Mark Reads ‘Ella Enchanted’: Chapters 21 / 22

In the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of Ella Enchanted, Prince Char arrives to (almost literally) sweep Ella off her feet, but Ella’s new family makes things worse forever. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Ella Enchanted.

Chapter Twenty-One / Chapter Twenty-Two

  • Gail Carson Levine doesn’t mince words here, and it’s made clear very quickly that the curse that she’s placed on Olga and Peter is ATROCIOUS. Yeah, I don’t feel particularly sorry for these people, but that doesn’t meant that I condone what happened to them. And it’s all too much for Ella, who knows that if she remains in the room, it’ll only be a matter of time before Lucinda spots her. So she hides upstairs and ponders the strangeness of her life.
  • Not for long, though, because Prince Char, who had arrived just at the right time to see Ella bound up the stairs, follows Ella to her hiding place, and what takes place is a perfect representation of why this guy is a MEGA DREAMBOAT. His sense of humor works well with Ella’s, and they both clearly appreciate a good adventure. It’s through their conversation about why Ella was hiding that some interesting character traits come out. The prince, like Ella, understands that he does bear some responsibility for his own life, but he also is eager to rebel against order and the respectable sensibility that he’s expected to embrace. That’s manifested in his use of his buttons to leave a Hansel-and-Gretel-style trail while they try to find an alleged secret passageway. “I’m destroying my dignity without sliding down anything,” he jokes.
  • OH MY GOD CRYSTAL SLIPPERS THAT FIT ELLA PERFECTLY. AHHHHHH I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I love that this retelling has certain aspects that are the same as the original tale, but it’s also fun to read such a meta take on fairy tales in general.
  • The idea of destined love – or any love that is not a choice, for that matter – is explicitly discussed here in the text, and it’s so refreshing to read. Both Char and Ella come to the conclusion that love “shouldn’t be dictated,” and Char’s willing to go a step further, too: As little as possible she be dictated in general.
  • THE BANNISTER SLIDING SCENE IS SO GREAT. IT’S SO PERFECT. Ugh, Prince Char is too much. Which is precisely why Levine warns us with the last sentence of chapter twenty-one that it’s inevitable that Hattie, the more jealous of the step-sisters, is going to run this.
  • It’s not immediate, though that’s because Mum Olga ruins everything FIRST. I admit that I’m a bit confused about how Lucinda’s gift works in this instance because Olga, who learns that Peter is broke, acts as if she is no longer in love with Peter at all. Obviously, that’s no surprising; we knew through Hattie that Olga wanted Peter for his money. That whole family was obsessed with being rich. I suppose that Olga’s love doesn’t need to extend to anyone else, as long as she still loves Peter. BECAUSE CLEARLY SHE HAS NO PLANS OF EVER LOVING ELLA.
  • Colored me surprised that briefly – ever so briefly – Peter defends his own daughter and demands that she not be treated as a servant in her own home. It doesn’t make up for anything else, but I definitely didn’t expect it.
  • It took Hattie less than twenty-four hours to issue a command to Ella. In this instance, she uses it to prevent Ella from seeing Prince Char. TWICE. So that she can have him for herself.
  • I really wanted this book to never have another scene with Hattie in it ever again. I CAN’T DEAL WITH HER.
  • CHAR’S JOURNAL ENTRY IS LITERAL PAIN NOW AND FOREVER. And Ella can’t ever even explain to him why she is the way she is, though her letter to him is a creative way to explain why she couldn’t come down to see him. It’s interesting to me that we’re dealing with another trope in fairy tales – that of forbidden love – but it’s done in a way that is utterly unlike anything else I’ve ever read. Clearly, Char and Ella are perfect for one another, but Ella’s bizarre curse is complicating her chances of ever being with him.
  • And it’s still Cinderella in that aspect, especially since Ella and Peter are now of low economic standing. We’ve got the step-sisters and the stepmother who are determined to treat Ella as poorly as possible out of a vitriolic form of envy. I’m hoping that Char and Ella can communicate secretly without any interference from the rest of her family because… well, what form of hope does she have left?
  • “In the meanwhile, what would I have to endure from my stepfamily?”

Please note that the original text/videos contain uses of the words “mad” and “idiot.”

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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