I’m Afraid She’s Rather Odd
“That one? But you’ve read it twice”
“Well it’s my favorite!”
Growing up, I LOVED Disney movies. My dad and I saw just about every one that came out. We had an entire bookshelf full to the max with those glossy VCR cases, in alphabetical order. Still, despite having dozens to choose from, two videos were a little more worn out than the others – The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
There are many similarities between these two characters that I could relate to. They both were close to their fathers, they both longed for something more. They both knew they didn’t belong in the place they grew up, not forever. They knew they were different, but they knew there was somewhere out there they belonged.
Even though if you ask me now what my favorite Disney movie was, I’d go back and forth between the two, as far as the heroines themselves go, a few things tipped the scales in Belle’s favor.
Belle was different because she was smart. She loved books and had no interest in fawning over the town’s resident hunk. She loved her father and was as proud of him as he was of her. What she longed for was adventure, newness, a break from the closed-minded routine of the people in her village. She was bold, she was independent, she was strong-willed. And she was kind.
She traded her own freedom for her father’s, and even though she was furious and devestated, she was never rude to the servents who were trying to make her feel more at home.
One of my favorite parts in the movie is in the beginning when she goes to the bookstore. She asks to borrow a book, and the shopkeep expresses his surprise at her choice, since she’s already read it. With pure joy and excitement in her voice, she passionately tells him why it’s her favorite story.
She then goes so far as to sing about it! To sheep! Gotta love that enthusiasm.
This photo is how I imagine Belle saw the world sometimes. Before she was able to get out of her little village, she escaped into her favorite books. She let them envelop her and take her away, take her on the adventures she longed for. Take her to a place where she wasn’t quite so odd.