Like most kids of my generation, I grew up watching TV and, more notably, Disney films. Unlike other kids, as I’ve grown older I have yet to stop watching those movies. Why should I? I grew up grasping at any chance to watch “Sword in the Stone” or “Mulan,” refusing to fall asleep without my gargoyle stuffed animals from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and wearing my Belle costume to school. I feel like Disney also helped to shape me as a person.
All fairy tales, Aesop’s fables and Disney movies have a moral theme so naturally growing up under the influence of these movies seemed to give me a due-north facing moral compass. But most people were raised watching these films so why did I seem to turn out with such a liberal belief system?
I think it starts with the choice of films I watched and loved. I never owned “Cinderella” and only watched “Sleeping Beauty” a few times. Instead, I looked to Mulan, Belle and Pocahontas for female role models. Their strength, intelligence, loyalty and reverence for nature are all characteristics I have valued as I grew up.
But I believe that Disney instilled in me one of my most defining characteristics without using princesses: my love for animals. My whole life I’ve wanted to work with animals and I’m confident that this is due to being surrounded by talking animals. Specifically one film: “The Fox and the Hound.”
“The Fox and the Hound” is the story of an unlikely friendship between a fox who (in typical Disney fashion) is orphaned when his mother is killed by a hunter and a puppy training to be a hunting dog. As both grow up they learn that it will only become more and more difficult to become stay friends as they are natural enemies.
During a particularly poignant scene Todd, the fox, is being warned to stay away from Copper, the hound, by his friends by being shown the trophy room of Copper’s owner. Hanging on every inch of the wall and every square foot of the floor are pelts, furs and animal heads. As a child I may not have completely understood how the fur got from the animal to the wall but I knew it was wrong.
So this year when most people were at WPA I was content staying at home with my Disney movies. Some people even said me they wish they had joined me. Because no matter how old I am, no matter who knows, I will always love Disney for teaching me the things they did.