Mouse Morality: The Rhetoric of Disney Animated Film

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Mouse Morality: The Rhetoric of Disney Animated Film


Annalee R. Ward

Date published:



Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press

ISBN: 0292791526 (alk. paper), 0292791534 (pbk. : alk. paper)


The author uses a variety of analytical tools based in rhetorical criticism to examine the moral messages taught in five recent Disney animated films: The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and Mulan. Taking the films on their own terms, she uncovers the many mixed messages they purvey: for example, females can be leaders, but male leadership ought to be the norm; stereotyping is wrong, but black means evil; historical truth is valued, but only tell what one can sell, etc. Adding these messages together, the author raises important questions about the moral ambiguity of Disney’s overall world view and demonstrates the need for parents to be discerning in letting their children learn moral values and life lessons from Disney films.

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