We are all familiar with the transition of “rags to riches through marriage” in stories and movies (Ruth Bottigheimer). We as the audience tend to love to root for the underdog; we yearn to see the suffering protagonist finally get what they want in the end. Cinderella is a rise tale and is one of the best examples of this narrative arc. She gains her happy ending and princess-status with the help of a magic tree (or fairy godmother) and her marriage to the prince.
I think while this process works well for Cinderella, it is not the same for real life situations. People reach their goals through their own hard-work, skill, and determination. People often have to use their own wit and skill to get into college, get a job, etc. And as we all know, there is no fairy godmothers or magic trees for people in the real world. We can’t rely on magic to help us out of tough situations. Marriage, however, is another factor that is applicable to the real world rags-to-riches situations.
Many famous icons marry people who perhaps weren’t famous before or weren’t as rich. It is very possible for people to marry into money and power. The Royal Family are a prime example. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, otherwise known as William and Kate, are happily married with two kids. But the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate, was not royalty before her marriage to the Duke. Kate’s family was already wealthy, but in the eyes of others she was still a commoner to marry into the Royal Family.
I believe achieving success through magic or marriage is a complicated ideal. It is plausible that ordinary people marry famous people or even royalty. Marriage can then be an active factor in someone gaining fame, happiness, or wealth. I think that is fairly realistic. Magic, however, is not as applicable in the real world.
In my opinion, I feel it is up to a person’s inner strength and knowledge to help them succeed; we can not always rely on outside forces to swoop in and save us. Therefore, Cinderella remains only as a hopeful story that features the underdog coming out on top; a theme we can all relate to. Cinderella was very passive though, as things sort of just happened to her and she went along with it. But in reality, more often than not we have to do the work ourselves.