Friday, October 19, 2007

Austen Heroine or Disney Princess?

I know I have missed a few days. Still caught up in the glow of the AGM ball, (just ask everyone I come in contact with who sees my pictures which I conveniently carry around at all times) I am preparing for our anniversary trip to Disneyland next week. But it’s not as much of a shift of gears as you might think. There are some very interesting parallels between Austen’s heroines and the six Disney Princesses.

Catherine Morland- Snow White. Young and innocent, she heads out into the world only to be surrounded by mental dwarfs. Complete with scary old buildings and General Tilney as the wicked witch, instead of being poisoned, she is exiled in the middle of the night, alone. And who wouldn’t want Henry Tilney on the other side of “love’s first kiss”?

Fanny Price- Cinderella, but with no Fairy Godmother, no little mice, and no sunny optimism to cheer her on. Though a family member, she is reduced to the level of a servant. She has a brief moment of glory with her first ball, but then is sunk even further, locked up and confined, and not until after her release is she found to be the perfect match to her prince.

Emma Woodhouse- Princess Jasmine. Living alone as daughter to the nutty and lovable Sultan, Jasmine can’t see the handsome prince that is right under her nose. Like the story of Jasmine and Aladdin, Emma is a fairy tale……from the male’s perspective. Mr. Knightly is able to charm the young woman of his dreams, the woman he’s always loved, the woman whose father’s land completed the missing chunk of property cut out from his own inheritance generations ago. This may be a bigger feat than Aladdin’s rags-to-Prince Ali-riches story. Way to go, Knightly. Does this mean Mr. Perry is Jafar?

Elinor Dashwood- Belle. Though Elinor doesn’t fall in love with a beast, she does fall for a man with a beastly secret that threatens to separate them forever. A folly in his youth made him what he is and now he must pay the price. Elinor also endures trial and sacrifice for the good of a family member. Belle’s common sense and emotional restraint make her the perfect modern fairy-tale counterpart to Elinor.

Elizabeth Bennet- Ariel. Though at first glance you would think Ariel has more in common with young, headstrong Lydia Bennet, I ask for your indulgence. (As if your reading of this piece so far isn’t indulgence enough). Elizabeth has the grace to shine among a myriad of sisters (many of whom are out), as does Ariel. She finds entertainment in odd and interesting people the way Ariel is amused by gadgets and trinkets. And Ariel goes to great lengths to ‘Quit the sphere in which she was born.” as Lady Catherine would say. But how will either lady maintain the balance between her new life and love of her old family? Only sequel novels and straight-to-DVD movie releases will tell.

Anne Elliot- Sleeping Beauty. As the lovely Princess Aurora, promised in youth, her love is doomed when outside forces intervene. In a forgotten thorn covered castle she sleeps, waiting for the dashing Captain Wentworth to slay the dragon of seven years of bitterness and resentment, and come bounding through the window to awaken her and claim his one true love. Aaaahhhh.
Also Aurora was raised as an orphan by fairies. Which gets me thinking, is there any possible way Anne could actually be related to Elizabeth, Mary and Sir Walter Elliot?

I hope you enjoyed my musings. Austen really is everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I just thought of the Disney/Austen link myself, googled it to see if anyone else had thought of it, and happened across your site. I thought of Elizabeth as Belle (though I did consider her for Eleanor too), Eleanor as Tiana from Frog Princess (one that hadn't come out when you wrote this post) no princess for Emma, and Marianne as Jasmine or Ariel because of their feisty side that rebels against unreasoned social customs and places true love above following those customs. But Catherine, Fanny and Anne were all the same! I like your Ariel as Elizabeth and Belle as Eleanor,'s got me thinking again!


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