Happily Ever After

Is this what happily ever after looks like?

     After my posts on Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs I have decided to examine the notion of “happily ever after”. This is an idea that is presented in numerous Disney movies. The audience is consciously aware of what is going to happen at the end but, each movie presents a similar yet different ending. Although Cinderella, Ariel and Snow White share similar character traits their stories are unique, as each displays a new character that people can identify with and grow to love. In addition, all three princesses receive the happily ever after that they always dreamed of. As all three movies are versions of earlier fairy tales, the ending is an element that needs to take place in the movie or the meaning or purpose would not have the same effect. I believe that people like the ending of these movies because it provides closure for the audience as each princess lives in a castle with her prince.

     I think that Disney films and fairy tales are related in numerous ways because they present similar meanings and implications. For example, in an article written by Hermann Bausinger called, “Concerning the Content and Meaning of Fairy Tales” he argues that, “As adventurous as their paths might be, most fairy tales head toward a final happy ending… after the joyous marriage – he who does so is consistent with reality, but misses the genre, fairy tale”(81). Disney films fit into this genre of fairy tale as most character’s stories have a happy ending. These movies impact individual’s lives because I think that we forget about reality and just focus on the story. Further, I believe that people wish and long to have a happy ending. This can come in all different ways however; individuals need to feel happy and complete. Fairy tales and Disney films provide this feeling for people of all ages. Bausinger also states that, “The fairy tale is from the very beginning ruled by its ending” (81). While watching movies like Cinderella the audience knows that Cinderella is going to marry to the prince but people still watch the movie in its entirety because of the story and the characters. Therefore, Disney movies gives people unrealistic expectations about love because into order to get a “happily ever after” is going to be more difficult but more importantly, the relationship has to be equal.   

     I received an e-mail from a close family member a little while ago, it was cleverly titled, “The Truth About Fairy Tales” (Guiga). It depicts some of the most famous Disney princesses and puts not only a modern twist of their stories but also what happens after their fairy tale ending. These images are parodies of Disney movies and display a possible explanation for what came after the princesses “happily ever afters”.

     This picture is of Cinderella. I see this image as way that Cinderella is depressed after marrying the prince. She is a bar and drinking what looks like alcohol which could be a sign that she has turned into an alcoholic. 

Cinderella's possible drinking problem?

     The next image is of Ariel. This picture shows the reality of Ariel’s story; even though this is funny it shows how Ariel and Prince Eric do not belong in each other’s worlds. I think that this shows something more about cultures and how differences could lead to hardships or in this case violence. As Ariel is a mermaid, she is turned into sushi by a dominant human power.

Ariel turned into sushi

     The third picture is of Snow White. This image shows a very stereotypical perspective of marriage and raising a family. As in the film, Snow White takes on a maternal role,  it is after she gets married that her life changes. She has four children that are shown in addition, the prince is not helping her. 

Snow White as a mother

     I believe that these pictures support how Disney gives people false expectations about love because they show that not everything in Disney films may end up perfect or magical. These images bring in aspects of the characters but depict them through a modern and realistic perspective. Numerous individuals have romantic, magical and wonderful marriages and relationships but I would argue, all have their own difficulties and problems. Disney however, only presents one view point that everything is perfect and there are no problems or struggles in relationships as well as life. Furthermore, these images help people  to understand that they may have a “Cinderella” type romance but that everthing might not be so magical.


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