10 February 2013
In the article The Masks of Mickey Mouse, Robert Brockway explains how Mickey Mouse was one of the most important cultural symbols during the twentieth century. The article discusses how mickey mouse went from being a slap stick cartoon character like all other animated personalities and grew into a much more complicated being. He was the sign of hope and escape during the depression and evolved even more into the dominating avatar of Disney itself.
Brockway begins his article by describing Walt Disney himself trying to explain the dramatic success of his simply drawn cartoon character. It starts the article by showing the reader that even Disney himself is shocked by the massive popularity the animated mouse collects during the 1920s and 1930s. This also sets up the first point the writer pushes which is that Mickey Mouse is no ordinary cartoon character but a diverse, evolving cultural symbol that everyone around the world can relate to. As the author puts it, “He has become an archetypal symbol, not only to Americans but to people everywhere, especially to the generation that was young during the thirties.” Brockway goes on to reinforce the initial argument by stating that the entire film industry was shocked by the torrential success of Disney’s character and saying, “Mickey was instantly popular not only among ordinary people young and old, but with intellectuals, artists, and heads of state (Profiles of Popular Culture 80).” The author continues to press the point of the cartoon’s global influence talking about the king, George V, in England requiring a Mickey Mouse short be watched before every film performances and the Emperor of Japan wearing a Mickey Mouse watch.
Shortly after proving Mickey’s dominance of international culture Brockway talks about how complicated the short, round mouse really is. He claims Disney himself tried to explain the mouse’s popularity simply on his plainness, saying that everyone...