A Comparison and Contrast of Three Young Female Protagonist Ariel in the little mermaid, Carrolls Alice and Baums Dorothy Gale
Ariel in the little mermaid, Alice in Carrolls Alice adventures in wonderland and Dorothy Gale in Baums Wizard of Oz are all main characters. They feature as young female protagonists in these 19s Disney, Carrolls and Baums classics respectively. Ariel is a young and pretty mermaid who lives in the sea. Alice is a young and adventurous girl while Dorothy is an orphaned, young girl who lives on a farm. They all face conflicts and problems in the stories but they each handle them differently. They each work differently to develop and construct their identities in the face of their respective societal expectations and they each emerge with a lesson at the end.
Based on the Main conflicts and other minor problems faced in their respective stories the characters choose to handle them differently. In the little mermaid, Ariel is faced with an external conflict of choosing between the human world and the sea world. According to Musker Disney pictures: the little mermaid, Triton, Ariels father tells her Contact between the human world and the mermaid world is strictly forbidden! But, Ariel chooses to disobey his father and bend to her wishes of joining the human world to be with her prince charming Eric the prince. The conflict prompts a rising action that causes Ariels father Triton to lose his kingdom to Ursula the Sea witch. She agrees to exchange her voice for a pair of legs given to her by Ursula. However, things take a drastic turn when Ursula tries to ruin Ariels plan of kissing the prince by turning herself to Vanessa a beautiful singer. Ariel then decides to work and help fight the evil witch who had taken his fathers kingdom. Together with Prince Eric, and the whole sea kingdom they fight off Ursula and peace is restored.
In Alice adventures in Wonderland, Alice is faced with a conflict between herself and the realms of wonderland itself. In this Main conflict, she is faced with minor conflicts of the person against self as she has internal conflicts of feelings. On one occasion, she meets the caterpillar and he asks her who she is, she says Im afraid, I cannot explain myself, sir' 'because, you see, I'm not myself, (Carroll 60). After undergoing and experiencing so many changes she continues to explain her confused nature being in a day, so many different sizes is very confusing (60). She is also faced with a person to person conflict in that as the protagonist, she has to face the antagonists like the Queen, Cheshire cat, card guards and other mean characters in the story. Lastly, Alice is in a conflict with the wonderland society in that she conflicts with the beliefs held by the society when she calls them 'nothing but a pack of cards!'(Carroll 187) and they all in rage come flying on her making her run to into the doorknob and out of her wonderland dream.
Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz is faced with an internal conflict which seeks to help her recognize according to Baum that "there's no place like home"(167). After being carried to the Land of Oz, she encounters the conflict of good versus evil. In order to win her battle of returning home to her aunt and helping her friends the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Woodman find their brains, courage and heart she had to defeat evil. She had to kill the wicked witches of the East and the West. The good wins as Dorothy seem to be protected by the Power of Good (Baum 97) as the evil winged monkey even recognizes it. Through her victory and the irony of deception of the wizard, Dorothy, and her friends forgive his shortcomings and discover that they have strengths that they never knew about that were within them. Through their new found powers, Dorothy clicks her heels together and finds herself home while her friends become new rulers of the Emerald City, Forests of Oz and Winkie Country.
Additionally, the three female protagonists all seek to find self-identity in the midst of societal pressure. Ariel is faced with the task of being a princess mermaid and ensuring she adheres to the rules of his father Triton. However, she is fascinated with the Part of Your World in Disney pictures: the little mermaid which is a human world. Driven by this desire, she realizes that she is capable of anything for love when she gave up her voice for a pair of legs. Later, the kingdom is taken and she is betrayed by Ursula. She realizes that she has to fight for the right thing and eliminate the evil Sea witch. At the end, she realizes that for the love she can triumph over anything and that love conquers all.
Similarly, Alice is faced with a lot of magical encounters in wonderland. She is expected to participate in all of them. From one encounter to the next she is faced with antagonists who try to baffle her, order her about confuse her and even behead her. Even those she finds thinks are friends confuse her and she does not understand them. Carroll (46) states that Alice thought the whole thing to be very absurd, but all the animals looked so grave that she did not dare to laugh. Throughout the encounters, Alice realizes that she can trust no one and can also tackle anything in a desperate move to come out of the wonderland.
Lastly, Dorothy Gale in her own word Oh, Auntie Em, I love you all! And... there's no place like home! (Baum 167)Realizes her love for her home in Kansas and her aunt when she is faced with the challenges of killing the evil Wizards as her ticket home. She also discovers that she has inner strengths despite being fearful through the help of the Wizard of OZ who says that A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much, you are loved by others (Baum, 69). Through this words, Dorothy works her love through to the friends she encounters on her journey and they all end up happily in their respective destinations.
In conclusion, it is clear that the three protagonists share some common threads of similarities but greatly diverge in their approaches to the conflicts that they face despite the societal pressures. Though they first featured in this classics in the mid 19s, these female protagonists continue to impact on young readers up to date.
Baum, L F. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Luton, UK: Andrews UK Ltd., 2012. Internet resource. Read moreThe little mermaid. Prod. John Musker. Perf. Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll. Walt Disney pictures, 1997. Film.
Carroll, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. New York: Puffin Books, 2015. Internet resource. Read more
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