The Cinderella Stories: Cultural Transmission Through Storytelling

“WHAT AM I GOING TO DO MY SENIOR THESIS ON????” will eventually completely envelope almost every college senior’s experience. (Excepting those who aren’t required to do one – they usually get internships which may or may not be better, actually.)

I came up with the idea of comparing different Cinderella adaptations after hearing about a Filipino version of the story. I love comparing things cross-culturally, and realized that even though Cinderella is so widely known as a fairy tale, aspects of it are always changed culture to culture. After discussion with friends and mentors, I decided to go for it!

That’s not to say I didn’t change my project along the way – during my pre-writes and even as I was doing research I found so many changes necessary to the way this project was developing. Even the process for deciding the source material itself was difficult:

  1. I thought it’d be simple to compare all the Cinderella adaptations I could find…
  2. Then I found out there are literally hundreds of adaptations, and I certainly could not read / watch them all within a span of six months.
  3. Then I decided to cut down on the number of works I was covering to fit within a specific criteria (mostly based on their target audience) but still, I feel like my research would have been a lot stronger had I more time and resources to really delve into each and every adaptation (which, honestly, might have taken me years haha).

Anyway, passing quickly through the turbulent research, writing, and editing processes, I ended up first composing this poster for a Regional Honors Conference. Using the comments I received there, I was able to create an oral + visual presentation of my research for my own University Honors Program’s senior conference, and then go on to finally finish and turn in the thesis this past April.

I have to be honest with you, dear reader: it was a LOT of work, and there were many things I know that I could’ve done in much simpler ways.

Still, I’m glad that I did the work and was able to present it to so many people. I got many good comments from students and faculty alike, and at the end of it all I feel like this was a successful project: not because it was perfectly done, but because I learned so much about how to conduct, analyze, and present original research.

Feel free to comment on any of this, or to share any ideas on how I can further this kind of research!

(Banner image from Walt Disney Studios, obviously)