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Compare and Contrast
As teachers, we can use both of these films and their written counterparts to reinforce compare and contrast skills. Each film, which focuses on the plight of a princess, has been significantly changed from its written version. The changes and at times extreme expansions of the original tales have led to Disney magic and history on the screen. It is interesting to track the changes from page to film and have your students do so, as well.
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The changes from the original version of Cinderella are extreme, to say the least. There is no cheerfully plump fairy godmother in the pages of the story. Instead, there is a ghostly apparition of Cinderella’s own mother, who spookily conjures up the clothing needed for the ball. Also of note, the prince is not as meek and mild as he is in the film. He uses his brains to try to trap his mystery girl by spreading tar on his steps. Alas, he only catches a shoe, and the tale moves on from there. The shoe does fit in both versions, but some appendages are lost in the original tale, which has a bloodier ending than the film. Both the film and the story are worth looking at in class.
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The Frog Prince vs. Princess and the Frog
Princess Tiana, of Disney fame, is a complete 360 from her written counterpart. In the very, very short fairy tale The Frog Prince, our princess is vain, selfish and lies to get what she wants. Nothing could be further from the Tiana we meet in New Orleans, who is determined to succeed and who is kind to everyone, even slimy frogs. Disney used this story as a jumping off point and as a loose adaptation so they could tell us the story of a hard working young woman who does not need to be rescued by a man, but who instead sets goals and works to achieve them. Tiana is my favorite princess of Disney lore and once you watch the film, she may be yours as well.