Despite The Fox and the Hound’s happy ending, it could still be viewed as a warning to people who are, or are wanting to, form relationships between themselves and a different class. The portrayal of the risks that Todd has to endure after he is released in to the wild imply danger and rejection for those of a lower social standing when attempting to build a bridge between themselves and those considered above them. The negative connotations of these moments, such as Copper snarling and growling at Todd, having been taught to turn on his friend, are just as relevant as the positives.
Although the story ultimately reunites the two as allies with a civil relationship, it is clear that their friendship will never be the same again. This emphasises the danger of rejection that can be found when socialising across social classes, including those of race and ethnicity. Todd being a fox automatically classifies him as vermin within the hunter’s eyes, thus the need for Copper to be trained to dispose of him. Unfortunately, this idea of vermin is one that remains in the modern world, particularly seen in the media with reference to the refugee crisis.
The Fox and the Hound shows that those who grow up together struggle to see each other as anything other than a friend, but when a person of different social standing is introduced within the adult world there is a larger risk of rejection. Other examples of anthropomorphism in the Disney filmography can be seen within the company’s retellings of classic fairy tales and popular stories. The aspect of using animals that possess the power to talk and react to social situations combined with their human characteristics create a new way of retelling old stories.
The animal adaptations of such tories continue to attract new audiences and bridge the gap between young and old, as they introduce a new generation of audiences to old stories. The Lion King (Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff, 1994) retells the story of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet using animals commonly found in the African wild as its main characters. There are no humans seen or mentioned within the film, but the anthropomorphic behaviours are still distinct, the most obvious being the ability of speech.
As mentioned whilst discussing Lady and the Tramp and The Fox and the Hound, the film emonstrates class differences within the wildlife’s hierarchy. The Lions are royalty and the other animals are the Lion’s people, as is reflected in Hamlet. Simba, the film’s protagonist, is an anthropomorphic representation of Hamlet himself, as both are princes who have lost their fathers due to a jealous uncle. Scar and Mufasa represent the late King Hamlet and Claudius. Both Scar and Claudius become king by murdering their brothers.
The relationships portrayed within the film are primarily familial, with the bond between Father and Son being the strength of Simba. It is representative of how a good and ealthy upbringing can be achieved with a full family unit – Mother, Father and child. However, this familial unit falls apart with the premature death of the Father, Mufasa. His brother Scar should take on the role of the father figure and help in what remains of Simba’s upbringing, but instead abuses his position in order to manipulate Simba, thus demonstrating the influence of the alpha male within human societies.
The head of the family is expected to provide for the children and ensure they are protected. In the case of premature death, the responsibility falls to the other males in the family and when hat ideal falls apart it is expected that it will lead to chaos within that environment. This is exactly what happens with Simba’s situation. The only adult male figure he has left has led him to believe that he is in the wrong and will be blamed for Mufasa’s death, thus leading him to run away and abandon his pride.
Further proving the point that anthropomorphism commonly demonstrates societal differences in Disney films, The Lion King also approaches the topic of slaves. Scar has an army of Hyena minions that he enlists to help him get rid of Simba through false promises of all the food they can eat. In truth, the Hyenas are working for nothing. However, they are more than savages within the film’s presented hierarchy, thus demonstrating a similar type of racism to that seen with the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp. ced as noth Another film that takes its story from an existing tale, as with The Lion King, is Robin Hood (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1973).
The film takes the, already popular, characters of Robin Hood and retells the story with them as animals. The anthropomorphism within the film is similar to that of The Lion King, as the characters were originally human and have been nthropomorphised in order to give the story an original twist. With Robin Hood, himself being portrayed as a fox, his character is already given a sly initial appearance, thus adding to the persona of the thief. King Richard is portrayed as a lion, a clever play on ‘Richard the Lionheart’, as it gives the character the physical representation of his nickname.
Social hierarchy is, once again, apparent within the film. The obvious being Robin Hood stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Whilst some may consider his actions heroic, for the most part he would be considered as nothing more than a petty thief. It is this attitude towards his actions that demonstrates the hierarchy within the story, as, having robbed Prince John, Robin Hood and Little John have a bounty put on their heads. The Prince’s simple obsession with money and his own self- importance in comparison to Robin Hood’s prioritising of feeding the poor portray the social hierarchy perfectly.
For as long as Robin Hood has no money of his own he will always be considered on par with the common people, or what would be working class in the real world. As mentioned when talking about Lady and the Tramp, the elationships portrayed in Disney films are also important to analyse in their relation to the social hierarchy. This is still relevant within Robin Hood, as the King and Prince are portrayed as Lions, which, similarly to The Lion King, marks them as the rulers of their land.
In comparison to this, the common people are portrayed as lowlier ranked animals, such as bears, rabbits, roosters and chickens. Their law enforcement falls somewhere in between the ranks of these animals, as a wolf, thus implying that their relationships are formed based on where they would fall on the food chain. The common people ought to mix with common people, the rich people ought to mix with the rich people and the law enforcement exists, in image, to keep the peace between the two, whilst really ensuring that the common people do not over step their mark with royalty.
Furthermore, Maid Marian is depicted as a fox within the film, as is Robin Hood. Further emphasising that people on similar levels of the social hierarchy should only copulate with each other. Whilst Lady and the Tramp encourages those of different social classes to acknowledge and connect with each other, Robin Hood makes the point that social classes should only mingle amongst themselves. In conclusion, the social hierarchy within Disney films featuring anthropomorphism can be seen to represent those seen in the real world.
In cases such as Lady and the Tramp and The Fox nd the Hound, the plot goes against the social expectation of mixing with those who have a similar social standing and, instead, encourages the idea of socialising with those outside of it. Lady and the Tramp opens up the idea of an entire world that is being missed out on as a result of hierarchal dictations, thus iving the impression that there is more to be gained from experiencing different ways of life even if the result of it is not what was imagined.
However, The Fox and the Hound, whilst still encouraging the idea that relationships can be formed across varied levels of hierarchy, also portrays the risk of socialising outside of the known, as do The Lion King and Robin Hood. The Lion King demonstrates the carnage that can come from lack of hierarchy, whilst Robin Hood portrays the way that those of a lower class can be mistreated as a result of their social standing. It is also notable that elements of racism can be seen within the mentioned films.
Lady and the Tramp portrays the Siamese cats as the villains, ultimately presenting the only foreign animals in the film as The Other and The Lion King does a similar thing with the hyenas. The Hyenas are metaphorical slaves and their treatment reflects that. The treatment of these characters is still relevant in the way that societies view people of colour and those from different countries. The racism and xenophobia is clear within the films metaphors without it having to be spelled out.