Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/20418
This B.A. thesis takes a close look at H.C. Andersen's classic tale "The Little Mermaid" published in 1837 as well as Disney's animated version The Little Mermaid released in 1989. Disney's works have become well known globally in the past few decades and the original tales and stories Disney uses for the animations have fallen into their shadow. Andersen's original tale can therefore come as a surprise to many that have only seen Disney's film. In the Disney version little mermaid no longer has the desire to leave her world under the sea to acquire an immortal soul but instead gives up her fin for a pair of legs and her voice to the evil witch so she can spend the rest of her human life with prince Eric. Spirituality is cut out and Disney adds sickly sweet and romantic notions instead.
Disney has throughout the years mastered the art of remaking old fairy tales and folklore and has with great success put together a formula that will not only catch the eye of the viewer in a heartfelt manner but also make a great deal of profit from it. This formula is what critics have been keen on calling Disneyfication. The term and its meaning has been examined thoroughly by many scholars but professor Jack Zipes is perhaps one that delved into the matter the most. When his studies on Disneyfication are applied to The Little Mermaid by Disney it is clear that the film has many of the characteristics that Disneyfication entails. The storyline and especially the ending have been changed drastically to fit Disney's formula and characters have been cut, added and altered. Zipes gives a good description on what both Walt Disney and the Disney corporation after Walt's demise have done in the past few decades to build an empire based on colorful animated films for children that has expanded to theme parks, books, clothing, toys and every other merchandise.