Values and Attitudes of the Cultures In Cinderella

Compare and Contrast the way the two texts explore the values and attitudes of the cultures reflected in each. The two versions of Cinderella provide readers with insight into the values and attitudes of the cultures represented within each. The insight is obtained through the qualities the heroine’s possess, the nature of the consequence for the evil character, and the overall moral and purpose of each text. These features are excellent tools for audiences of both the Ancient Chinese culture and a more contemporary, Western style.
The two heroine’s, Yeh Hsien and Cinderella, each posses different qualities which reflect their culture and values. The earliest version of Cinderella focuses on the talents and values of the characters, where the Western version is more materialistic and focuses more on beauty. The heroine of the Chinese version, Yeh Hsien, is described in the text as intelligent and good at pottery, we also find later in the text that she is kind and gentle- “She howled with grief in the open countryside… When the fish died she was extremely upset, and when given the fish bones that granted her wishes Yeh Hsien gave herself food, dresses, pearls and gold, only when needed. This shows that she wasn’t foolish or greedy and didn’t abuse her power. This gives the responder insight into the values and attitudes of the Chinese Culture. We learn that the Ancient Chinese value the personality and talents of people rather than the way they look, and that we should wait for good to happen. Cinderella, heroine of the Western version, is nice, compliant, hardworking and beautiful.
This text is a lot more materialistic than the first version and is very focused on beauty. It is constantly reinforced in the text and beauty is used to depict good from evil. For example, “Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl called Cinderella and she had two ugly sisters. ” This gives the responders the idea that Cinderella is the good character in the story and the ugly sisters are the evil characters. This tells the responder a lot about the Western society’s culture and values, that they value beauty and the way people look over things like personality and intelligence. This also portrays a very materialistic society and culture.

In each of the texts the evil character(s) are faced with some form of punishment, one more severe than the other. The early version has a harsh, fatal ending for those characters, and the Western version has a less brutal punishment. The Chinese version ends when the two step-sisters and the step-mother are struck by flying stones, resulting in their death. This particularly gruesome act demonstrates the Chinese Culture and is reinforced again by the burying of these characters. “The cave people were sorry for them and buried them in a stone-pit, which was called the tomb of distressed women.
The men of the cave made mating-offerings there; any girl they prayed for there, they got. ” The burial is similar to the idea used earlier with the fish Yeh Hsien found, as they both granted wishes to those who deserved it. The evil characters in this version were not forgiven for their wrong-doings and suffered for these actions. The responder learns that the Ancient Chinese people are not forgiving, and they felt that the bad characters should be punished for their evil acts towards the heroine, Yeh Hsien. The Western version of Cinderella ends with a less severe punishment for the evil characters than the earliest version.
The ugly sisters and evil step-mother learnt their lesson and no longer had Cinderella to do their housework and chores, they were left to fend for themselves. They were, however forgiven and allowed to attend the wedding to celebrate the happy ending for Cinderella and the Prince. “Everyone who had gone to the ball was invited, even the ugly sisters. ” This punishment reflects the values and attitudes of the Western culture. The responder learns that in modern society people are more forgiving and understanding of acts such as the evil act presented in the Western text, and is it more common than it is in the Ancient Chinese Culture.
The Chinese version teaches the responder about the Ancient Chinese purpose and moral. Children can learn from this text, they learn to be good or terrible things will happen to them, it also teaches young children to take the good with the bad and that beauty lies within a person. The step sisters and step mother of Yeh Hsien were evil and because of that were struck by stones and died. The responder learns to take the good with the bad, just like Yeh Hsien did. When her fish died she was rewarded by having all her wishes granted and she eventually got to marry the King. We finally learn that beauty lies within a person.
Yeh Hsien wasn’t beautiful or pretty, she was hard working and intelligent, in the end she got away from her evil family and lived with the King as his chief wife. From this the responder learns that the Chinese don’t care about beauty, but about the traits and values people possess, and that good will come for those who wait. The Western version has a similar purpose and moral to that of the Chinese version. The responder learns that good will come for those who wait, dreams will come true if you keep believing, and if you have faith, good will come. As in the original version, good will come for those who wait.
Both heroine’s worked hard, never complained and eventually got away from their dreadful life and lived happily ever after. Cinderella always kept believing that some good would come one day, she kept dreaming and her dream came true, she married the man of her dreams. Also if you have faith, good will come. Cinderella had faith that she’d get away from her evil step sisters and step mother, and the prince searched the whole land for a girl like Cinderella. All the good characters got what they wanted in the end because they kept believing and never lost faith. This reflects the culture of Western society, that people don’t give up.
These two texts provide readers with an understanding of the Chinese and Western culture’s, as well as the values and attitudes of those cultures. We learn that the Chinese are not very forgiving, they offer severe punishments and they value people’s traits, beliefs and don’t care how they look. The responder learns that the Western culture are very materialistic, forgiving and always keep faith in their dreams. Through the heroine’s qualities, the consequences given to the evil characters, and the primary purpose and moral of each text, the responder is able to compare the texts and the cultures represented in each.

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