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Functions of Folklore

There are several diverse functions of Folklore. Some of the most common include educating the young in socially expectable ways to act, or just as a temporary escape from reality. However, if Folk Tales are examined more closely, we find that many are used to pass down a cultures morals and values from one generation to the next.
Folk Lore fulfills the role of teaching the importance of maintaining conformity and the status quo. In the Brothers Grimm telling of Cinderella, Cinderella is told by her mother to be a good girl, to say her prayers, and God will always help you. After her mother’s death, Cinderella does as she was told. She does not complain openly about her hardships, or seek retribution for the torment given to her by her sisters. She remains devoted to her mother and God, offering prayers daily.

Later when she needs assistance, Cinderella is help by outside forces. When she is in desperate need of a dress so she can attend the ball, magical birds produce a beautiful gown for her to wear when she ask for help at her mothers grave. We are led to believe that Cinderella’s goodness wins her divine favor. Another important act by the magical birds comes near the end of the story when they expose Cinderella’s sister as they try to dupe the Prince into thinking that they are the one he is looking for. Where as the birds rewarded Cinderella’s righteousness, they punished her sisters for their cruelty and dishonesty.

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The Charles Parrualt version of Cinderella not only shows the consequences of being good and bad, but also teaches the value of forgiveness. In this story Cinderella is still tormented by her sisters. And she is still aided by oustside forces. The main difference bewtween the Grimm’s version and Parrualts being that in this version she forgives she forgives her sisters for all the cruelty that she is suffered at their hands.
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