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Author Topic: Beauty and the Beast
Jeff C.
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I was just watching Beauty and the Beast (the Disney version, of course), when I couldn't help but wonder where the Beast's parents were. At the beginning, it shows the young prince answering the door to the enchantress or whatever, and he can't be more than 15 years old (apparently he only has til his 21st b-day to find a lady to fall for him), so where are his folks?

Anyway, I guess you never really think about this kind of thing when you're a kid, but it's a little strange now that I'm an adult...

Anyone else ever notice things like this in Disney movies?

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Hobbes
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Or the servants that should be opening the door for a prince. It's a pretty low-rent royal family that gets the bell themselves.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Bella Bee
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I imagine they moved into their summer castle permanently so as to avoid their beastly teenage son stropping about the house and smashing stuff. Not to mention that the singing furniture and dinner service would be quite stressful to live with full time.

Plus, they probably thought that their son would have no chance at all with girls if he was not only a bear/buffalo-combo, but also still lived with his parents.

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T_Smith
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quote:

....they probably thought that their son would have no chance at all with girls if he was not only a bear/buffalo-combo, but also still lived with his parents

I really don't think you're going to get a better answer.
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scholarette
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There is a comment in the movie that he has been cursed for 10 years and is approaching his 21st birthday, making him 11 when he was cursed. That fairy was the real villain of the story- cursing an 11 year old orphan as well as his innocent servants, which included infants (chip). The more you think about Beauty and the Beast, the more disturbing it gets. Also, think about Stockholm Syndrome and then watch Belle's classic case.
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Jeff C.
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Lol yeah the stockholm syndrome did occur to me. It kinda makes me feel bad for the guy who tried to kill the Beast. He was only trying to kill what he thought was a monster, even tho he was kind of a prick.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Disney characters without a mother/father:

Remy (Ratatouille)
Nemo (Finding Nemo)
Jasmine (Aladdin)
Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
Pocahontas (Pocahontas)
Pinocchio (Pinocchio)
Jane (Tarzan)
Bambi (Bambi)
Simba (The Lion King)
Tiana (The Princess and the Frog)

Disney characters with no parents at all:

Aladdin (Aladdin)
Lilo and Nani (Lilo and Stitch)
Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves)
Cinderella (Cinderella)
Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame)
Esmerelda (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame)
Mowgli (The Jungle Book)
Peter Pan and the Lost Boys (Peter Pan)
Tarzan (Tarzan)
Arthur (The Sword in the Stone)
Tod (The Fox and the Hound)
Linguini (Ratatouille)
Beast (Beauty and the Beast)

[ July 31, 2011, 09:58 PM: Message edited by: Stone_Wolf_ ]

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Belle
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Simba has a mother. She is even alive at the end. She greets him after he comes back and kills Scar. Her name is Sarabi.

Tiana has a mother as well. Her father dies.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Edited to reflect.
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Raymond Arnold
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If you're including Pixar movies (I don't know that I agree with that) you need to include Andy from Toy Story (Russel from Up almost qualifies. His dad isn't dead but he's not around)
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Jeff C.
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The difference I think with most of those and the Beast (whose name is apparently Prince Adam) is that most of them can be explained. Aladdin and a few others are obviously orphans (Mowgli, Peter Pan, Tarzan, etc), most of which is easily explained (Mowgli was abducted, Aladin is a street rat, Quasimodo was raised by a priest, Peter Pan was abducted by faeries...?). But the beast, he's just some weird 11 year old kid without any parents.
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Luet13
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SW: *being a nitpick* Cinderella had a father. Her dad was a widow, hence the evil stepmother.... (Though I guess if you are only counting characters with appearances in the movies, then he doesn't count.)
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Scott R
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Jeff C., what's your definition of an orphan?
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Teshi
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Ignoring reality, everyone knows kids don't have adventures when they have two parents who live together and function normally.

As far as I can tell, this is because society (writers?) perceive a stable world as one of two+ parents living together. As long as a child has this, the parent is acting as a protective forcefield between the child and any adventures.

As soon as one parent is missing or absent, there is a gap in the shield, however much the first parent (in the story) is able to fill in, there is still a gap.

When it's the woman missing, the threat is often primarily to the emotional well-being of the child (for example, a possible evil step-mother as in The Sound of Music, Cinderella). When it's the father, the threat is often financial or safety-related (The Railway Children, The Lion King). Society, at least society up until not so long ago, clearly defined the roles of the parents by their absence.

With both parents missing, things obvious go very awry. A child has no forcefield, or perhaps a totally ineffectual one. They are left alone to make decisions for themselves. The parents do not have to be dead or dysfunctional-- the children can simply be separated as in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Most children tell their parents when peculiar stuff happens and the parents have the adventure instead (we just never get to see those stories-- imagine Mr. and Mrs. Pevensies checking out this weird wardrobe).

Sometimes, there is a relatively functional family unit but it is quite dysfunctional. The child feels they either cannot trust the parent, can no longer rely on the parent(s) or cannot endanger the parent.

What is interesting is when the family is wholly intact and present but massive adventures still occur. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper has a large family. The other children also have 'whole', two-parent, functional families, although they are often not with the families.

I think the story works partially because the child involved is part of such a large busy family, they have their own sense of self-sufficiency. The adventure occurs and grows slowly and drives a wedge between the child and their parents (and other siblings) without a single event. And there is another adult introduced to the story who takes on the protective role so the parents never need to be informed.

... I may have thought about this rather too much.

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Geraine
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From what I remember, I remember hearing that every single Disney movie has a hero/heroine with only 1 parent by the end of the movie. I think there was a couple of exceptions.

Then again, orphaned or one parent households are VERY common in fairy tales, so it really isn't that surprising.

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rivka
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[nitpick]
Men can't be widows. Men whose wives die are widowers.
[/nitpick]

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Stone_Wolf_
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Article about the orphaned hero.

quote:
The orphaned hero is not, however, a mere fantasy cliché; it's a mythic archetype, springing from some of the oldest stories of the world. This archetype includes not only those characters who are literally orphaned by the death of their parents, but also children who are lost, abandoned, cast out, disinherited by evil step–parents, raised in supernatural captivity, or reared by wild animals.

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maui babe
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quote:
Originally posted by Luet13:
SW: *being a nitpick* Cinderella had a father. Her dad was a widow, hence the evil stepmother.... (Though I guess if you are only counting characters with appearances in the movies, then he doesn't count.)

Her father dies at the beginning of the story and she becomes a servant to her step mother and step sisters....
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Luet13
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
[nitpick]
Men can't be widows. Men whose wives die are widowers.
[/nitpick]

Ha ha! Duh! Thanks for the correction, Rivka. Too little sleep and too much delirium. [Eek!]

And Maui Babe, you too are correct. Again with the lack of sleep. There was one thing I was positive on: Cinderella had a dad who was present. Other than that, obviously my brain was a dud in the wee small hours.... [Smile]

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Jeff C., what's your definition of an orphan?

Let me try to rephrase what I was saying (I was at work and doing like five things).

^excuse

Anyway, what I was trying to say was that all of the others had clear reasons for not having parents, except for the Beast, whose parents are just absent and never explained. Aladdin is the only other one I can think of, but he's a street urchin, so it kind of makes sense for him to be parentless. The Beast, though, is never explained, which is a little weird. Does that make better sense?

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Stone_Wolf_
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Beast's parents were a sofa and a love chair, but Beast fell asleep on them and suffocated them.
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Jeff C.
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No, his dad is the rose and his mom is the magic mirror thing (which is never explained).

Obviously, his dad dies at the end of the movie.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Beast's parents were a sofa and a love chair, but Beast fell asleep on them and suffocated them.

[ROFL]
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
Ignoring reality, everyone knows kids don't have adventures when they have two parents who live together and function normally.

As far as I can tell, this is because society (writers?) perceive a stable world as one of two+ parents living together. As long as a child has this, the parent is acting as a protective forcefield between the child and any adventures.

As soon as one parent is missing or absent, there is a gap in the shield, however much the first parent (in the story) is able to fill in, there is still a gap.

When it's the woman missing, the threat is often primarily to the emotional well-being of the child (for example, a possible evil step-mother as in The Sound of Music, Cinderella). When it's the father, the threat is often financial or safety-related (The Railway Children, The Lion King). Society, at least society up until not so long ago, clearly defined the roles of the parents by their absence.

With both parents missing, things obvious go very awry. A child has no forcefield, or perhaps a totally ineffectual one. They are left alone to make decisions for themselves. The parents do not have to be dead or dysfunctional-- the children can simply be separated as in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Most children tell their parents when peculiar stuff happens and the parents have the adventure instead (we just never get to see those stories-- imagine Mr. and Mrs. Pevensies checking out this weird wardrobe).

Sometimes, there is a relatively functional family unit but it is quite dysfunctional. The child feels they either cannot trust the parent, can no longer rely on the parent(s) or cannot endanger the parent.

What is interesting is when the family is wholly intact and present but massive adventures still occur. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper has a large family. The other children also have 'whole', two-parent, functional families, although they are often not with the families.

I think the story works partially because the child involved is part of such a large busy family, they have their own sense of self-sufficiency. The adventure occurs and grows slowly and drives a wedge between the child and their parents (and other siblings) without a single event. And there is another adult introduced to the story who takes on the protective role so the parents never need to be informed.

... I may have thought about this rather too much.

Naw, in general you are right. Though one way to get around this problem is to have your adventures in another world where time does not register the same way here. For example Peter Pan. Wendy, Michael and John have two perfectly serviceable parents. I should think that in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, it would have been possible to retain the parents.

I always felt the way the parents were dealt with in Fablehaven was kinda clumsy, they were there, but...not.

As for Disney movies, I submit that Lady in Lady and the Tramp had for all intents and purposes two loving parents, though they were technically her owners. Same goes for 101 Dalmations.

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Stone_Wolf_
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So only Disney dogs have parents...

You know, Ender is nearly an orphan...I mean sure, later we find that the parents were "in the know" and deliberately being that way (cough*rewritinghistoryinsequils*cough), but for all in tense and purposes Ender, Val and Peter are parent-less.

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odouls268
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Seems like the female protagonists of Disney movies almost never have a mother present.

Stepmothers, sure, but no mommy.

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