In this lively work, Jack Zipes explores the historical rise of the literary fairy tale as genre in the late seventeenth century and 3 Breaking the Disney Spell. 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.

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Disney took the story of Snow White and made it uniquely his, transforming it from something inherently German to something uniquely American. Conceived some time inSnow White was to sell three years to complete, and Disney did not leave one stone upturned in his preparations for the first full-length animated jwck film ever made in history.

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

There is no character development because the characters are stereotypes, arranged according to a credo of domestication of the imagination.

Fairy Tale as Myth/myth as Fairy Tale – Jack Zipes – Google Books

Extremely few people could read, and the fairy tale in form and content furthered notions of elitism and separation. However, it was not through Puss in Boots and his other early animated fairy tales that he was to captivate audiences and set the “classical” modern model for animated fairy-tale films.

The emphasis in most folk tales was on communal harmony. The punishment in the Grimms’ tale is more horrifying because she must dance in red-hot iron shoes at Snow White’s wedding. They were part and parcel of the class struggles in the discourses of that period. It might be considered somewhat one-dimensional to examine all of Disney’s films as 10 self-figurations, or embodiments of the chief designer’s wishes and beliefs.

Breaking the Disney Spell. However, Disney went much further than the Grimms to make his film more memorable than the tale, for he does not celebrate the domestication of women so much as the triumph of the banished and the underdogs. 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.

Afterwards he holds Snow White in his arms, and in the final frame, he leads her off on a white horse to his golden castle on a hill. Sometimes actors could even have lines, but still not be credited for their work. 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. What were the major prescriptions, expectations, and standards of the literary fairy tale by the end of the nineteenth century?


This article cites the famous quote by Woody Allen in Annie Hall: Wasn’t he just more inventive, more skillful, more in touch with the American spirit of the times than his competitors, who also sought to animate the classical fairy tale for the screen?

Scenes could now be staged and selected specially for the camera, and the movie maker could control both the material and its arrangement. The tale came directly from common experiences and beliefs. It’s not like there weren’t popular fairy tale films before Disney started adapting them: To a certain degree, Disney identified so closely with the fairy tales he appropriated that it is no wonder his name virtually became synonymous with the genre of the fairy tale itself.

It introduced notions of elitism and separatism through a select canon of tales geared to children who knew how to read.

Foundational Essay: Zipes’ “Breaking the Disney Spell”

The author creates meaning and then manipulates it to affect the audience in the way that best satisfies their wishes, or that best addresses the needs of their agenda.

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. Once Disney stopped animating, he became a designer.

Their actions are what counts in defeating evil. The films became an jafk not of the animators, but of the man—the brand—who controlled it all behind the scenes.

What is good for Disney is good for the world, and what is good in a Disney fairy tale is good in the rest of the world. The illustrators were frequently anonymous and did not seem xipes count.

By the turn of the twentieth century, many animators had redefined zopes tales through their interpretations of them through imagery. In general, Disney projects the enjoyable fairy tale of his life through animation to the audience, and they come to accept it as the ideal life—an infantile quest that enabled him to strike a resonating chord dosney American audiences. In general, the animator, Disney, projects the enjoyable fairy tale of his life through his own images, and he realizes through animated stills his basic oedipal dream that he was to play out time and again in most of his fairy-tale films.


The reason that the Italians did not “institutionalize” the genre is due to the fact that the literary culture in Italy was not prepared to introduced the tales as part of the civilizing process, nor were there groups of writers who made the fairy-tale genre part of their discourse. Jennifer Thompson June 8, at Tension between the literary and oral traditions existed. He came always as a conqueror, never as a servant. This is one of the reasons that fairy tales were not particularly approved for children.

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.

Breaking the Disney Spell- Jack Zipes | Fairy Tale Traditions

While a sad tradition, it was not Disney’s alone. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here If we recall, it is the prince who frames the narrative.

The hero is a young man, a commoner, who is in love with the king’s daughter, and she fondly returns his affection. Of course, it would be a great exaggeration to maintain that Disney’s spell totally divested the classical fairy tales of their meaning and invested them with his own. I haven’t seen Puss in Boots, so I can’t comment to that specifically.

Of course, it is also possible to see the workers as Disney’s own employees, on whom he depended for the glorious outcome of his films. However, inDisney is already the kingpin of animation, and he uses all that he had learned to reenforce his power and command of fairy-tale animation.

In his examinations of key classical fairy tales, Zipes traces their unique metamorphoses in history with stunning discoveries that reveal their ideological relationship to domination and oppression 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.

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 able 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.

He completely reinvented the way people see them and I personally think it is very affective.