cinderella story that apparently served as an advertisement for Chevrolet has some odd aspects (i.e. the “fairy godmother” is a gnome dressed as Santa Claus). While there are many differences between this story and the common Cinderella tale (Perrault’s version), one that stuck out the most to me was the “bad witch.” Does including an evil witch have any significant effect on the plot of this short story? Or is the bad witch just being used as another way to represent the evil stepmother trying to oppress Cinderella?

Also, I find it interesting that Cinderella tells the prince she cannot marry him because she has no dowry.

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“Miracle on Ice”

One of the most famous “Cinderella” stories in sports history, the amateur United States Hockey Team won the Olympic Gold Medal over the Soviet Union in 1980. Prior to 1980, the Soviet Team had one every year since 1964. There was little hope for the U.S. team and most thought that they would be wiped out within the first round of the tournament. U.S. Coach Herb Brooks selected a group of young, collegiate men to play for his team. The training was gruel, and often the teammates did not get along as they were from different hockey teams in their previous careers. No one thought that this disheveled team would go as far as they did. They were a team that essentially went from “rags to riches” and served as the underdog who came out on top.

Do you think that this is truly a “Cinderella” story?

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The Sword in the Stone

The Sword in the Stone is a story of young King Arthur, also known as Wart. Wart is the servant to Sir Kay, who forces him to wash dishes and accompany him on hunting trips. Wart meets Merlin who acts as his guardian or “fairy godmother” by transforming him into different animals to teach him some of life’s most important lessons. At the end of the story, a great tournament is held to find a new king. Wart is at the tournament and sees the sword stuck in the stone. Without great effort, Wart is able to pull the sword from the stone naming him the new king. As a child I always loved this movie but I never considered it to be a “Cinderella” story until I took this class. Wart is a poor servant in the beginning of the movie who through the help of Merlin becomes the new king.



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Breaking Night by Liz Murray

Unsentimental Education

This article from The New York Times Sunday book review tells the story of Liz Murray who brought herself out of poverty. Murray’s story is an example of a Cinderella story in real life rather than the traditional fairy tale setting.
Published: September 8, 2010
Graham Greene once said that writers should keep a chip of ice in their hearts. It’s sound advice, with exceptions. Despite her generous portrayal of her troubled family life, Liz Murray succeeds as an author. Few parents would seem to have been more deserving of contempt than the ones who raised her


A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey From Homeless to Harvard

By Liz Murray

334 pp. Hyperion. $24.99

Murray was born in the autumn of 1980 with drugs in her blood (but healthy), and her memoir follows the trajectory of a Narcotics Anonymous narrative — an account of despair and redemption like the ones told nightly, as she writes, in “the basements of urban churches.” In her case, she suffered not from the ravages of her own addiction but from those of her parents. In pacing and style, however, “Breaking Night” reads more like an adventure story than an addiction-morality tale. It’s a white-knuckle account of survival, marked by desperation, brutality and fear, set in the wilds of the Bronx.

Murray’s parents usually burned through their monthly welfare check within a week, spending the money on cocaine, while Murray and her older sister, Lisa, scrambled to stay alive. They subsisted on eggs and mayonnaise sandwiches, occasionally splitting a tube of toothpaste and a cherry-flavored ChapStick to dull their hunger pangs. Once her mother left them alone with a child molester, a man who also supplied their mother with drugs. Despite such appalling, reckless behavior, Murray loved her mother, a “radiant and wild-looking” woman with “long, wavy black hair” who wore “flower-child blouses” in the East Village in the late 1970s and died of AIDS at 42. Murray also admired her father, a graduate-school dropout who kept The New Yorker by his bed and read voraciously, continually renewing his library card in a new name because he never returned the books.

She describes the everyday life of a coked-out household where blood was spattered on the kitchen walls, on clothes, even on a loaf of Wonder bread. She recalls that her mother’s track marks became so thick that her arms looked like “pale hamburger meat.” As children, she and her sister dined on Happy Meals in front of the television while their parents tripped on drugs: “The four of us together. French-fry grease on my fingertips. Lisa chewing on a cheeseburger. Ma and Daddy, twitching and shifting just behind us, euphoric.”

By age 6, Murray knew how to mainline drugs (though she never took them) and how to care for her strung-out parents. She showed uncanny maturity, even as a child, and later managed to avoid that malady of teenagers and memoir writers, self-pity. It was a luxury she couldn’t afford in her crime-ridden neighborhood, where she spent her nights looking out the window to make sure her parents returned safely from scoring drugs. Murray’s stoicism has been hard-earned; it serves her well as a writer.

Murray chronicles her days as a homeless teenager, and as a student at the Humanities Preparatory Academy in Manhattan, after her mother died and her father moved into a men’s shelter. She eventually wrote an essay about her experiences that won her a New York Times College Scholarship. She went to Harvard. She inspired a movie, “Homeless to Harvard,” that was broadcast on the Lifetime network. She survived.

Her mother, Jean Murray, comes across as a tormented character who did her best as a parent, despite addiction and mental illness, and was buried in a pine box, her name misspelled, in a pauper’s grave at the Gates of Heaven Cemetery. (Her husband didn’t show up for the funeral.) Till the end, Jean was adored by her daughter, despite the hardship she inflicted on those around her. “Breaking Night” itself is full of heart, without a sliver of ice, and deeply moving.

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The Glass Slipper(1955)

Plot Summary: In a small pleasant European village, there is one unhappy person: Ella. She is despised by everyone, and mistreated by her step-mother and step-sisters. Out feeling miserable one day, Ella meets a handsome young man, who falls for her. He is really Prince Charles, the son of the Duke, but he tells her he is the son of the cook, and invites her to a great ball at the Duke’s castle. A strange woman who lives in the mountains by herself befriends Ella, and dresses her up so she can attend the ball. She goes, and is a great success, but must run out at midnight. In her haste, she drops a single glass slipper. The Prince uses the slipper to find her.

In what ways do the two different godmother relationships affect the Cinderella story?

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