Dr. Kevin Yee


When Disney's film Beauty and the Beast was first released in 1991, it was hailed by critics as a departure from the problematic portrayals of women that had plagued the company's previous efforts at converting fairy tales into animated features. Since then, feminist criticism has provided several different interpretations of the film, some of which seek to assign Beauty and the Beast to a specific literary genre. In looking at Disney's film as a literary text, critics such as June Cummins have argued that it most closely resembles a patriarchal classic romance, while others, such as Susan Swan, view it as a liberating Gothic novel. However, although the film borrows from the tropes and conventions of both of these genres, it most closely resembles a narrative of male reform through its plot, message, and visual signifiers. A reform narrative, such as Samuel Richardson's novel Pamela, features a male figure who is transformed through the presence of a virtuous female. Along with the similarity in plot, Beauty and the Beast adopts the reform narrative's exclusive focus on male change, its propagation of female innocence, and its idealization of domestic space and domestic virtue.

About the Author

Faith Dickens graduated from the University of Central Florida in December 2011 with a B.A. in English Literature. She won the Undergraduate Essay Contest of the Jane Austen Society of North America in September 2011, and she is currently completing an Honors in the Major thesis on representations of the feminineideal in Austen's work. After graduating, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature, specializing in 18th-century studies.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.