Cinderella Part 2 – Perrault and the Brothers Grimm

Giambattista Basile’s “Cenerentola” created the template for all European versions of Cinderella that would follow. Its two most famous descendants are “Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault and “Aschenputtel” by The Brothers Grimm.

Activity: Should Cinderella’s Parents Be Punished?

Listen to the following Cinderella stories:

Then ask the following questions:

    • Which parent is more to blame for Cinderella’s poor treatment – her stepmother for wishing to be cruel to her, or her father for allowing it?
    • Out of the fathers in Ceneretola, Cendrillon, or Aschenputtel, which one behaves the worst?
    • If  you were the king or queen in these stories and you found out how Cinderella had been treated, would you punish the father, the stepmother, both, or neither? What would you do with the stepsisters?

The questions could be answered in an informal discussion, a formal debate between individual students or teams of students, a short writing response, or a full essay. Students should support their answers with good reasoning and quotations from the story.

Music in this Episode

“Allemande” and “Courante” from the Suite in D Minor by Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major by Ludwig van Beethoven

Movement 1 from “Six Melodies for the Piano”, Op. 4 and 5 by Fanny Mendelssohn


Cinderella Part 1 – Early Tales

Cinderella stories have been around for thousands of years, told all over the world. This is no big surprise considering that people everywhere have always longed for a way to escape the drudgery of everyday life and be recognized as someone with more to offer the world. This episode looks at three early Cinderella tales — one from Ancient Rome, another from medieval China, and one from Renaissance Italy.

Activity: Comparing Early Cinderella Tales

Listen to the following tales, which are all early versions of Cinderella Stories:

Students can then compare the three stories, noting similarities and differences between them. Students could create a three-circle Venn Diagram, write lists, write an essay, or verbally discuss the way the three stories contrast.

Music in this episode

Variations on Mixolydian modes

“Mo Li Hua,”  an old Chinese Folk Song

“Ma se resti al mio ben” by Jacopo Peri