The Morals In Disney’S Film “The Little Mermaid” Essay

Disney’s film, “The Little Mermaid” is one of the most successful and popular animated films that Disney has ever produced. However, the morals presented in the original fairy tale were twisted in the film. Author and scholar A. Waller Hastings in his article, “Moral Simplification in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” criticizes how Disney’s constant simplification of morals and their portrayal of the real world has negatively impacted younger viewers into having the wrong impression of life. He strengthens his claims on Disney by using credible sources that make the article more persuasive and give him credibility. He also not only talks about the production of “The Little Mermaid” but includes other Disney animated films. Hasting believes that his audience, which are those interested in children literature and/or any literature professor, agrees with him on the concept that children need to be exposed to the elements of the real world.

Hasting begins his article by stating that “critics have been troubled by Walt Disney’s treatment of classical children’s literature and fairy tales.” He utilizes evidence to further strengthen his claim. By quoting authors of children’s literature such as Frances Clarke Sayers, Hasting can now immediately build up his argument simply because a credible source agrees with him. He then goes on to mention Zipes, a scholar of fairy tales, to develop his main claim about Disney simplifying their films to “falsify life”.

Hasting’s use of evidence to support his claim is an attempt of logos, he is trying to appeal to one’s sense of logic. Although his evidence on Sayers is weakened due to the fact that her article was written before “The Little Mermaid” was released. Hasting main argues is that Disney should not remove important conflicts and events when recreating the fairy tale. He supports this by stating that both the film and the fairy tale include romance and desire however, the film strips away “its moral and psychological complexity”. This means that instead of pointing out the good lessons of the story they create simple harmless kid movies. For example, Anderson’s mermaid goes through much pain and suffering to emphasize that one is responsible for their own decisions whereas in the film Ariel does not endure the pain, here the ultimate goal is true love.

Hasting uses this in his article to get his audience to realize that although Disney may be protecting children from harsh realities, it is actually only giving children false hope and affecting their ability to critically think. Further Hasting includes other works from Disney. He informs one that “In Picnocchio for instance, Disney intentionally narrowed the story to create a more cohesive plot…”. By talking about other Disney animated films like Pinocchio, Snow White, and Cinderella, Hastings can prove to his audience that Disney sweetens all of their folktales and that it certainly has an effect on their younger audience.

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