Although Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” published in 1837, contains many patronizing nineteenth-century attitudes towards women, a value system that at least acknowledges the legitimacy of femininity shapes the fairytale. Unfortunately, Walt Disney’s 1989 film version of “The Little Mermaid” eliminates the values that affirm femininity in the original story (Trites 145)
Walt Disney needed to change his version and many of his other fairy tales and in doing so started a change in the way we see fairy tales. Ask someone today to define a fairy tale and they will tell you along the lines of a beautiful woman put threw hardships that in the end of the story gets the man and becomes a queen of her own castle.
If children or adults think of the great classical fairy tales today, be it Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella, they will think Walt Disney. Their first and perhaps lasting impression of these tales and others will have emanated from Disney film, book, or artefacts (Zipes 72)
Before Disney the definition was:
Simple narrative typically of folk origin dealing with supernatural beings. Fairy tales may be written or told for the amusement of children or may have a more sophisticated narrative containing supernatural or obviously improbable events, scenes, and personages and often having a whimsical, satirical, or moralistic character. The term embraces popular folktales such as “Cinderella” and “Puss in Boots,” as well as art fairy tales of late...
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...on silver plates. Disney changed the idea of the fairy tale from a girl who works for what she wants to a girl who gets what she wants.
"The Little Mermaid." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
Merriam-Webster. "Fairy Tale." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
Tatar, Maria. The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales. Norton: New York, 2002. Print.
Tatar, Maria. Off with Their Heads!: Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1992. Print.
Trites, Roberta. "Disney's Sub / Version of Andersen's The Little Mermaid." Journal of Popular Film and Television 18.4 (1991): 145-52. Print.
Warner, Marina. From the Beast to the Blond on Fairy Tales and Their Tellers. New York: Chatto & Windus, 1994. Print.
Zipes, Jack. Fairy Tale as Myth/myth as Fairy Tale. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1994. Print.
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