Cinderella Folk Tales: Variations in Plot and Setting

Perhaps it's because each of us feels like the poor, downtrodden sibling at times. But whatever the reason, something about the Cinderella story resonates with its audience. Five hundred versions of the tale have been found in Europe alone; related stories are told in cultures all over the globe. In America as well, the classic tale, re-envisioned in print and other media, continues to be popular. What changes does the Cinderella story undergo when it's transported from one culture to another? What remains the same? Why do we love the character of Cinderella so much more than her own stepmother does?

Note: This lesson may be taught either as a stand-alone lesson or as a prequel to the complementary EDSITEment lesson Cinderella Folk Tales: Variations in Character, which concentrates on variability of character among Cinderella tales.

Guiding Questions

How do the plot and setting of Cinderella change as it is translated into a different culture?


What literary elements of the Cinderella story are universal?

Learning Objectives

List essential plot characteristics of a Cinderella tale

Provide examples of variations in plot and setting among Cinderella tales

Write a narrative—a Cinderella variation—with a plot appropriate to the genre and an original setting