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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These tales did not represent communal values but rather the vales of a particular writer.

Foundational Essay: Zipes’ “Breaking the Disney Spell”

In most of the early animated films, there were few original plots, and the story-lines did not count. 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.

During the course of the next three years, Disney worked closely with all the animators and technicians assigned to the production of Snow White. These images were intended both to smash the aura of heritage and to celebrate the ingenuity, inventiveness, and genius of the animator. In fact, the fairy tale is practically infantilized, just as the jokes are infantile. She returns to life when the prince, who has searched everywhere for her, arrives and bestows a kiss on her lips.

What is good for Disney is good for the world, and what is good in a Slell fairy tale is good in the rest of the world. The man’s spell over the fairy tale seems to live on even after his death. By doing so, animators appropriated literary and oral fairy tales to redefine the genre and conform it to the vision of Disney, who truly revolutionized the fairy tale as institution through the cinema.

Foundational Essay: Zipes’ “Breaking the Disney Spell” – The Professional Essays of H.E. Eanes

Therefore, from onward, about the time that he conceived his first feature-length fairy-tale film, Disney became the orchestrator of a corporate network that changed the function of the fairy-tale genre in America.


Almost all the early animators were men, and their pens and camera diisney assume a distinctive phallic function in early animation.

It may seem strange spelp 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.

The Oral and Literary Fairy Tales The evolution of the fairy tale as a literary genre is marked by dialectical appropriation that set the cultural conditions for its institutionalization and its expansion as a mass-mediated form through radio, film, and television.

Next Article Overcoming Cultural Differences: Fairy tales were first told by gifted zipse and were based on rituals intended to endow meaning to the daily lives of members of a tribe. It did not matter what story was projected just as long as the images astounded the audience, dsney its imagination for a short period of time, and left the people laughing or staring in wonderment.

Breaking the Disney Spell | Jack Zipes –

He robs the literary tale of its voice and changes its form and meaning. Disney knew he was making history even before history had been made. On the contrary, by the end of the nineteenth century the genre served different functions.

Consequently, there were tales of initiation, worship, warning, and indoctrination. With the rise of literacy and the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, the oral tradition of storytelling underwent an immense revolution.

Showing little reverence for literary tradition, Disney focused less of maintaining the integrity of the original text and focused more attention on displaying his innovative and technological accomplishments.

What were the major prescriptions, expectations, and standards of the literary fairy tale by the end of the nineteenth century?

If we recall, Perrault wrote his tale in to reflect diwney a cunning cat, whose life is threatened, and who manages to survive by using his brains to trick a king and an ogre. They all have names—Doc, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey—representative of certain human characteristics and are fleshed out so that they become the star attractions of the film.


In his important study, Before Mickey: Brekaing power of Disney’s fairy-tale films does not reside in the uniqueness or novelty of the productions, but in Disney’s great talent for holding antiquated views of society still through animation and his use of the latest technological developments in cinema to his advantage.

In printed form the fairy tale was property and could be taken by ziipes owner and read by its owner at his or her leisure for escape, consolation, or inspiration. The oral tales continued to be disseminated through communal gatherings of different kinds, but they were also broadcast by radio and gathered in books by folklorists.

Extremely few people could read, and the fairy tale in form and content furthered notions of elitism and separation. One of the more interesting aspects of the early animated films is a psychically loaded tension between the artist and the characters he drew, one dlsney is ripe for a Freudian or Lacanian reading, for the artist is always threatening to take away their “lives,” while they, in turn, seek to deprive him of his pen phallus or creative inspiration so that they can control their own lives.

In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the film does not really become lively until the dwarfs enter the narrative. The monarchy is debunked, and a commoner causes a kind of revolution. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Her father remains alive, and she was never forced to do the work of commoners such as wash the brfaking of the castle. February 13, at 3: