In The Little Glass Slipper, Cinderella is undergoing what anthropologist Victor Turner, in his theory regarding rites de passage, would regard as a transitional period between being a girl under the protection of her mother and a woman under the protection of a husband. During this transitional, or liminal, state, Cinderella is prepared for her new role by a series of instructors so that she may become what her culture views as an ideal wife. She is first instructed by her stepfamily, which teaches her through forced labor and maltreatment to become the ideal passive, hard working, domestic housewife. Once this training is complete, Cinderella's Fairy Godmother further transforms Cinderella into the other womanly ideal, that of the pure, beautiful, desirable socialite.
[...] As well as the necessity of communicating the sacra, the Fairy Godmother waits until this point to transform Cinderella the final time because only once the Prince promises marriage has she proven that she has the abilities and attributes required of her new role as a princess. If the Fairy Godmother had given Cinderella a stable form sooner, before she had completed this final part of the liminal stage, then she may not have been able to marry the Prince, and therefore would not have aggregated. [...]
[...] In this context, it is difficult to accept the Fairy Godmother as simply a savior or guardian as she is often viewed, for a guardian spirit would be remiss to allow Cinderella to suffer for so long a time without lending any assistance. With this in mind, and taking into account the extreme power that she holds over Cinderella by mandating her timely exit from the ball with magic, it is clear that the Fairy Godmother is another instructor. Her purpose is to shape Cinderella into the other womanly ideal of the time, that of a creature of surpassing grace and beauty. [...]
[...] Cinderella is forced to sleep the top of the house in a garret, upon a wretched straw (161). Such seclusion is common to liminal individuals, as Turner states “since neophytes are not only structurally “invisible” (though physically visible) and ritually polluting, they are often secluded,” and for these reasons Cinderella, like initiates in many other cultures and rites to be hidden,” in her case in a garret on the roof because her stepfamily does not want to associate with an interstructural person. [...]
[...] The members of the stepfamily are instructors rather than simply cruel individuals because they are met with such complete passivity, and they also instruct Cinderella in skills required for aggregation. Cinderella is forced to become passive and to spend her day occupied entirely with housework and caring for family members by preparing the stepsisters for the ball. These skills and attributes were seen as ideal for a housewife at the time, and through the instruction of the stepsisters Cinderella learns this ideal, and proves her attainment of it by doing her chores well, submitting to the stepfamily, and preparing the stepsisters well for the ball. [...]
[...] Cinderella also loses her name along with her status, similarly to liminal persons whose “very names are taken from them and each is called solely by a generic term for “neophyte” or (96). Though the names Cinderella or Cinderbreech do not mean “initiand,” those examples are based on cultures with formal rites. The rite Cinderella is undergoing is in no way traditional or formal, thus her name is not one of a neophyte in a common ritual, but yet another piece of symbolism identifying her as unclean and socially unaccepted. Not only does Cinderella lose her status and name, but she also loses physical presence in the household. [...]
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