Date of Award

5-2013

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Jameela Lares, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

English

Abstract

Madame Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont wrote and published La Belle et La Bête while working as a governess and educator in 1757. She told the tale to a young female audience as a means of teaching important life lessons. Walt Disney’s animated film Beauty and the Beast, released in 1991, is clearly inspired by Beaumont’s story, yet Disney makes many alterations to her characters. This thesis locates and analyzes these changes, arguing that they greatly alter the message of Beaumont’s story from one that is empowering to women to one that is harmful and ultimately anti-woman. This thesis also examines the first cinematic version of the Beauty and the Beast tale, La Belle et La Bête (1946), because Disney’s version also clearly draws a great deal of inspiration from this adaptation. In order to historically and socially contextualize the original tale, this thesis also includes a brief biography of Beaumont.

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