We've always read or been read fairy tales once in our lives, and how do they always end? Yes, happily ever after. In Anne Sexton's "Cinderella", she shakes up the traditional fairy tale, by adding her own tale. She uses sarcasm to finish the tale, causing the reader's expectation of a happy ending and a traditional fairy tale to disappear. In doing so, she depicts the difference between the fairy tale and reality world.
With Sexton's harsh words of reality, she breaks the dreams of the readers seeking a traditional fairy tale. The use of Sexton's sarcastic tone foreshadows what is to come in the poem. The line "That story" (Line 5), which is repeated numerous times throughout the poem, makes the readers think of the original Cinderella fairytale. Perhaps along with this, by stating "That story" throughout the poem, she is trying to remind us how every fairy tale is the same.
It always goes something like this: poor girl meets prince...and POOF! They live happily ever after! Now, when is life ever that easy? By adding her own anecdote, Sexton is depicting to the readers a more realistic fairy tale.
Sexton uses irony through her sarcasm as well. Perhaps, it changes the reader's views on the classical fairy tale. Cinderella is described as, "Cinderella was their maid. / She slept on the sooty hearth each night / and walked around looking like Al Jolson" (Line 30-32). Al Jolson who was a white man, who impersonated a black man, is compared to Cinderella. However, dressing up as a black man was Jolson's choice, and being their maid dressed in grime was not Cinderella's.
Another example of ironic imagery in Sexton's poem is actual my favorite lines in the poem. "The eldest went into...