Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Phillip Gentile

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


Film is a relatively young art form and industry compared to others, such as music and dance. Its origins go back no more than 150 years, yet criticism surrounds film over the lack of originality. The Walt Disney Company, or Disney, is one of the most well-known companies in the industry, and it too is accused of recycling some of the same narrative elements and images in its films. This recycling of themes, characters, animation, plot points, and more are known as formulas that Disney uses to ensure financial success. In recent years, the film industry, but more specifically Hollywood, and Disney have been reprimanded for the lack of diversity in films in regards to the positive representation of people of color and true feminist characters. In an attempt to satisfy audiences, Disney began producing films from cultures outside of Europe that star feminist-approved female leads. This thesis uses contextual and narrative structure analysis to determine how Disney brought a new perspective to audiences but still followed the concept of the Disney formula in the films Mulan and Moana.