August 6, 2012
Evaluating Cultural Differences and Examples in Disney's The Princess and the Frog Cultural differences can be seen anywhere in the world wherever there are two or more cultures present. These differences can be verbal or nonverbal. Even in movies, cultural differences are often allocated throughout the film. One film in particular, which happens to be a children’s movie titled The Princess and the Frog, is a fairy tale set in Jazz Age-era New Orleans and spotlighted on a young woman named Tiana. This is a movie filled with cultural differences and cultural bias. Throughout this paper, one will read about cultural identity and cultural bias found within the movie. In addition to cultural identity and cultural bias, the concept of cultural patterns and what types of cultural patterns that are exhibited in the film will also be discussed. Cultural Identity
Generating a cultural identity for animated characters on the silver screen is not a simple task. Screenplay writers must address the many layers that form an individual’s cultural identity and seamlessly integrate those pieces into the personality of the imagined character. A successful animated character is one that the audience relates to on a personal level. The character has realistic, relatable personality traits yet keeps the element of fantasy and surrealism that audience members expect from an animated movie. This expectation is increased many times over when the animated film bears the Disney logo. In the film The Princess and the Frog (2009), Disney animators chose to make the new princess an African American woman from New Orleans, Louisiana. For the screenplay writers, directors, and animators, this meant they needed to dissect the intricate relationship between racial, gender, regional, and national cultural identity to create believable characters.
The Princess and the Frog is about a young girl who lives in New Orleans named Tiana. Tiana lives with her mother, who works for a wealthy white family, the LaBouff family. The LaBouff family has a young daughter named Charlotte and Tiana’s mother, Eudora, is making a dress for Charlotte. Tiana and her mother are really close to Charlotte; she is around the same age as Tiana. Charlotte enjoys fairy tales so Eudora reads the story of "The Frog Prince." While reading the story, Charlotte becomes infatuated with the idea of kissing a frog and turning it into a prince, while Tiana is not so enthused. After the story is complete, Tiana and her mother go home. Upon arriving at home, Tiana’s father James is already there preparing gumbo; Tiana’s favorite. As the meal is finished, her father tells Tiana about his dream to one day open his own restaurant. Tiana responds by stating that she wants to help; her father claims they will call it Tiana's Place. Upon seeing the Evening Star outside her window, Tiana makes a wish, to which her father explains that wishing can only go so far, and that she has to help that wish along. The remainder of the movie follows Tiana as she strives to keep her father’s dream alive. In order to do so, Tiana worked and worked, only to save a majority of the money for her restaurant. In the end, Tiana fulfills her father’s dream and lived happily ever after with her prince named Naveen. Tiana and Naveen
As the main protagonists of the film, Tiana and Naveen are the natural choice for demonstrating the vast differences in cultural values between the United States and the imaginary European country Naveen purportedly hails from. Tiana is a representation of the American dream that success is available to anyone regardless of station so long as that person is willing to sacrifice and work hard to achieve the dream (Stiuliuc, 2011). Within the first few scenes after the opening credits, Tiana is depicted as hard working and frugal, eschewing...