Similarities Between Two Frozen Minds
by James Parker
Disney’s most recently released piece, Frozen (2013), is supposedly loosely based off Hans Christen Andersen’s 1845 tale “The Snow Queen”. I think “inspired by” would be more accurate, for I see only similarities between the two stories. I see more similarities, in fact, between my own life and the movie, instead.
I felt a variety of connections with many of the main characters. Princess Anna and I are both very spunky, clumsy, and always eager for an adventure and some fun. A love of speed, a preference of animals over people, and the singing with animals are all qualities that Kristoph and I both share. And lastly, Oglaf the snowman is rather ridiculous, much like myself.
But the connection with Princess Elsa is very deep and precise – we both have a darkness we wanted to hide from the world. Princess Elsa had dangerous freezing powers; and I’ve got my Crazies.
In her song “Let It Go”, Elsa specifically sings, “Don’t let them in; don’t let them see. / Be the good girl you always have to be. / Conceal, don’t feel; don’t let them know.” It reminded me back to the time before everyone knew I was crazy, before I was even on medication – back in high school, when I was still considered stable.
When the people of Arendelle saw Princess Elsa use her powers, she is mortified. Her parents told her that she had to keep this disgusting secret away from everyone, even her little sister. Too often did I hear similar words from parents, about learning to just “deal with it” and “be stronger” or “better”.
And then we hear Elsa sing the next line: “Well, now they know.” Immediately, I had flashbacks to when my depression and self-injury first became public, and again later when my eating disorder and bipolar were no longer secret. In both cases, I initially felt only fear. How would I be judged? How would I be treated? would people be scared of me? Would they even ever still respect me?
But over time, it grew easier. Further along in Elsa’s song, she goes on to note that “[i]t’s funny how some distance / makes everything seem small, / and that the fears that once controlled me / can’t get to me at all.” The idea that once your secret is out, you can breathe again. Elsa has a moment of clarity, realizing that she doesn’t have to pretend anymore. She proceeds to sing, “That perfect girl is gone. / Here I stand in the light of day. / Let the storm rage on.”
I, too, had similar epiphanies. Once I had a name for my various struggles – anxiety, bipolar, alcoholism, ednos, OCD, et cetera –, I was able to study and understand them, therein later allowing me to approach and counter them. I began reading books about others with similar issues and pasts. Marya Hornacher’s Wasted and Madness, or Terri Cheney’s Manic and The Dark Side of Innocence – novels like these allowed me to connect with others and understand that I’m not a monster struggling through this life alone, that I do not posses an evil within me.
Yhe kingdom of Arendella explicitly call Princess Elsa a monster. Similarly, the world may label me “crazy”. But we’re not cursed; we’re gifted. She and I were each given powers that have both negative and positive consequences. And until we can learn to control these abilities, we’ll never truly be at peace with ourselves, or with others.
Andersen, Hans Christian. “The Snow Queen”. Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales and Stories. Trans. H. P. Paull. HCA Gilead. Zvi Har’El. 13 Dec., 2007. Web. 4 Jan., 2014. <http://hca.gilead.org.il/snow_que.html>
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Frozen. Dir. Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee. Disney, 2013. Film.
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Hornbacher, Marya. Madness: A Bipolar Life. Boston: Mariner Books, 2009. Print. 4 Jan., 2014. <http://www.maryahornbacher.com/books.html>
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Webb, Katherine. “4 Ways ‘Frozen’ Flips the Traditional Disney Script”. Wall St. Cheat Sheet: Home / Entertainment. Wall St. Cheat Sheet. 05 Dec., 2013. Web. 4 Jan., 2014. <http://wallstcheatsheet.com/stocks/4-ways-frozen-flips-the-traditional-disney-script.html/?a=viewall>
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