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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 15, 2018

Esoteric Symbolism in Animated Film Storytelling

Building a heroine frame in the narratives of animated films for children

Fuji Ko
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

Esoteric symbolism of various kinds is dispersed in media for mass communication, and from the semiotic perspective, films, historically the primary medium for motion pictures, are the most powerful weapons for worldwide attraction. In this paper, two famous cartoon animated movies by Disney, Moana and Zootopia, are under analysis. For one thing, they use profound symbols in conveying a message to the audience, especially to children, and for another, their impact on society is wide due to the breadth and diversity of Disney-branded products. Thus, the present paper discusses these two movies using semiotic theories of signs, codes, and symbols, weaving them together to trace the system of communication between the text (here referring to the cinematic texts) and its audience, and especially how a heroine frame is built in the adventure genre. Interpreting the hidden meaning or occult symbolism requires a special kind of knowledge if we aim to convey the essence of the story to our children beyond merely knowing the plot of the film. The films Moana and Zootopia feature a number of interior or hidden elements such as metaphors and allegories, and illuminati or esoteric symbolism, even though they are animated ones.

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Published Online: 2018-08-15
Published in Print: 2018-08-28

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston