Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What Walt Disney Never Told Us

J. Howard Miller's "We Can Do It!" poster from 1943
My favorite way to find enthusiasts is by contacting the authors of articles that have been helpful in my writing process. I wrote an email to one such author expressing my appreciation for her work and explaining how it has enhanced my own paper. Her article explores the male-directed film adaptation of Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine arguing that the film eliminates the feminism that is present in the novel, and also explores feminist fairy tale media in general. I have been researching feminism in Gail Carson Levine's fairy tale adaptations Ella Enchanted and Fairest. This article has inspired me look more closely at why in some parts of the novels, feminism makes way for the sake of the fairy tale. The article's bibliography also led me to several more helpful sources.  I explained to the author I would be citing her article in my paper.

The reply was enthusiastic to say the least. She offered me links to even more related sources, and advice for how to keep things organized. I again expressed my appreciation for the time and effort she was exerting on my behalf. We messaged back and forth on Goodreads until I felt comfortable asking her if she would be interested in reading a few pages from a draft of my paper. Her reply, "I'd love to see a draft of your paper. Thank you again for reaching out."  She often thanks me for "reaching out" and continually mentions how much she appreciates that I found her article, read it, enjoyed it, used it, and asked her questions about it.

As a result, she feels a desire, rather than an obligation, to read my paper too and give meaningful feedback. It's amazing what happens when we take the time to care about someone else's work.

The most exciting discovery that I have made recently is an article in The Journal of American Folklore called "Things Walt Disney Never Told Us". This article is the reason I have decided to include Fairest by Gail Carson Levine in my paper about Ella Enchanted because it directly addresses Cinderella and Snow White and the messages they teach society. This is exciting because I have a direction and can really feel the momentum now.

The article explains how the two princesses really aren't people at all when their characters are analyzed. This is going to help support my claim that these two fairy tales oversimplify women and in both cases, Levine restores feminine balance and reality to these stories. 

1 comment:

  1. Yay, that's awesome! Isn't it rewarding to have people respond enthusiastically to your ideas? I've had a hard time doing the slow build thing where you chat with them casually for a while and then ask if they would be interested in really discussing your ideas and work. I just sort of want to attack people with my thesis, so I'm still figuring out a way to start polite conversations and still turn them into a discussion of literature. I'm just super awkward. But it sounds like you have it down really well--this is a cool experience, good for you! And I really like your claim about oversimplifying women, I think it's compelling and interesting.