Deborah Ross


Three animated Disney features, Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, are shown here to reflect an ambivalence about freedom of imagination that may confuse young female viewers. The essay compares these three “girls’ movies” with their fairy-tale sources and connects them to similarly ambivalent female narratives of an earlier time, particularly Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote. It further suggests that adults concerned about these movies’ effects on children ought to look closely at the relationship among elements of dialogue, plot, and image.