Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Belle Isn't All That

Having viewed Finding Nemo, Cars, and Beauty and the Beast (Booty and the Beast, according to my daughter) at least 100 times each, I’ve not only become a huge Disney fan but also an expert analyst of the hidden subtext of these great works. Join me as I embark on a socioeconomic exploration of these classic films! First, I tackle Beauty and the Beast head on.

Little town/ it’s a quiet village/ every day… like the one before, little town, full of little people, waking up to say…Bonjour!

So Belle is bored. Every day is indistinguishable from another. We wake up in the morning, toil, and go to bed at night to rest up for yet more toiling the following day. Welcome to the human condition! If I wanted to show off here, I would quote Sartre and Camus (see: The Myth of Sisyphus) Also, here the term “little people” doesn’t refer to the townspeople’s height; Belle is belittling their aspirations and worldview.

There goes the baker with his trade like always; the same old bread and rolls to sell. Every morning just the same/since the morning that we came/to this poor provincial town. Good morning Belle!

In spite of the insults she hurls at tradesmen, they are very polite to her. After all, she is beautiful and seems to have a positive disposition. But her anti-capitalist attitude is irritating: where does she think the goods she consumes--including the books she loves--come from?

“I just finished the most wonderful story about a beanstalk…”

Jack and the Beanstalk is a fine story, but Dostoevsky it ain’t. Looks like Belle lacks substance when it comes to having something to actually feel superior about. She may be literate, but the books she favors fall into the Harlequin Romance genre. Not that there’s anything wrong with a good bodice-ripping yarn, but it’s not a basis for bragging.

“Well, it’s my favorite! Far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!...Here’s where she meets Prince Charming, but she won’t discover that it’s him till chapter three.”

I want much more than this provincial life!

And for once it might be grand, to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned.

There must be more than this provincial life!

The only “provincial” aspect I see here is Belle’s taste in leading men and literature.

Next week I reveal how Finding Nemo embodies every parent’s worst nightmare and her greatest joys. Marlon, c'est moi.

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