The story of Cinderella’s been told in thousands of different ways. Most of these versions did include a version of Cinderella where she starts out poor (or, at least, in poor living conditions) and then ‘magically’ made all of her dreams come true. Now, stated so basically, this motif seems far too fantastical to be true in real life. After all, no one truly expects a fairy to pop up and give them all they want, or a tree to give you a beautiful dress if you shake it. Simply put, it’s not at all realistic that ‘magic’ will give you what you want in life, for the reason that many do not believe magic is real. However, I wish to contest this theory.

Whenever the definition of magic is truly analyzed, we find that, yes, it can be seen as “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces”[1]. In this case, many believe that it’s impossible. Supernatural forces simply don’t happen in real life. However, what if that’s not the definition we use when analyzing magic? What if, instead, we use the classification of “wonderful or exciting”[1]? Well, many things can be seen as wonderful. Gifts my mother give me are wonderful; stories we’ve read can be wonderful; we use wonderful and magical almost synonymously in modern times. So, can something wonderful happen to help us get ahead in life, a metaphoric ‘rags to riches’ moment?

Well, this brings me to the other half of the motif. You see, the magic in Cinderella’s story was not the only thing that saved her from her life as a servant. Had the prince never fallen in love with her and married her, then Cinderella would still be stuck in her little house with her wicked family. Since he did marry her, however, she became a princess and completed the pattern of rags to riches. So, can being married to someone lead you to a life of happiness and riches?

Well, of course. When you marry someone, your money is shared; thus, the richer the man you marry, most usually, the richer you both are. So, when Cinderella married the prince, it was at least believable in the span of the motif that she would be rich due to her marriage to the prince (although not as believable that they had actually fallen in love quite that quickly).

Thus, when considering magic to be something wonderful, thoughts go to Cinderella’s marriage. Weddings are always considered something wonderful; two people are joining together to form one union in the basic of love. Some people even describe it as magical. So, in the motif of ‘rags to riches through magic and marriage’, it’s actually perfectly reasonable to believe that both marriage and magic can get you there. I believe that’s why so many different Cinderella stories have been made in the past. There’s so many wonderful – and, synonymously, magical – moments in the world that one can use to describe what happens to Cinderella. Say a waitress gets the tip she’s been waiting for that gives her enough money to go to the college of her dreams, or a girl forced to work in a flower shop meets a man whom she falls in love with who frees her from her contract to the store and allows her to open her own dream shop. The possibilities are really endless when using a different definition of the motif; and, of course, all of them are perfectly reasonable and realistic – if magic is just wonderful happenstance instead of supernatural influence. Otherwise, being rich is just another fairy tale.

[1]”Define Magic – Google Search.” Define Magic – Google Search. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <https://www.google.com/search?q=define magic&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8>.

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