Disney Films: The Little Mermaid

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The first thing to pop into one’s mind when they hear The Little Mermaid is most likely the Disney animated movie starring the beautiful red haired mermaid, Ariel. However, as with most Disney films, The Little Mermaid is an adaption of an original story written by Hans Christian Andersen in the 1830s. The creation of this classic fairytale into an animated feature required alterations from the Disney corporation, leading to a final product that is reminiscent of Andersen’s original story with added layers of American culture, sexism, and musical numbers. The initial release of Disney’s The Little Mermaid was highly successful both domestically and overseas, resulting in a total box office revenue of about 180 million. Although the …show more content…
The original story of The Little Mermaid is encompassed by the mermaid’s desire for an eternal soul, which is only an attribute of humans not mermaids. Her longing to achieve salvation is the overriding reason for almost all of her decisions, which leads her on a journey of self realization and self sacrifice. This longing consumes almost every aspect of the story and is a clear, if not at times literal, incorporation of Andersen’s religious ideals that were influenced by his current culture. Let’s remember that this fairytale is intended for children; the story is used as a lesson to teach children about the importance of religion and moral behavior, encouraging moral obedience through self control. This interactive fairytale “transforms [its listeners] into participants in the fictions...and thus returns them to their real lives for the choice between good and evil-smiles and tears” (Mortensen 445). The story encourages self control through the character of the little mermaid by witnessing the various painful tasks she endures to achieve the ultimate goal. Moral behavior, while riddled throughout, is most powerfully expressed in the conclusion when the little mermaid stabs herself instead of the prince, transforming into sea
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