For the first twelve years of my life fairy tales, princesses, and Disney shaped how I saw the world around me. Through their movies and fairy tales, Disney made me believe that animals could talk, toys could come alive, and of course that for every girl there was a prince charming in her future. The problem is, Disney creates these happy tales when the original versions aren't quite as loving and chipper. While the Disney empire creates nice pictures of "happily-ever-after," there are great alterations to the original versions while inculcating cultural values without necessarily examining them.
In Disney’s movie The Little Mermaid, Ariel, a sixteen-year-old mermaid princess, is dissatisfied with life under the sea and curious about the human world. Ariel fills a secret cave with all the human artifacts she has found and collected. She frequently goes to the forbidden surface to visit Scuttle the seagull, who gives her very inaccurate and comical knowledge of human life. Ignoring the warnings from her father and Sebastian that contact between mer-people and humans would be tragic, Ariel still longs to be a part of the human world. This being an example, Ariel portrays many traits which would seem typical to a teenage girl. She rebels against her father, struggles to remember important things, she wants what she cannot have, and spends most of her time pining over Prince Charming.
As I mentioned before, Disney doesn't create these stories themselves. In this particular case there is Hans Christian Anderson's 1863 version of a tale much darker. In his version,The Little Mermaid lives in an underwater kingdom with her father the sea king; her grandmother; and her six sisters. When they turn 15, they are allowed to swim to the surface to see the world above. Where as, for Disney, the surface is forbidden no matter what.
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