Many attempts to interpret Cinderella, the most famous fable children know, have been made over the years. Some of these attempts have focused on the social aspects whereas others have focused on psychological problems of the child. The popularity of Cinderella is not only among children, but also among adults and psychoanalysts. ‘“Cinderella”: A story of sibling rivalry and Oedipal conflicts’ by Bruno Bettelheim is an article that tries to analyze Cinderella from a psychoanalytic perspective. The author emphasizes the aspects of sibling rivalry and the nature of the oedipal conflicts in the child.
Bettelheim argues that Cinderella is so popular among children because it reflects the conflicts of the child when he is undergoing conflicts with his siblings over parental preference at home. During the childhood stage, he argues, the child will feel that he is rejected and maltreated by his siblings, and even if he is a lonely child, he will still feel that other children have an advantage over him. He also argues that the child suffers from low morale because he feels rejected by the parents for a certain flaw or mistake in him.
The analysis of Bettelheim is very interesting because it presents Cinderella through a psychological perspective. His arguments are also interesting because they relate to the development of the child’s personality. However, the author ignores a number of important points. First of all, in their early childhood, children feel that they are the kings of the world and therefore, they are loved and appreciated, something which makes them enjoy high confidence. However, when the child begins to realize that he is only a child and that adults are stronger and more capable than he is, he immediately begins to lose self-confidence. Besides, he no longer feels that he is the most lovable thing in the world. Another point that the author misses is that Cinderella is loved by children and adults because she appears as a victim and as an oppressed person. Both children and adults feel supportive for victims, because they have strong beliefs about good and against evil. Therefore, it is not necessarily true that the child identifies with Cinderella because of his oedipal conflicts and feelings of being less important.
I have always loved Cinderella, and even today, I still like to read the story or watch the movie several times. I have always lived a happy life at home, and I do not remember suffering from the oedipal conflicts the author talks of. However, I believe that some people actually identify with Cinderella because of the reasons mentioned by the author.
In conclusion, I think that people are going to love Cinderella forever, whether some critics see it through a social, political or psychological perspective. When we watch Cinderella, we do not think of her as a child who is having psychological and oedipal conflicts. We think of her as a victim who will become victorious in the end.
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