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The 1940 Disney Movie Pinocchio And Native American Literature

1571 words - 6 pages

Native American literature began before pen and paper, and before the Europeans came to North America. The Native Americans had already developed a rich history of their own using oral tradition to pass on their stories and myths. This was because the many tribes were so diverse, and at the time, they lacked an actual written language. The oral tradition was not only the telling of a story, but a performance to retell the story of many different themes and ideas. These ideas include a tribe's cultural background, historical events, but most Native American literature contains morals or being creation myths or folklore. Many of their stories had aspects such as relationships between humans and animals and respect for nature and the entire natural world. (Snipes) Most tribes also believed in the thought that the human soul is immortal and the thought of an afterlife. (Danchevskaya) These ideas and concepts not only impacted Native American literature, but many forms of modern literature to this day. According to Victoria Rideout, “Over the past few years, media use among children and teens have become more prevalent than ever...young people are rarely out of contact, or out of reach of the media.” (Rideout) She is saying that there is a connection between the media and childhood. She is also stating that when it comes to media, children are rarely ever out of reach. Mass media reaches out to many art forms, like television and movies. Both of these areas of entertainment impact children, all while using characteristics of Native American literature. Characteristics of Native American literature adapted childhood media to have a more positive effect on children.

The 1940 Disney movie Pinocchio is about a puppet maker, named Geppetto, who creates a puppet that he names Pinocchio. Jiminy Cricket later comes into his puppet shop to avoid the cold, and sees this puppet. During the night, Jiminy notices a Blue Fairy come in and turn the once wooden and soulless puppet into a lively and quite curious boy. The Fairy then tells him that if he wishes to become a truly alive boy, he must prove himself by passing various moral tests. (Cornel1801) Although it may not seem like it entirely, Pinocchio does have elements of Native American literature. The Blue Fairy known for creating life in the character for Pinocchio, and giving him the ability and opportunity to be a real boy. In Native American literature, this character is referred to as a deity. According to Danchevskaya's research on Native American mythology, a deity is “a Creator who is responsible for the creation of the world...that teaches culture, proper behavior, and provides substance to the tribe.” (Danchevskaya) The Blue Fairy in teaches Pinocchio that in order to live his life as a real boy, he must pass her tests of being honest, brave, and can tell the differences between what is wrong and what is right.
Along with the element of a deity, Pinocchio also has what is known as a...

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