Family Matters: Cinderella Tales as a Survival Tool for Latin American Indigenous Cultures

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Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature


John Kendall, English


Ever since Cinderella appeared on the movie screen in a wash of silver, blue, and "bibbidi bobbidi boos," she has become the most well-known international heroine. Although there are over seven hundred variants to her story, one is held above the rest: Perrault's Cendrillon. As the Western world colonized the globe, Perrault's story penetrated indigenous cultures, influencing their folktales. The study of the Latin American interpretations of Cinderella allows the identification of European colonial influences on indigenous folktales, showing how the native people, through their folklore, embraced elements of European life while maintaining their own unique ancestry. Indigenous cultures struggled to preserve their uniqueness under colonial rule but more often assimilated into the dominating culture. Latin American Cinderella tales function as a voice of hope to the oppressed indigenous populations because the heroine, while celebrating her heritage, is recognized and accepted by colonial society.