The late Bettelheim was born in Vienna in 1930. As a psychologist, he wrote many books one of which is the uses of enchantment written in 1975. It is from this book that, Cinderella, a story about sibling rivalry and oedipal conflicts is extracted. The story is about Cinderella, a girl who was brought up in a life full of mistreatment from her step mother and step sisters. Irrespective of being undermined and badly mistreated, she endured and finally rose to become victorious and successful in life against the wishes of her foes.
This story revolves around a household where Cinderella was subjected to perform all odd and dirty jobs. She tried to perform all duties assigned to her, but her efforts were never recognized. These mistreatments finally matured and brought enmity amongst the siblings in the whole house where Cinderella was at the centre stage. It is evident that this was facilitated by her step mother (Bettelheim, 1975, p.652).
The Main Theme and Purpose of the Story
Sibling enmity is the main theme of this story. In normal situations, parents are expected to treat their siblings equally without favor. When the parents violet this statement, enmity among the siblings starts to develop. Mistreatment will automatically start to trigger emotions and feelings in the victim, hence development of hater ate.
The story is intended to teach the young generations a lesson that, regardless of the problems they may be encountering at any developmental stage, they will overcome them and shine at the end. From another view, the story can reflect a very important point that children may encounter problems at an early age. As they grow, the problems will be fading out, and by maturity, they will be free from such problems and success comes their way. If this story is viewed from that perspective, then young children who are exposed to problems will have hope for the future. From the way Cinderella behaves under tough conditions, her emotions have a great impact on many young people (Bettelheim, 1975, p.654).
This story is very relevant today and has many lessons that can be learned. In agreement, most families depict signs of favor towards some children at the expense of others. For example, those who perform well in school or those who have special talents are favored most. This brings about emotional reaction from those undermined resulting to acute enmity between children of the same family. It is ironical that those who are undermined emerge to be successful at the end. There is a similar incident in the holy books like the Bible where there is a story of Joseph (Bettelheim, 1975, p.653).
To some extent, this essay disagrees with the author in his perception that children should believe that the problems they encounter as they grow up will not follow them to maturity, instead they will be successful. This is because, in any household, there are children with problems and some without. Then a question arises, “What perception do those children without problems have?” This assumption will not be true to those who fail in life at maturity, but it will remain to be a dream.
In conclusion, the story has got important lesson to be learnt by both children and parents. Parents should learn to treat their children equally, and the suffering siblings should have hope for the bright future. This story is relevant in today’s life as enmity among siblings is at the top gear in most families.