A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh

So you all know that I’m not really into  diary novels, well that doesn’t apply to epistles, letters, novels. I don’t mind reading books made up of letters (as long as they aren’t solely love letters-that makes me feel like a voyeur).

And that is what this book is about. It is a view of the novel Emma told in letters. But the letters aren’t between Emma, Harriet, Jane, Mr. Weston, Mrs. Weston or Mr. Knightley. Instead the author choose to tell the story from Mrs. Goddard’s point of view, the headmistress of the school that Harriet attends.

What?

I know. At first I didn’t want to read this book. Mrs. Goddard is hardly even in the story except when she brings Harriet to meet Emma and start the two’s friendship. I couldn’t fathom why they would pick her over any other character.

Uhhhhhhh

In fact, the story is told between Mrs. Goddard and her sister Mrs. Charlotte Pinkney, who is living in London after a hasty marriage.

I’m not sure about this.

I wasn’t sure if I would like it but decided to start reading so I could post a review.

So I read it and…

I was so surprised but I loved every page of it and couldn’t stop reading.

The characters were amazing. Mrs. Goddard is very sensible and tries to provide a good home for the girls at her school. She cares heavily for each one and tries to help them as much as she can. She even cares deeply for her staff, as when one maid gets pregnant and the father won’t marry or take care of her-Mrs. Goddard helps her out and keeps her job open for her return.

Mrs. Pinkney has always been happy and a spendthrift. After her husband died and she was left with his debts, she married quickly to the wealthy family friend, Mr. Pinkney. At first she is upset, angry, whiney, and just unhappy as she is still grieving the changes in her life and that her new marriage isn’t so fun and flitty: Mr. Pinkey is more concerned over finances than anything else. She is bored and lonely and instead of working on her marriage devotes all her time to writing her sister.

Mrs. Goddard writes to her everything that is happening in Highbury, even though she thinks the news to be nothing and rather dull.

But Mrs. Pinkney gets caught up in the tales and the story of Emma. Besides that she befriends a young girl, Charlotte, from the school next door (a horribly run establishment). Having her lightens up the home and brings Mr. and Mrs. Pinkney together as they both enjoy Charlotte’s company. They even take her to Bath.

Scene of Bath from Persuasion

There Charlotte meets a sailor and begins correspondence with him. Mr. Pinkey’s Admiral friend also agrees to look into whether Charlotte’s father is still alive, if survived the storm that took his boat.

Aw!

As Mr. and Mrs. Pinkney draw closer together, he too becomes interested in the news of Highbury and the story of Emma.

Now I read an article not to long ago how Emma is a mystery, but thought nothing of it as it didn’t really seem like a mystery to me.

hmm…

But then in this book Mrs. Goddard, Mrs. Pinkney, and Mr. Pinkney all collaborate to figure out different elements of the story. Who is Mr. Elton really after to be his wife?

Hmm…

Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith?

Hmmm….

Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him?

Hmm…

Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano?

Hmm…

Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends?

Hmmm….

Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?

hmm…

And much more. The three are on the case:

I thought it was fantastic story telling. Joan Austen-Leigh knows how to have the perfect balance of the original characters:

With brand new, interesting, and fun characters

It was fun, captivating, and as said before, a real page turner.

I highly recommend it for any Jane Austen or Emma fan. This is one book that you shouldn’t miss out on.

For more on Emma, go to TO the Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

For more Emma variations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues

 

TO the Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

Last year I wrote a review of Emma (1996)

No, not that one. This one:

Some people agreed with what I said about it, and some people didn’t. That’s fine, we are all open to sharing our opinion-that being said this is my blog, I will always share my opinion.

Usually I don’t make a big deal over people’s criticisms of my reviews:

But then I received a message from someone on facebook who hated my review of Emma (1996). Not only did they disagree with me, they called me every horrible name you could think of, cursed at me, and went on spamming my inbox.

Usually I just forget it when people say stuff like that. No big deal. I mean:

But it was the venomous way this person spoke to me, and kept writing to me that made me upset.

I am not happy

And made me decide to answer their criticisms:

Jerk

In a polite way, of course:

 

TO: The Person Who Hated My Review of Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

Be not alarmed, Madam, on receiving this letter, unlike you I am not crass, rude, use expletives, or call people names when trying to make my point:

I write without any intention of humbling myself: you must, therefore, pardon the freedom with which I demand your attention; your feelings, I know, will bestow it unwillingly, but I demand it of your justice.

This could get ugly.

Many offences of various nature you laid to my charge. I will now go through them and defend my thoughts.

A) The Set

No madam I am not an idiot:

I know that “lightbulbs” do not exist in Regency times. I know they had to use candles as their only way of lighting a room. I have studied history and have studied the Regency time period.

What I SAID, and what you failed to read-perhaps your vision is ailing you? Maybe you should visit your optometrist and see if you need an adjustment? – was that I didn’t like the use of candles solely in the film. Yes it is realistic, yes it is accurate, and yes it provides a nice chiaroscuro effect to the cinematography. However, using that as the only source to light your room made it difficult for the viewer to see all that was occurring in the scene. As someone who works hard for their money, I like to use what I spend it on. And if I am purchasing a film I want to be able to see the film.

And I want my money’s worth.

B) The Costumes

You called me quite a few names for not realizing that that the costumes were accurate. I never said they weren’t. Unfortunately, you failed to understand what I stated, perhaps the vocabulary I utilized was too flowery? I will speak plainer here. Out of all the Austen heroines, Emma is the richest. Some may argue that the Dashwoods or Elliots may be, but they lose a lot of their money due to different circumstances. However, Emma starts the book off wealthy, and remains so throughout the book.

In this adaptation, the dresses Emma wears are all boring and drab. I expect her to have something finer and more representative of her station and position in the community. Plus she is only 16 miles from London, she may not visit there but could order more elite fashion. I prefer her gowns in this adaptation:

And this one:

C) Harriet Smith

Now this part of your rantings, I really do not understand. I compliment the film on an actor’s portrayal, in fact the best portrayal of this character I have ever seen, and you yell and curse at me for doing so?

I know, right?

Perhaps you have never paid a compliment so you cannot understand when one is given?

Hmm…

You also yelled at me for misunderstanding the character of Harriet, but the charges you laid against me make me wonder if you have ever read the book, because you don’t seem to understand the character of Harriet.

So the first thing you wrote was that it was idiotic that I called Harriet illegitimate:

First of all I never said that Harriet was illegitimate, what I said-which you failed to read (maybe you need to slow down when reading so you don’t miss so many words?)– was that most people at that time period would assume she was illegitimate the way her father sent her to live in a boarding school and refuses to name himself-wanting to be anonymous instead.

And by the way, Joan Austen-Leigh, the great-grand niece of Jane Austen, stated in her book A Visit to Highbury that Harriet was illegitimate. As she is family and able to look at more personal works that you, I think I trust her information more than I trust yours.

And then you were furious at me for ever stating that everyone hated Harriet, well, once again, I have to say you misread me. Do you wear glasses? Maybe you need a stronger prescription, as what I said was because of not knowing her birth the other girls would not be intent on forming close relationships with her, just in case it turns out that she is illegitimate or from a poor family. Think about Great Expectations, how Pip freaks out when he discovers that his benefactor is the ex-convict Magwitch. He is afraid to tell anyone as he knows how they will turn on him.

D) Jane Fairfax

You went on and on about how I called Olivia Williams a bad actress and how I hated her portrayal, and all I can say is once again you have misunderstood what I said about a character and an actor.

What I had said was that she wasn’t really in the film. True, Jane does not spend a lot of time physically in Highbury, but her presence is always there as the Bateses talk about her constantly. In here we had barely anything about her-from people talking about her to her actually playing a part in the film.

E) Emma Woodhouse

I know you love Kate Beckinsale, and love her films. You went on and on about how well she has done in other pictures and I agree, Beckinsale is a talented actress and has done some great films-however I believe this isn’t one of them. I didn’t think her portrayal was all that great and felt it to be wooden and lacking the emotions if the book.

This, madam, is a faithful narrative of every event-it is done, and it was done for the best. — On this subject I have nothing more to say, no other apology to offer.

-MORELAND

Now to the rest of you, once again this is just my opinion. I am using my right to express myself and my thoughts. I know that not everyone will agree with me, and I am okay with that. If you like what I write:

Yay

If you don’t like it:

That’s okay!

If you want to follow me:

Yay!

If you don’t:

That’s okay

The choice is yours.

For more Emma, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Emma adaptations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen film reviews, go to You Are a Horrible Cook, But I Will Eat What You Prepare Anyway: Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

Emma (1996) AKA the Kate Beckinsale Version

So when I say I’ll be reviewing Emma (1996), most people think about this:

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I however will be talking about this:

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So this film follows the book of Emma pretty accurately. It doesn’t have everything, of course, as it is only a hour and 47 minutes, but it does a good job. So how I am going to do this review is a bit different, instead of looking at the storyline I am going to review how the characters were portrayed and the set design.

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Set

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So let’s look at the indoor set featured above. Now I know that A&E Television was trying to go for a more realistic feel, but heads up movie writers; if we cannot see the action happening then you need to skip “accurate” for enjoyable. Nobody wants to spend their money on something that can’t tell them what is happening.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

I agree that the chiaruscuro and candlelight is a nice effect, but not worth it. It is like when you watch Onegin and you have those scenes where you have no clue what anything looks like. Good thing for Ralph Fiennes’ amazing voice.

The rooms also lacked any pizazz or beauty.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

The outdoors were extremely lovely, and kudus to the screenwriters who show how the servants had to carry every component of the picnic up the hill for their Box Hill little party. That was great.

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Costumes

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So while Emma (1996) aka Gwyneth Paltrow Version had this absolutely beautiful and stunning costumes, this version’s ones were so boring. I mean even Catherine had better things  than what the very rich Emma wore in this.

And “poor” Elizabeth also wore more attractive and beautiful garments.

Pride&PrejudiceDarcyLetter

These ones were just too plain and not befitting someone as important as Emma. I mean even her ball gown was boring.

Mehsleepyhollownotimportant

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Mr. & Mrs. Weston

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ITV / Rex USA ( 525489SJ ) James Hazeldine and Samantha Bond in 'Emma' - 1996 ITV ARCHIVE

So in the book Miss Taylor turned Mrs. Weston was Emma’s governess, but in reality her confidant and best friend. While they don’t spend as much time together, with her married, in a new home, and concentrating on her new family; still they are buds. In this we hardly ever see Mrs. Weston and I can’t recall a scene in which she talks to Emma, except to warn her about Frank and Jane’s upcoming marriage. Great job there A&E turning her whole character into a little blimp in the story.

Mr. Weston also hardly has any scenes or interactions in this film, which is a complete shame as he is a incredibly cool guy.

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Harriet Smith

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This is one area where the film was fantastic. I have not seen a portrayal of Harriet Smith as fantastic as the one done by Samantha Morton.

Wow

Wow

In this she doesn’t play Harriet as the empty flower pot or the kind-hearted klutz; instead Morton focused on the aspect of Harriet’s unknown parentage and ran with it in her presentation of the character. Before I watched this film, I never thought of what Harriet went through not knowing who her parents were. I mean if you think of how people treated those who were in a slightly lower class, but respectable (like the Bennets in Pride & Prejudice) imagine how they would treat someone who is unknown. When someone would not claim their child as their own, it typically meant an illegitimate birth, usually the mistress. So those girls in school were most likely not interested in becoming besties with Harriet, or having anything at all to do with her.

Noo!

Aw

This completely explains why Harriet is so eager to do everything Emma says. After so long of being alone; family-less and friendless, she finally has someone who cares about her and will do whatever she can to keep it.

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I have to say one of the best scenes is when Emma is chattering away about how Harriet’s father must be an important gentleman and you see Harriet looking down, brokenhearted saying something like I hope so.

Hope

The way she acts around Robert is also just adorable. You can tell she is crazy about him, but also scared. Scared of being abandoned again, rejected by her friend Emma, and making the wrong decision as she has no family to guide her.

I don't know what to do

Great job Morten.

And I truly mean it

And I truly mean it

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Jane Fairfax

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Jane Fairfax is Emma’s character foil. While Emma doesn’t play piano well, paints okay, doesn’t read, has a meager education as she isn’t into studies, enjoys meddling, can be rude or snobby, and likes to do what she wants without thinking of others; Jane is the opposite. Jane is a superb piano player, an excellent painter, enjoys reading, has a high level of education, enjoys privacy, is kind, compassionate, and considerate of others. A regular Goofus and Gallant, (J.K. I love Emma). This is one of the reasons why Emma dislikes Jane, as she is envious of what she has accomplished.

Person hate talking

However, in this film they didn’t show that at all. Emma dislikes Jane, but we hardly see them react or why Emma is so jealous. We don’t hear others praise Jane, and the conversation when Emma is pumping Jane for information wasn’t intriguing.

This Jane hardly even seemed there, she wasn’t a very intriguing nemesis.

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Mr. & Mrs. Elton

Mr&MrsEltonEmma

So Mr. & Mrs. Elton are some of the villians in the novel and film. Mr. Elton proposes to Emma and when she refuses him he is extremely rude to her and Harriet; going out of town and picking out a shrew of a woman to be his wife.

hate her

In this depiction they didn’t have as much of a role. We see them for the crucial scenes of Elton proposing, them cutting Harriet, and so and so.

I didn’t like their depiction as they are supposed to be more hatable. You are supposed to extremely dislike them and want bad things to befall them.

GoldenGirlsEat&DieTrash

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Mr. Frank Churchill

Frank Churchill - 3creepy

Frank Churchill is also supposed to be the villian in the book. At first he seems like a nice, sweet guy, courting Emma; but in reality he is a major jerk. He ignores his father, ignores his real fiancé, and leads Emma on.

How rude

The Frank Churchill wasn’t quite as sleazy as he should have been, in my opinion, but he did a good job. He had a painted on smile and gave off an air of insincerity; which worked really great. This actor did a great job and I give him a ten.

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Mr. George Knightley

Emma010mrknightleyangrydisapproveface

I thought this was the worst depiction of Mr. Knightley. Where to start? Well first of all his hair. Why did they pick that particular hairstyle? It looks too mulletish and makes him have the appearance of a receding hairline.

ew! Gross Yuck

My biggest issue with Mark Strong as Knightley is that he is just too brooding to be Knightley. Knightley is older, but still relaxed enough to be best friend with Emma and joke around with her. He is serious but can also have fun.

Strong as Knightley is just brooding all the time and whenever he talks his eyes flash and he practically yells in anger. He makes me think of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast the way he reacts to everything and everyone.

Beauty and the Beast

I thought Strong made the character too dark, he would have been better as a Darcy than a Knightley.

I also didn’t like the scene of him with baby Emma, that was a little too weird. And the scene he announces his proposal he sounds as of he is yelling at everyone as if he is planning to destroy them all.

Gilmore girls creep

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Emma Woodhouse

emma kate beckinsale

I really hated this version of Emma. I thought Beckinsale was a horrible actor, just kind of staring off into space and being blank and like a piece of wood.

If she wasn’t being totally deadpan she had this creepy expression on her face like she wanted to devour everyone like a female praying mantis.

I thought it was horribly bland and boring.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

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Ending conclusion:

Something is not right!

I thought the way the characters were portrayed was boring, the transitions weird, and the film all around mediocre. There was no fun to it and the actors talked as if they were being paid an extra bonus if they could finish their lines in under three seconds.

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For more on Emma, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

For more Emma adaptations, go to Mr. Knightley’s Diary

For more Jane Austen films, go to I Don’t Want You Far From Me: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more Jane Austen adaptations, go to The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy

200 Years of Glorious Emma

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided instead of reading through each Jane Austen novel one by one, I will instead read four chapters of one and then move on to another, then another, etc; that way each book would get posted on. I decided to do this mainly because Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion are really forgotten in the Austen fan world. Also because it is more fun this way. I started with Pride and Prejudice as it turned 200 in 2013. Then I moved on to Sense and Sensibility as it was the first book published. I should do Mansfield Park next, but decided to wait as this year is a special year. Yes 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of 1985, of which I have written a post celebrating The Breakfast Club, will be posting one on Back to the Future, and one honoring the rest of the awesome stuff that came out that year. BUT, 2015 marks another anniversary, this Christmas marks the 200th Birthday of Emma.

emma

Emma is a very unique character unlike any of the other Austen heroines. Many people don’t like this book because they don’t like Emma. I know my friends who love Austen tend to like her least of all the Austen heroines as they think she is too shallow or silly. In fact Jane Austen herself said that in writing Emma:

“I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.”

Well I love Emma. Most likely because she and I have a lot of similarities.

WhichJAheroare YOu?Emma

Sister’s amor hating you, a guy who won’t stop following you around. In my case 3), a friend who has a trifecta of boys rejecting her, deciding to become a spinster, has meddled in friends’ love lives…need I go on?

I am who I am

I am who I am

There are probably many of you out there who have had similar experiences.

But Emma is more than just fluff and comedic moments. Through this novel Jane Austen was able to share her own ideas of spinsterhood and how being a spinster who could care for one’s self (like Jane was able to) was nothing to look down on or pity.

Yep, just like her modern counterpart, Cher from Clueless, there is something about that girl that is just lovable.

Emma_Buggin

Not to mention Emma has the amazing Mr. Knightly.

EmmaMrKnightlyP&PMrDarcy

Like with the other two books, I will also will be reviewing books and films that are either another version/interpretation of the story or based on the book with a twist. Hope you all enjoy!

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Books:

Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer by Jennifer Adams

Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh & Jane Austen

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE edited by Christina Boyd

Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith edited by Christina Boyd

Victoria and the Rogue (An Avon True Romance #12) by Meg Cabot

Mr. Knightley’s Diary (Jane Austen Heros #2) by Amanda Grange

Interference by Kay Honeyman

Emma: Manga Classics adapted by Stacy King and illustrated by Tse

Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements by Mary Pagones

Amanda by Debra White Smith

Daring Chloe (Getaway Girls #1) by Laura Jensen Walker

The Importance of Being Emma (Darcy & Friends #1)  by Juliet Archer

Emmalee (The Jane Austen Diaries #4) by Jenni James

Film:

Emma (1960)

Clueless (1995)

Emma (1996) AKA Gwyneth Paltrow

Emma (1996) AKA Kate Beckinsale

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

Emma (2009)

Emma Approved (2013)

We Are Family: Austentatious, Episode 1 (2015)

Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious, Episode 2 (2015)

I’ll Be Watching You: Austentatious, Episode 3 (2015)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious, Episode 4 (2015)

Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious, Episode 5 (2015)

Drive Me Crazy: Austentatious, Episode 6 (2015)

Make Me a Match: Austentatious, Episode 7 (2015)

Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious, Episode 8 (2015)

Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious Episode 9 (2015)

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For more on Emma, go to Opening With…

For more quizzes, go to Lookin’ Over a Four-Leaf Clover

If the Shoe Fits: Why Cinderella is Actually Awesome

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So with Disney’s Cinderella (2015) set to release in theaters today, there is a lot of angry backlash on the previous Disney films (don’t forget Cinderella (1997); along with the whole story of Cinderella. This doesn’t surprise me as Cinderella has been hated on for years, and to be honest, Cinderella may not be my favorite character, but she and her story really do not deserve they kind of abuse they have received over the years. So I decided to dedicate this post on why the tale is not as bad as we make it out to be. So let’s deal with the “issues” of Cinderella one by one.

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1) Staying in an Abusive Home

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Everyone I know always asks the question, “if her life was so awful, why would she stay in the house?” Many feel that she is too passive and should have left striking it off on her own. Well there is one big problem with that scenario of leaving, Cinderella didn’t live in 2015, she lived in the 1600s (earliest version) or 1800s (Brothers Grimm). In those time periods there was only three occupations open to a woman; governess, servant, and prostitute.

Governesses were typically well-bred women from poor families, sent to live a life of educating children, moving on to a new family when the old one grew up. For most of these women, by choosing the life of a governess they were signing themselves off as spinsters, doomed to never marry (as one does not marry a governess) and care for others’ children instead of having their own. For Jane Austen fans, think of Jane Fairfax in Emma. Everyone pities Jane as she was educated and raised well, but the only path for her is as a governess, dooming her to a very low class and as mentioned before a life of singlehood and low pay. Even if Cinderella was extremely well-educated (we know she came from an upper class family but are unaware of whether or not she was taught), this field was not something she could do as no self-respecting family would hire a governess without a letter of reference, which her stepmother would never give her. Besides the fact that governesses were often paid poorly, they could be abused by the the patrons- whether the father or son- and dimissed for “wanton behavior” if the patrons attention, i.e. rape, lead to the governess becoming with child. They then would be forced into no other employment but prostitution.

Servants mean domestic and those that served in taverns, pubs, and other eateries. Now I am not including those of trade in this list, such as seamstresses, cobblers, millners, etc.; as these professions weren’t open to the average women but were run by guilds or families, with the same family carrying on the occupation. It wasn’t like today where you can work in retail or food services; go to college and get a degree to work in another field; switching your employment. In those days your father was a tailor, making you (if a son) a tailor, and your son a tailor. People couldn’t just come by and bring a resume plus an example of their work and expect to get hired. Women would typically work in those fields only if their family controlled the business, of course quitting work when they get married.

Instead most women were servants or serving-wenches. Life of a servant was very, very hard and extremely back-breaking work. The servant awoke typically at dawn, before the rest of the family, and worked until way after sundown. Theyprepared the fires in the rooms, collected the eggs, fed the animals, prepared breakfast, did laundry, swept, washed dishes, cleaned the floors, cleaned the windows, cleaned the walls, prepared lunch, dressed the ladies of the house, prepared their toilette, etc. It was extremely hard work and extremely low pay. To make matters worse, servants were seen as property of their employers and were to be at their whim. Those that were pretty were typically raped, and if they became with child (and were unmarried) they would be dismissed without a reference and forever besmirched. Now shows like Downtown Abbey make all those with servants seem really nice and caring, but most people with servants weren’t as involved and didn’t care about them. And rape happened a lot. If you really want to get a view of life as a servant, read Alias Grace.

Then we have prostitutes. This is where most women found themselves when they needed to make money as it was more lucrative than the above places, and was always a way to make money. This was the hardest of all professions as diseases ran rampant, people mistreated you, Madams or pimps could keep all your money or abuse you, you could be raped instead of procured, if you became with child you better hope you had money to take care of the months you couldn’t “work”, and most of all you were treated with disdain, never helped or seen as important to society. Unlike today, where prostitutes are still people and can go to the police if beaten, threatened, or harmed in any way. Back then, if you were a proustitute, people could do anything to you and no one would care. The police would ignore you as you were the “dregs” of society. It was a hard life.

So when you look at it that way, what Cinderella had wasn’t all that bad. She was able to remain in her home, where she recieved food, water, and most of all didn’t have to worry about being raped or dismissed in a moment’s notice. She was protected and well treated in the fact that she was treated better than most servants. Was this what the daughter of the house deserved or anyone deserves? NO. Was it better than most women of her time? YES.

Of course there was always the fourth option of marrying, but with the way the stepmother treats her, she most likely will be recieving no dowry which means marriage choices are limited to zero.

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2) Only Cares About Shallow Things Like Boys and Pretty Clothes

Getting the picture?

Now this statement really irks me. Everyone I know who hates Cinderella always says that they dislike that she only stands for shallow things like being boy-crazy and wanting to wear nice clothes. Now hold up everyone, nowhere in the book or the original film is she only all about looking good and liking guys. In the original story all she wants to do is go to a ball. With a life of servitude, of course she wants to go out and have a fun time. Don’t tell me that during the middle of the week when you are at school or work you don’t dream of having a fun time Friday or Saturday night. Going out with your friends to a party, club, movies, etc. Well the same for Cinderella. Back in that time servants only had certain days off. They would get typically every other Sunday or so, weddings of their masters and lords, and of course Christmas and Easter holidays. This ball was a big thing, and Cinderella dreamed like to have the opportunity to visit it. She didn’t care about the guys she would meet, never thinking of them; she didn’t think of the fine dress she would wear, as she didn’t own one; all she was thinking of was the fun she would have there-dancing and feasting. Now don’t tell me you have never looked forward to a night of fun-eating, drinking, and dancing.

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3) They Hardly Know Each Other and are in “Love”

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This is also something people always complain about the message it is sending to children. Cinderella and the prince know each other for one night and think they are in love. Well…not exactly. It is true that in the Disney film they only know each other for one night, but in the actual fairy tale they know each other for three days. Now I know some of you are thinking, three days pshahh; but that is actually a long time. Remember, once again that this film takes place in the past and things were done much differently then. Most princes were in arranged marriages at children or teenhood. Each marriage was planned for land, money, and power-love had nothing to do with it. Often times they would never see their bride or groom, but just be sent a portrait, meeting only after the ceremony is completed. Most of the time they wouldn’t even be in the same marriage ceremony, but had it done by proxy-that is having a stand in for the bride or groom. For instance when Marie Antoinette was married to King Louis XVI, her brother played the part of the groom in the Austrian ceremony. So once again, three days is a lot when you would often have zero contact.

And let me point out that if you watch the film again you realize that the “love” Cinderella is feeling is more of a wonderful memory to keep her going. She doesn’t expect to run into the prince again, let alone have him send his advisor with her lost shoe.

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4) Foot Fetish or Incredibly Stupid Male

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Which brings us to the shoe. The part of the movie everyone likes to hate on. “Why does he need a shoe to find her?” “How stupid must he be not to recognize her face?” “Does he have a foot fetish or something?” “Like that shoe isn’t going to fit a thousand other women.”

Well this is actually a more ingenious trick to find someone than you would think.

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Give me a minute and I will explain. So a lot of the time we think he should have recognized her right away by hair color, face, etc. There is two problems with that, first of all the way the aristocrats and courtiers dressed was all very similar. They often had wigs, hats, head-coverings, and loads of makeup. After the prince seeing so many women in one night, it is easy for him to mistake someone else for his true love, such as with her stepsisters. If they were close in height and build (corsets) had the same color hair, he could easily be confused. Remember this was back when everything had to lighted with candles and chandeliers, it’s not like he saw her in fluorescent lighting.

Besides some people have a hard time recognizing someone in full makeup, hair, and dress when they are used to seeing plain, and vice-a-versa. When I was in high school I wore very little makeup, t-shirts, and jeans. I always left my hair down and naturally straight. For junior prom I went in a gown, had my hair curled and styled, make up done, wore heels and NO ONE I mean NO ONE recognized me in the dim hall. And these were people who encountered my voice everyday. If in that case they couldn’t recognize me, well…I could see the reverse for the Prince.

But that does not cover the shoe debacle. “No,” you still say. “That shoe could fit thousands of other women.” Except it couldn’t. That shoe was designed to fit one person and one only. Now you have to remove yourself from a present state of mind. Today you can go to Payless, Marshalls, Wal-Mart, or whatever and find a shoe you like, purchasing it and you are not the only one as thousands of others all over the country are buying the same thing. Back then it was different. Everything was custom made. You don’t go down to the Payless and buy a shoe or Forever 21 and get a dress. Everything was ordered and made to fit you exactly. Depending on your economic status you either bought the material and made your dress at home, or hired a seamstress to create an outfit for you. The same goes for shoes. Each one was handmade by a cobbler to fit the client’s foot. Feet are actually very unique so the shoe would be designed to fit that client and that client only. Now, would someone else who has the same size feet not be able to wear your shoes, no they probably would, but it won’t fit like it would the client, therefore clearly showing it does not belong to that person.

In fact, as Cinderella does not have a coach in the original tale and runs past the prince home, this is an extremely logical approach. If the girl is running, that means she must live by. If she lives by, than she must have had her shoes made at one of the local cobblers. Thanks to guilds and family businesses, there would only be a few and the prince would only have to approach each cobbler who would recognize their own handiwork and be able to tell him who the shoe goes to. I mean it is a glass slipper only one cobbler probably could make it. It is an ingenious plan and would have worked, if not for that fact that the show wasn’t made by a cobbler, but gifted by Cinderella’s mother in the tale, and a fairy in the film. This of course causes the Prince to have to try and approach every house to find his lady love.

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5)Waiting Around and a Prince Will Save You

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Now this one always gets my rankles up. People complain about Cinderella just waiting around to have a prince save her. Yes it is bad to be waiting around for some guy to come along. But read the story! Watch the film! Cinderella is not expecting some guy to come around and save her, she is living her life and when a nice guy comes around is open to having a relationship with him. There is a big difference in hoping to catch some rich guy who will take care of you (Cinderella’s stepsisters) and having a rich, nice guy come into your life and you being open to being with him. As I said, if you read the story or watch the film, Cinderella doesn’t care about the prince she only wanted to go to a ball. She doesn’t want to catch the prince, but just have fun. She doesn’t try to go after him, he comes after her. It’s him that does the pursuing, not Cinderella. And is it really so bad to be open to love and open to possibilities? No. And let’s be honest, you saw her life, how could she say no? Not to mention he is the future king, it’s kind of hard to say no (unless you are Anne Boleyn)

And let’s give some props to the Prince. Now I’ve said this multiple times when I talk about the Darcy/Lizzie relationship, but the fact that the prince is willing to marry a girl who has been living as a servant for the past few years and most likely isn’t royal…that’s huge! HUGE. It was not done as this was scandal on the household, was a major diss to royal families everywhere that he would rather have a pauper than their highbred daughters, it brought no new money, it brought no new land; in essence it was a bad deal but the prince didn’t care as he loved her. We as Americans, especially those of us living in the west, do not comprehend “old money” vs. “new money”, and are used to two people from different social-economical worlds marrying. But back then, this did not happen. So props to you Prince.

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So Cinderella may not be as forward thinking or as modern as many out there wish, but for her time period Cinderella and the Prince are pretty awesome. And instead of hating on them you should all hate on the dad. Yep, the dad. If you read the original story, the mom dies, dad remarries, the stepmom is evil, but then we never hear of the dad again. Now in the film they give him a pass by making him dead, but just because he isn’t mentioned again doesn’t mean he died. I think he was a selfish loser and that he cared more about making money, the pleasures of his wife, etc; than he cared about his daughter. That needs more exploring, analyzing, and hating than Cinderella

Well I hope you enjoyed this post. Comment below on your thoughts and views on what I wrote, and let me know if you want another post like this. If you are anti-Cinderella 2015 I wish you a very happy unwatching. If you are going to see it, I am as my niece wants me to take her, I hope it is as good as Disney wishes it to be with their massive merchandising (it’s everywhere). Otherwise happy friday.

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For more on Cinderella, go to Cinderelly, Cinderelly

For more Brothers’ Grimm, go to Happily Ever Aftermath: Grimm (2012)

For more Disney, go to Well I Feel Sheepish: Chinese New Year

For more fairy tales, go to Heaven on Earth