Emma Sipiora is a freshman at St. Norbert College. Originally, she is from Kenosha, Wisconsin. She has three siblings; a twin brother and sisters that are also twins. She is currently an English major with a busy schedule. Emma is also a cheerleader here at SNC. When she is not busy working on homework and cheerleading, she loves to read and catch up on some sleep. In her fairytale, “The Cycle of Abuse,” she explores the story of “Cinderella” through the stepmother's eyes. Continue reading and watch the story unfold through a new point of view. - Abby Lesch
At one time, Lady Tremaine was a sweet, innocent, and pure girl. Then, at the young age of eighteen, she was orphaned in a cruel accident. Her parents had been at home when a fire broke out in the kitchen. Everything was lost. She scrambled to find her place in the world and had to do anything she could to survive. She worked any job she could find. She was a waitress, and a maid for a little while, just to name a few. Going through her life alone caused her heart to darken and harden. How could the world be so cruel to her? What had she done to deserve this?
A few years passed, and Lady Tremaine met a man. He spoiled her and treated her right. They fell in love, and for a while, things were good. She was happy again. They got married and she had two lovely daughters named Anastasia and Drizella. Lady Tremaine and her daughters did not have to do any work. And like her husband spoiled her, Lady Tremaine spoiled her daughters in the hope that they would never have to experience the suffering that she did. They never had to want for anything. Although they were a bit awkward, and often publicly embarrassing, she loved them all the same.
But unfortunately, tragedy struck again. Her husband died the same way her parents did. This time, it seemed as though there was nothing that could bring her out of the darkness. Her only purpose in this world was to care for her daughters. She remarried as quickly as she could in order to be able to provide for them. The man was kind and also a widower, but he could not replace her first husband. He had a daughter that reminded Lady Tremaine of herself when she was younger. The young girl, named Ella, was as sweet, innocent, and pure as Lady Tremaine was at eighteen years old. Ella had this charm and beauty about her that drew people in. You just couldn’t help but want to know her. Ella’s father loved her dearly. Anastasia and Drizella could never and probably would never be able to have the amount of grace and elegance that Ella had. Lady Tremaine realized all of this and became very envious. She just wanted to someone to love her as much as Ella’s father loved Ella. She wanted her daughters to have good lives, and with the way they often behaved, it would be hard to find good husbands for them.
Life went on. Lady Tremaine’s new husband was a merchant and often had to make long trips across the country. While out on a trip, he fell sick and died. Another merchant that had been traveling with him came to deliver the news.
Ella answered the door, and the man said, “Miss Ella, your father loved you dearly. He spent nearly every minute speaking only of you.”
When Lady Tremaine heard this, she couldn’t help but become even more envious. Her dislike for Ella solidified. She didn’t understand that the world wasn’t some magical place where everything would turn out okay in the end. People died and left you to face the world alone. Lady Tremaine wanted to teach the young girl the truth. She believed that no one should be able to stay so sweet, innocent, and pure. Lady Tremaine couldn’t, then no one else could either. Her heart had become closed off, and Lady Tremaine couldn’t find it in her to expend any love to Ella. She just didn’t have any left in her heart, for it was so dark. If everyone was going to die, why would she let another person into her heart?
Lady Tremaine’s first worry was how they were going to survive financially. Her first step was to dismiss the household staff. With no else to do the work, and her dislike for Ella so strong, Lady Tremaine put Ella to work. Ella did all the cleaning and cooking. From the moment she woke up, Ella was working. She worked as hard as Lady Tremaine did when she was younger. Anastasia and Drizella, as spoiled as they were, treated Ella like a servant. They took over her room and left Ella to sleep in the attic, which was often too cold and drafty. She sometimes would sleep in front of the fireplace in the kitchen, leaving her with ashes from the fire on her face.
When they saw her face, Anastasia exclaimed, “Look at how dirty she is. From now, we’ll call you Cinder-ella!” From that moment on, they would only refer to Ella as Cinderella, and Lady Tremaine only encouraged her daughters’ behavior.
Soon enough, an opportunity to dig herself out of financial ruin presented itself to Lady Tremaine. The prince decided to host a ball at the castle, and all the maidens in the land were invited. He was looking for a wife. She knew that this was an opportunity to find advantageous marriages for her daughters. They may even catch the eye of the prince. She quickly sent Ella to the seamstress, telling her to have her make three dresses as quickly as possible.
“Oh, thank you madam!” Cinderella said, beaming with happiness.
“What are you talking about?” questioned Lady Tremaine.
“Thank you for thinking of me…for getting me a dress,” Cinderella said slowly as she begun to realize that she was mistaken.
Lady Tremaine replied, “The dress is not for you. There is one for me, one for Anastasia, and one for Drizella. No one would want a peasant girl for a wife.”
Lady Tremaine knew that Ella would certainly outshine her own daughters, so she did not want Ella to go to the ball. She did everything she could to keep Ella from going when the day of the ball finally arrived.
She told Ella, “You can come to the ball only if you do the dishes, weed the garden, wash the floors, clean the laundry, dust all surfaces, and take out the trash.” Lady Tremaine knew that it would be next to impossible to finish all the chores in time, so she was astounded when, right as they were about to leave for the ball, Ella came down the stairs wearing a simple, yet beautiful dress.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Lady Tremaine said sternly.
“I won’t cause any trouble. I just want to go to the ball. I won’t even look at the prince!” Ella said quickly.
Lady Tremaine replied, “You can’t go looking like that! Your dress is in rags!” At this, she tore the sleeve on Ella’s dress. Anastasia and Drizella both started pulling and ripping other parts of her dress too. Lady Tremaine couldn’t think of any other way to keep Ella from the ball. They left Ella at the house, with her dress in rags, sitting on the stairs. Lady Tremaine couldn’t bring herself to feel any remorse.
At the ball, Lady Tremaine was constantly on the move, looking for the prince and making sure her daughters looked good. This night had to go perfectly if they wanted to live secure lives. She was looking for every opportunity to push Anastasia and Drizella towards the prince, but then some girl in a big, blue dress caught his eye, and he couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to anyone else. She kept looking for other noblemen for her daughters. Lady Tremaine knew her daughters wouldn’t mind settling for a rich nobleman instead of the prince.
After many hours of dancing and maneuvering, Lady Tremaine and her daughters headed for home. She was able to have the girls meet many eligible bachelors, and it was looking promising. After worrying about their future for so many weeks, Lady Tremaine was able to relax.
When they arrive home, Anastasia and Drizella were in high spirits, and Lady Tremaine was expecting Ella to be the complete opposite. Surprisingly, she was very happy.
“Cinderella, well aren’t you in the best of moods?”
Ella replied, “I’ve just spent some time out in the yard with the animals.” Ella had always been so fond of all the different animals their household harbored.
Lady Tremaine didn’t really believe what she said. Once everyone was in bed, she went snooping through Ella’s belongings. There had to be some sort of clue as to why she was acting the way she was. Of course, she found exactly what she was looking for. Hidden with some of her other trinkets was a glass slipper, just like the ones that the girl with the prince was wearing! Lady Tremaine decided that in the morning, she would confront Ella right away.
When Ella came down to make breakfast in morning, Lady Tremaine was already down there, with the shoe twirling around her finger.
“Why don’t you tell me where you actually were last night, Cinderella.”
Worriedly, glancing from her stepmother and back to the shoe, Ella replied, “I was here all night, madam. I had no dress, and no way to get to the ball.”
“Do not lie! I know that you were the girl the prince was so taken with! You will go to the ball and tell the prince who you are. You will make sure that I get a high position in the palace, and Anastasia and Drizella will be married to the most suitable bachelors in the land.”
“I will not,” replied Ella, very firmly.
“Alright then,” Lady Tremaine took the shoe and smashed it against the wall. She knew that there would be no way for Ella to prove herself to the prince without the shoe, and if Ella wouldn’t do what she wanted, then nobody would get want they wanted.
“How could you be so cruel?” asked Ella with tears in her eyes. “You have treated me worse than the dirt beneath your shoe. What have I done to deserve this treatment?”
Lady Tremaine replied, “I used to be just like you! Once I was as pure and innocent as you. But this world is cruel; it won’t do you any favors.” With this Lady Tremaine walked out of the kitchen and slammed the door.
Life returned to normal after that morning. Lady Tremaine and her daughters continued to treat Ella as a servant. They could care less about how she felt. The prince had been out searching for his mystery girl, apparently having the other glass slipper that fell off Ella’s foot. Lady Tremaine kept scheming, because she knew that Ella could not be allowed to try on the other glass slipper, or everything would be ruined.
The prince and his entourage went all over the country looking for his mystery girl. But by the time the prince’s court arrived at their household, Lady Tremaine had Ella locked in the attic, so only Anastasia and Drizella would be able to try on the slipper. Unfortunately, she did not account for the windows in the attic. While Anastasia was trying on the slipper, they could all hear singing echoing around the house.
Lady Tremaine tried every excuse she could, but they forced her to unlock the attic. Of course, when Ella tried on the shoe, it fit. She left with the prince and left Lady Tremaine and her daughters in the house. Ella left the house and never looked back, vowing to never treat anyone the way she was treated, therefore stopping the cycle of abuse.
Forced to work again, with no marriage prospects for her daughters, Lady Tremaine lived unhappily ever after.