Adventures of Pinocchio & Finding Dory (2/16/17 Class)

Today in class, we opened with a movie presentation on Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory. The presenters started off by sharing that Finding Dory was the sequel to Finding Nemo, which was premiered in 2003. Finding Nemo‘s past success helped attract an even larger audience for the Finding Dory premiere because of its familiarity. I was amazing to hear how the success for Finding Dory resulted in $1.028 Billion in box office sales.

What was even more surprising to me about the Finding Dory movie presentation was the discussion over Disney Pixar’s groundbreaking use of giving a story’s main character a ‘developmental delay’ or mental illness. I had seen the movie when it first came out, but never made this connection. Disney Pixar creates a movie in which almost all of the main characters have a disability: Dory has short-term memory loss, Nemo has a stub of a fin, Destiny has poor vision, and Hank only has seven tentacles. It was interesting to hear the presenters show how Disney Pixar used their characters to show its viewers how people, in this case sea creatures, should be treated equally regardless of their setbacks. Finding Dory helps to send a message that shatters stereotypes against people with disabilities and presents the notion that disabled people are just as able to accomplish any obstacles thrown at them.

In addition to its characters learning to defy stereotypes, another theme among this movie was to learn to take risks to obtain what you truly desire. In the movie, the presenters shared how Marlin, the super-cautious clownfish parent, learns to go out into the treacherous deep ocean to help Dory find her parents. Not only do both these movies make a point to assert the importance of family and making deep connections, but both Marlin and Dory, as main characters of their respected films, learn to share a life together as a family. As a result of Marlin realizing that Dory helped restore his own family in the prequel, Marlin must now help Dory find that exact same feeling of family by finding her parents.

Following our movie presentation we began to dig into Adventures of Pinocchio a little deeper per our opening discussion on Tuesday. Because we had already discussed the introduction and went into discussion through the first few chapters, we began our analysis on chapter four and ended on fifteen. We broke up into groups and were assigned two chapters in which we were to identify any of the characters’ actions that were important in terms of plot progression.

Overall, there were many important discussion topics brought up in relation to plot progression and characters’ actions. I found a few instances in our discussion that I found very interesting and noteworthy. We analyzed the importance of the Talking Cricket and what he meant to the story and how he contributed to the plot. A student expressed the notion that the Talking Cricket’s actions and words contribute to his role as a ‘wise man’. He helps progress the plot by giving the reader the lessons that Pinocchio ignorantly refuses to learn in the story. The Talking Cricket shows honesty and is a mentor to Pinocchio, but is unfortunately not effective. It is also important to note that in the Talking Cricket’s lesson on the importance of education for Pinocchio, he reveals that if he does not follow this successful path that he will “grow up an utter donkey”. This bit of information foreshadows a later chapter in the story, thus justifying the honesty in his character. In addition to the Talking Cricket playing an important role in drawing attention to honesty, it was also interesting to learn that he is deeply concerned for the child’s salvation. Because he knows how disobedient the child is, he tries to tell Pinocchio repetitively to do things that will save him, but continuously fails.

There is also an important progression of the plot that is made by Geppetto, Pinocchio’s father. Although Geppetto sacrifices everything for Pinocchio’s well-being, Pinocchio continually disobeys him and remains ignorant. In one ignorant and defiant scenario, As a Pinocchio’s burns off his own feet on accident. Although Geppetto knows all of this and is hurt by his son’s disobedience and dishonesty, he still chooses to make a new pair of feet for his son. Giving a new set of feet to Pinocchio progresses the plot in which it allows Pinocchio to regain the ability to run away, disobey, and fall into yet another pickle. This occurs in Chapter 8. However, this notion of disobedience and ignoring sound advice,  given by a variety of characters a long the way, is continuous throughout the plot.

We realized by the end of our class discussion that all of our chapters contained a variety of different challenges and bad situations that were caused by Pinocchio’s impulsiveness and refusal to listen and learn. However, from constant trail-and-error, Pinocchio slowly gains human-like consciousness along the way, which I predict will lead him into the progression towards a ‘real boy’.




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