The Stepsister’s Tale: Essay & Project Ideas

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The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett is more than just a fun read. It also opens up plenty of opportunities for discussion — which is why today, we’re offering some ideas for classroom projects and discussion topics. (Please note: some discussion topics are adapted from questions included in the back of The Stepsister’s Tale.)

stepsister's tale high resDiscussion Ideas:

  • Compare the traditional idea of “happily ever after” with the ending in The Stepsister’s Tale. How are they similar? How are they different? What do you think defines a “happily ever after” ending?
  • Discuss other adaptations of the Cinderella story, and compare them to The Stepsister’s Tale. What makes Cinderella such a popular story to retell?
  • Discuss social classes, and how these perceptions affect the characters in The Stepsister’s Tale. What correlation can you make to how social class affects our perceptions in the real world?
  • This version of Cinderella is notably lacking in any sort of actual magic. How does the lack of a fairy godmother and any real magic change the story? Does it?
  • Appearance vs. reality: discuss how these two things come into play in The Stepsister’s Tale.

Classroom Projects:

  • Ask students to choose another well-known story or fairy tale, and rewrite it from the supposed villain’s perspective. How might the story change when told from another POV? What “facts” might have been told wrong?
  • Research the history of the Cinderella story, and explore how it has been told (and retold) throughout the years. Look at how the story has evolved, and consider why it has continued to be so popular after so many centuries.
  • Choose a scene from The Stepsister’s Tale and rewrite it as a play. Then perform the scene for your classmates.

For the comments: What are some other ideas you have for using The Stepsister’s Tale in the classroom?

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