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The Karma of Cinderella’s Sisters

In the story “Cinderella” writers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (link to short story on pitt.edu) share with readers that if you’re a good person who treats everyone respectfully no matter what and continue moving forward regardless of the obstacles, your dreams will come true. Cinderella was taken on a journey through hell and back and she never gave up nor was she disrespectful to anyone. After living a fairy tale life with rich and loving parents in the blink of an eye Cinderella lost it all. Her mother died and her father’s new family treated her appallingly. Throughout her trials and tribulations, Cinderella never gave up hope and in the end, she became rich, famous, and more powerful than ever. Cinderella by the Grimm’s is an extreme example of “what goes around comes around.” Cinderella lives happily ever after and her evil sisters have their eyes poked out by pigeons. It would have been enough of a wake-up call for the sisters that they should treat people respectfully after they had to cut their feet and Cinderella ended up with the prince. Apparently, the Grimm’s wanted to teach readers a lesson to treat others the way you want to be treated or bad things can happen. 

The Grimm’s don’t waste any time when showing how things take a major turn for the worse for Cinderellas when her “new family” arrives at the home. “There she had to do hard work from morning until evening, get up before daybreak, carry water, make the fires, cook, and wash” (Grimm and Grimm). The sisters physically ran Cinderella into the ground by forcing her to handle all the dirty work in the house. To add insult to injury, they went out of their way to make the experience unpleasant. “They made fun of her, scattered peas and lentils into the ashes for her, so that she had to sit and pick them out again” (Grimm and Grimm). For some reason, Cinderella’s father allowed it to happen. Cinderella’s stepmother encouraged the sisters and took part in the abuse. 

Although Cinderella’s sisters and stepmother treated her horribly, she never acted disrespectfully towards them. A perfect example was when she requested her stepmother allow her to attend the dance. “Cinderella obeyed, but wept, because she too would have liked to go to the dance with them. She begged her stepmother to allow her to go” (Grimm and Grimm). Cinderella begged and cried, although she was never quoted by the Grimm brothers as being disrespectful to her sisters, stepmother, or father. 

Cinderella’s stepmother and sisters tease and harass her, make her do all the housework, and sleep on the floor. Then when a fun event takes place, they leave her behind so she can’t have one ounce of enjoyment in life. Fortunately for Cinderella, she doesn’t give up. The message of “what goes around comes around” plus be a respectful person and your life will improve starts to kick into motion when Cinderella visits her mother’s gravesite. “Then the bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her, and slippers embroidered with silk and silver” (Grimm and Grimm). A magical bird provides Cinderella with a fabulous outfit that allows her to be the star of the party and win the prince’s heart. 

The Grimm’s drive their point home about the way one treats others will determine their fate at Cinderella’s house with the prince. The prince wants to know who’s foot fits in the golden shoe so he can determine the identity of the women he became enamored with at the dance. Up until this point, Cinderella has been the one abused at the house and now is the turning point. Cinderella’s sisters are about to find out what it’s like to experience extreme pain in the same house where they tortured Cinderella.  

Cinderella’s stepmother wants the prince to marry one of her two daughters. The problem is that neither of the daughter’s feet fit into the shoe. Their mother devises a plan for them to cut their feet so they can trick the prince. This leads the sisters to experience even worse pain than Cinderella had to experience in the same exact house. That’s their karma courtesy of the Grimm writers. The scheme is exposed when the prince can see the sister’s feet bleeding. They cut their feet for nothing and the prince quickly realizes the shoe is Cinderellas. When all is said and done, the sisters end up with nothing and Cinderella ends up with everything. The sisters could have been best friends with the wife of the prince, instead, they ended up blind with cut feet. The Grimm brothers clearly paint the picture that you reap what you sow. 

There are people who think that life is all fun and games. They treat people disrespectfully without regard to the eventual consequences. Deep down I suspect some of them know the difference between right and wrong and others don’t care. Cinderella’s sisters never thought in a million years that Cinderella would become royalty and they would end up crippled. Can they really complain after the way they treated Cinderella, a complete stranger who was nothing but polite to them? The brothers Grimm create a story with a message that I hope all students read. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If individuals don’t act respectfully and their life implodes, remember Cinderella.

By Mark Pine

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