Day 14: Disney movies

I watched Hunchback of Notre Dame for the first time a few weeks ago. I’ve seen almost every retro Disney movie, almost all on VHS, sitting in my childhood living room wearing nothing but underwear. But I missed this one.

When I watch something like Lion King or Cinderella, I interpret it the same way I did as a child. I relate to the main characters, and root against the bad guys. I ascribe the qualities of each character to, well, the character, rather than thinking about the motivation of the writers.

But with Hunchback, it was different. I had no childhood feelings. It was adult me, interpreting the film. And it helped me notice a trend.

Every Disney movie is about freedom. It’s about freeing oneself from the chains of an oppressor and reaching the Promised Land where one can run around in grass fields playing the flute. And because this is such a prominent narratives from our childhoods, I feel like my generation generally feels like we’re in the oppressive stage of our lives — and that we need to strive for that free utopia.

I think part of it is fair. I graduated at the bottom of the recession, and that experience cemented a view of my self worth. No one wanted me, and therefore I had to take what I could get. At the times — and still now — I felt like I was waiting for my moment.

But today, as I sat on the couch helping Kristen study, I thought about a hope I had back then. It was a scene I dreamt about. In that scene, she and I sat in a cozy apartment, lives comfortable, doing something — anything — together. It isn’t an ideal moment, but it’s a small part of the life I envisioned as having made it to the land of the free.

I used to think the big break will come some day, but now I’m realizing it comes in little pieces — and only to those who work for it. It is part of the narrative that Disney leaves out, or speeds through — but as I live it now, it is a slow, arduous process that certainly helps a person appreciate the resolution.

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