And onto the topic of the day....
In my predominantly white/Hispanic middle school, we watch Disney’s The Little Mermaid and discuss the themes. I’ve drawn the conclusion that the story is a fairy tale about a young girl who’s rewarded for disobeying her parents. To my surprise, everybody else frames it as a positive story of Ariel following her dreams, breaking free of societal expectation and finding true love.
Fast forward several years and I’m in college, hanging out with a group of Asian American friends. The Little Mermaid comes up in conversation, and someone remarks that the story is a fable about selfish behavior paying off. This time, people nod in agreement and the conversation moves on without a hiccup. Apparently that conclusion is a no brainer for a group of people who grew up in a society that valued filial piety above all else.
I guest posted at Diversity in YA a few weeks ago about being an Asian American writer and what that means. See the rest of the post here.
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I've been out of the (blogging) loop for a while, so thanks for the reminder about your release. I'll seek it out shortly.ReplyDelete
In the meantime, you've got me thinking about The Little Mermaid for the first time since it came out. Back then, I'm sure I thought along the lines of your classmates (even if I cared more for the humorous and/or evil secondary characters than the bit about true love). But I'd like to think that now I'd see it from your perspective. Not because I'm closer to Asian culture (apart from the cuisine), but because I'm better at understanding others' perceptions.
Or, failing that, because I'm a parent. Forget the happy ending... How many times did Ariel almost get killed because she didn't listen to her dad? What an insolent little whelp.