Not just anodyne confections: responding to Jack Zipes' post-Marxist reading of Disney's fairy tale films with a specific focus on 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
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AbstractWithin the fairy tale corpus, there are constant retellings of the tales using a range of mediums. Furthermore, amongst these retellings, Disney’s fairy tale films stand alone as being both the most popular and most criticised of all fairy tale adaptations. Leading the criticism toward Disney’s films is fairy tale scholar and critic Jack Zipes. However, Zipes only presents one reading of Disney’s fairy tale adaptations, that of denouncing them by applying both a historicist and post-Marxist reading to them. This thesis looks at two interconnected areas in order to be better placed to respond to Zipes’ comments regarding Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and to answer the questions of why the film has such an enduring longevity and popular reception. Firstly, there needs to be a clear definition of what constitutes a fairy tale. This is especially pertinent as Zipes dismisses Disney’s films as a ‘violation’ of the genre (Zipes, 1999, p. 353). Once this has been achieved, a close reading of Snow White as belonging to a larger fairy tale corpus which includes literary, dramatic, live-action and animated versions of fairy tales can be embarked upon and it is here that the link between chapters one and two of this thesis are to be found. If Disney’s Snow White adheres to the characteristics that delimit and define all fairy tales, then Zipes’ dismissal and partial reading of the film can be responded to by approaching Disney’s film from the same perspective as one would approach any other version of a fairy tale: by judging the film on its own merits as a version of a literary tale. Chapter two looks at these merits which include the adoption and innovation of new technology, and the multimodal nature of the film to render meaning and produce pleasure.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy
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