Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2016


I focus on the study of the role of the ball gowns in fairy tales, and I argue that Donkey Skin and Cinderella’s civilization process happens through their clothes. I demonstrate that the garments bear considerable historic values in the narratives. The performance they put in place is allowed by the wealth of their dresses.
I apply Butler’s performance theory to show that the performance of the two heroines is the inherent necessity to their social ascent and social recognition. For both heroines, the performance is a strategy to overcome the punitive aspects they underwent in their animal state. The two heroines embody the XVII’s century notion of the femme civilisée. They perform the gendered royal social status according to the court expectations and they engage in the ostentatious mode of appearance at Court by citing the court, hence, reinforcing the rules of appearance at court. The court society comes to believe in the performance. Hence, Donkey Skin and Cinderella construct their social identity thought the performance of the royal status at court.


Cinderella, Donkey Skin, Perrault, performance, social identity, clothes

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Pamela Cheek

Second Committee Member

Dr. Stephen Bishop

Third Committee Member

Dr. Susanne Baackmann