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Write 7 pages thesis on the topic the little mermaid as cultural symptom. Repetition of a story is always repetition with a difference, and those differences can tell us a lot about what informs each
Write 7 pages thesis on the topic the little mermaid as cultural symptom. Repetition of a story is always repetition with a difference, and those differences can tell us a lot about what informs each repetition.
A story like The Little Mermaid offers a case in point. Originally a fairy tale penned by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson, the story has found recent fame in two animated movies, ostensibly written and directed for children. The first is a well-known Disney film with the same name as the original Anderson story, and the second (also distributed by Disney) is a Studio Ghibli adaptation of the story called Ponyo. While all three of these iterations tell the same core narrative, they do so with substantial differences, and these differences provide “representative anecdotes” (Burke, 1969) that tell us much about the circumstances of the creation of each version.
To establish something of a baseline, it makes sense to begin in chronological order and to focus first on Anderson's story. In The Little Mermaid, published in 1837, the title character lives underwater with her family, including five older sisters. By custom, a mermaid is allowed to swim to the surface and observe humans when she turns 15, and as the youngest, the Little Mermaid builds up a Romantic sense of the world above the surface of the water, based upon the stories told by her older sisters. When her turn finally comes, she encounters a prince, believes herself in love at first sight, and ends up rescuing him from a particularly powerful storm. Captivated by the human world, she inquires into human life, learning that humans have souls that live forever in heaven (something mermaids do not, since mermaids return to the green foam of the sea upon death). Between her feeling of love for the prince and her interest in an immortal soul, the Little Mermaid strikes a deal with a Sea Witch, trading her beautiful voice for a potion that will transform her mermaid tail into human legs. She can then acquire a soul by making .the prince fall in love with her, and when they marry, part of his soul will then be hers, and she will be truly human. Failure to marry the prince, by contrast, will result in the Mermaid's death. Alas, love between the mermaid and the man does not win out, and the prince ends up marrying a princess from a neighboring kingdom.