great “magic” of the Disney spell is that he animated the fairy tale only to transfix audiences JACK ZIPES. Breaking the Disney Spellt. It was not once upon a. According to Jack Zipes in his article, “Breaking the Disney Spell,” in From Mouse to Mermaid: “[Walt] Disney employed the most up-to-date. Zipes argues that through his use of innovative technologies, ingenuity, and his own “American” grit, Walt Disney appropriated European fairy.

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This article cites the famous quote by Woody Allen in Annie Hall: By these films were no longer popular so that he and Ub Iwerks developed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons that also found favor with audiences. Printed animations, which had become widespread in Europe and America during the latter part of the nineteenth century, heralded in the age of comic books, which assisted in redefining our understanding of traditional interpretations of fairy tales.

Casting the Commodity Spell with Snow White Disney’s hero is the enterprising young man, the entrepreneur, who uses technology to his advantage. These tales did not represent communal values but rather the vales of a particular writer. In this regard, the prince can be interpreted as Disney, who directed the love story from the beginning. While we may believe that the text is innocently conveying a story, it conveys in truth the hidden purpose of the author, who may use it to propagate their agenda and thereby affect public opinion.

By this time the fairy tale had expanded as a high art form operas, ballets, dramas and low art form folk plays, vaudevilles, and parodies and a form developed classically and experimentally for children and adults. You are commenting using your WordPress. In order to be accepted into the cultivated literary circles of the French bourgeoisie of the late seventeenth century, fairy tales had to be transformed.

Part of the animation game consisted of developing mythologies that gave the animator some sort of special status.

Foundational Essay: Zipes’ “Breaking the Disney Spell”

Disney did not especially care whether one knew the original Perrault text of Puss in Boots or some other popular version. In short, by institutionalizing the literary fairy tale, writers and publishers violated the forms and concerns of non-literate, essentially peasant communities and set new standards of taste, production, and reception through the discourse of the fairy tale.


Disney vowed to maintain complete control over all of his productions and introduced many innovations, like sound, improved animation, and color, to his animated films. When the day of the bullfight arrives, the masked hero struggles but eventually manages to defeat the bull. The way Disney movies captivated the audience was magic. When he does arrive, he takes all the credit as champion of the disenfranchised, and he takes Snow White to his castle while the dwarfs are left as keepers of the forest.

Yet, primitive though it was, the order of the scenes did form a coherent, logical, and progressive continuity. He robs the literary tale of its voice and changes its form and meaning.

What were the major prescriptions, expectations, and standards of the literary fairy tale by the end of the nineteenth century? In the meantime, he and Iwerks had to devise another character for their company if they were to survive, and they conceived the idea for films featuring a pert mouse named Mickey. Click here to sign up. At first glance, it would seem that the changes that Disney made were not momentous. Although the plots varied and the themes and characters were altered, the classical fairy tale for children and adults reinforced the patriarchal symbolic order based on rigid notions of sexuality and gender.

The imposition of childish behavior on the dwarves, Snow White’s resulting mothering, the age ambiguities in both Snow White and the dwarves, the “Cinderella” elements, and the suppression of any form of sexuality were transmitted by that theatrical tradition, which embodied a thoroughly developed philosophy of moral education in representations for children.

But who is this commoner? Consequently, there were tales of initiation, worship, warning, and indoctrination. In its place didney put jokes and songs and fright effects, but he always seemed to diminish what he touched. He cast a spell over this German tale and transformed it into something peculiarly American. Along with its closure and reinforcement of patriarchy, the fairy tale also served to encourage notions of rags to riches, pulling yourself up spelll your bootstraps, dreaming, miracles, etc.


Though the illustrations often enriched and deepened a tale, they were generally subservient to the text. This change did not happen overnight, but it did foster discrimination among writers and their audiences almost immediately so that distinct genres were recognized and approved for certain occasions and functions within polite society or cultivated circles of readers.

In particular the animals befriend Snow White and become her protectors. Disney faced bankruptcy because he refused to capitulate to the exploitative conditions that Mintz set for the distribution and production of Disney’s films. Thus, the king is dispossessed, and the young man outraces him with the help of his friends. Despite the implications of these themes, Zipes argues that Disney was not acting as a rabble-rouser for social change.

Breaking the Disney Spell by Cassie Beckman on Prezi

However, the domination of the word in the development of the fairy tale as genre was about to change. Showing little reverence for literary tradition, Disney focused less of maintaining the integrity of the breakinh text and focused more zieps on displaying his innovative and technological accomplishments.

These writers put the finishing touches on the fairy-tale genre at a time when nation-states were assuming their modern form and cultivating particular forms of literature as commensurate braeking of national cultures. The man’s spell over the fairy tale seems to live on even after his death. Though the illustrations often enriched and deepened a tale, they were more subservient to the text. In fact, he deceives the masses and the king by creating the illusion that he is stronger than the bull.

He does nothing to help the people or the community.

They were part and parcel of the class struggles in the discourses of that period. In contrast to the traditional fairy tale, the hero is not a peasant, nor is he dumb. Of course, the hero will do anything to obtain the king’s daughter, and he must disguise himself as a masked bullfighter.