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Transformations by Anne Sexton

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Transformations: 21. “Cinderella” and “Red Riding Hood” both begin with a list of seemingly in congruous descriptions of ‘reality.’ Why does Sexton choose to use these parallel examples?

The Cinderella story is about a girl who goes from rags to riches. Sexton is trying to show rags to riches in the beginning of the poem. People are always interested in stories that show people coming up from the depths of poverty to being very wealthy. Those stories are always the most interesting. “The plumber with twelve children who wins the Irish Sweepstakes. From toilets to riches. That story.” You almost never hear of stories like this in the world. Sexton wanted to emphasis that. Cinderella is a maid for three evil ladies, she ends up meeting a prince and getting married and living happily ever after. This does not happen to normal people, only people who have a lot of luck.

In “Red Riding Hood,” Sexton is trying to show deceit in the fairy tale. The wolf is trying to trick the little girl to think that is really her grandmother, and really he is going to eat her. Deceit and trickery happens more often then the Cinderella story. People are always trying to get revenge at other people. “Two seemingly respectable women come up to an old Jenny and show her and envelope full of money and promise to share the booty if she’ll give them then thou as an act of faith. Her life savings are under the mattress covered with rust stains and counting. They are as wrinkled as prunes but negotiable. The two women take the money and disappear.” When there is money involved people get funny. People will do anything they can so other people won’t get it. They will deceive people and trick them so they will not get the money.

Sexton wanted to show the two different sides that people can have. The good stories that people have and the bad stories that people have. She is paralleling the fairy tales to real life. The poems come alive in her mind as real

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