Satire in Anne Sexton's Cinderella

Essay by Quikskier9High School, 10th gradeA+, July 2004

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In Anne Sexton's "Cinderella" one may ponder what the purpose and tone is. Anne Sexton uses a strong satiric and humorous undertone when poking fun at marriage. The use of dark humor adds life and body to the poem. Anne Sexton's placement of witty understatements is impeccable and allows the reader to imagine Anne Sexton's dark humorous laugh as they read the poem.

"You always read about.../...the nursemaid some luscious sweet from Denmark / who captures the oldest son's heart. / from Diapers to Dior. / That story." Satiric poetry like "Cinderella" often blends criticism with humor to convey a message that the author is trying to convey. Satire can be seen in "Cinderella" without even finishing the first stanza. In Anne Sexton's case she is using satire to describe marriage. Sexton has prime examples of her satiric undertone in the first four stanzas. She shows how trite these traditional stories about marriage are.

When reading this section, one may imagine a slight cackle of chuckle in the voice of the reader.

"Next came the ball, as you all know. / It was a marriage market." In a line like this Sexton is able to use her poetic power to bring across her personal thoughts on arranged marriage as well as superficiality and "love at first sight". Sexton conveys that the fairy tale like meeting and love in a Cinderella or Romeo and Juliet setting is very cliché. After enticing the reader with her transformation of the evil stepmother, she ends the stanza with, "That's the way with stepmothers". Her sort of casual tone and understatements shows just how twisted of a mind she has and how she feels about similar situations.

In the eighth stanza Sexton uses yet another satiric comment on the irony of...