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. 2 Rumpelstiltskin and the Decline of Female Productivity. 3 Breaking the Disney Spell. 4 Spreading Myths about Iron John. 5 Oz as American Myth.

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On the contrary, Disney employed the most up-to- date technological means and used his own “American” grit and ingenuity to appropriate the European fairy tales.

The domestication is related to colonization insofar as the ideas and types are portrayed as models of behavior to be emulated. This privatization violated the communal aspects of the folk tale, but the very printing of a fairy tale was already a violation since it was based on separation of social classes.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Though other filmmakers and animators produced remarkable fairy-tale films, Disney managed to gain a cultural stranglehold on the fairy tale, and this stranglehold has even tightened with the recent productions of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin When the day of the bullfight arrives, the masked hero struggles but eventually manages to defeat the bull.

After making his first fairy-tale films in close cooperation with Ub Iwerks in Kansas City, Disney moved to Hollywood, where he developed the taylorized studio to the point of perfection.

As oral folk tales, they were intended to explain natural occurrences such as the change of the seasons and shifts in the weather or to celebrate the rites of harvesting, hunting, marriage, and conquest.

According to Zipes, Disney made the following changes:. Scenes could now be staged and selected specially for the camera, and the movie maker could control both the material and its arrangement.

The manner in which he copied the musical plays and films of his time, and his close adaptation of fairy tales with patriarchal codes indicate that all the technical experiments would not be used to foster social change in America, but to keep power in the hands of individuals like himself, who felt empowered to design and create new worlds.

Indeed, because it was born out of alienation, the literary fairy tale fostered a search for new “magical” means to overcome the instrumentalization of the imagination. The celebration of the phallus in the film was indicative of the nature of production in animation studios of the time.

Citing Crafton, Zipes points out those early animators before Disney made themselves a part of their animations, often appearing as characters in their animations. She returns to life when the prince, who has searched far and wide for her, arrives and bestows a kiss on her lips.


We have already seen that one of the results stemming from the shift from the oral to the literary in the institutionalization of the fairy tale was a loss of live contact with the storyteller and a sense of community or commonality.

Breaking the Disney Spell | Jack Zipes –

Throughout time fairy tales have changed a lot in the way they are told, the lessons they are meant to teach and so much more and the fact that Disney was brdaking to take it back to the beginning and basing his tales off of society and how the people of society could relate to his tales. This is not to argue tje the literary fairy tale as institution became one in which the imagination was totally domesticated. Everything is on the surface, one-dimensional, and we are to delight in one-dimensional portrayal and thinking, for it is adorable, easy, and comforting in its simplicity.

However, it was not a total loss, for industrialization brought about greater comfort, sophistication, and literacy and new kinds of communication in public institutions. Fairy tales were first told by gifted tellers and were based on rituals intended to endow meaning to the daily lives of members of a tribe. While a sad tradition, it was not Disney’s alone. This article cites the famous quote by Woody Allen in Annie Hall: In the case of folk tales, they were gradually categorized as legends, myths, fables, comical anecdotes, and, of course, fairy tales.

Instead of using technology to enhance the communal aspects of narrative and bring about major changes in viewing stories to stir and animate viewers, he employed animators and technology to s;ell thinking about change, to return to his films, and to long nostalgically for neatly ordered patriarchal realms. The social repercussions of this are vast in that it suggests that nothing we read or view can be considered clean of authorial bias. Remember me on this computer. It may seem strange to argue that Disney perpetuated a male myth through his fairy-tale films when, with the exception of Pinocchio, they all featured young women as “heroines” in Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid.

Though it was also told, the tue that the fairy tale was printed and in a book with pictures gave it more legitimacy and enduring value than an oral tale that disappeared soon after it was told. Despite vreaking literary fairy tales institutionalization, the oral tradition continued to feed writers with material and was now influenced by rhe literary tradition, such as in the case of the Bibliotheque Bleue, which contained numerous abbreviated and truncated versions of the literary tales.

He did not use a magic wand or demonic powers. Democracy—the film is very American in its attitude toward royalty. Although the plots varied and the themes and characters were altered, the classical fairy tale jacck children and adults reinforced the patriarchal symbolic order jck on rigid notions of sexuality and gender.


At first, the hero does not want puss’s help, nor will sepll buy her the boots that she sees in a shop window. As Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse have suggested, “a class of people cannot produce themselves as a ruling class without setting themselves off against certain Others.

Technique takes precedence over the story, and the story is used to celebrate the technician and his means. But who is this commoner? By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. At first glance, it would seem that the changes that Disney made were not momentous. And, as I have argued, Disney was not particularly javk in experimenting with the narrative to shock children or provide a new perspective on the traditional story. Disney knew he was making history even before history had been made.

The tales themselves assumed a generic quality based on the function that they were to fulfill for the community or the incidents that they were to report, describe, and explain. Conceived some time inSnow White was to take three years to complete, and Disney did not leave one stone upturned in his preparations for the first full-length animated fairy-tale film ever made in history.

The images scenes, frames, characters, gestures, jokes are readily comprehensible for young and old alike from different social classes. Most important were the gags, or the technical inventions of the animators ranging from the introduction of live actors to interact with cartoon characters, improving the movement of the characters so that they did not sppell, devising ludicrous and preposterous scenes for the sake of spectacle, etc.

Rather, it was in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that Disney fully appropriated the literary fairy-tale and made his signature into zopes trademark for the most acceptable type of fairy tale in the xisney century.

Foundational Essay: Zipes’ “Breaking the Disney Spell”

In the case of the fairy tale-film at the beginning of the twentieth century, there are “revolutionary” aspects that we can note, and they prepared the way for progressive innovation that expanded the horizons of viewers and led to greater understanding of social conditions and culture. The privatization of fairy tales furthered notions of elitism and separation. Her father remains alive, and she is never forced to do the work of commoners such as wash the steps of the castle.

By now, Disney had divided his studio into numerous departments such as animation, layout, sound, music, storytelling, etc.