Unknown artist, "Cinderella," nineteenth century, in Cendrillon at Parson’s Nose by William Goldstein. Hometown Pasadena, October 18, 2012. http://hometown-pasadena.com
The pumpkin plays a pivotal role in this classic rags-to-riches fairytale. Its commonness and lack of sophistication epitomized the poor rural way of life in which Cinderella was raised and provided the ultimate foil to the opulent life of the rich and sophisticated in which she would live happily ever after. Later generations of Americans would likely interpret the pumpkin’s transformation into a golden carriage as a glorification of the vegetable and the poor, hard-working way of life it embodied. Yet if other sources from this time period are a fair indication, the pumpkin was an ambiguous symbol, serving as a marker of both a rural abyss and rural virtue.