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Years ago, when I saw Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, I had heard John Mark’s thoughts on the Disney story (and agreed), so I was pleasantly surprised when a song came out of nowhere—a song that doesn’t appear on any of the soundtracks (film or musical)—when Belle leaves the Beast and returns to her village to help her father.  Here’s an excerpt:

And I— I never thought I’d leave behind
My childhood dreams
But I don’t mind
For now I love the world I see
No change of heart a change in me

For in my dark despair
I slowly understood
My perfect world out there
Had disappeared for good
But in it’s place I feel
A truer life begin
And it’s so good and real
It must come from within

And I— I never thought I’d leave behind
My childhood dreams but I don’t mind
I’m where and who I want to be
No change of heart
A change in me

So there you have it.  Hidden amongst somewhat nonsensical lyrics and some vague heresy about “good and real” things coming “from within,” there’s repentance from Belle for longing for “much more than this provincial life.”  She calls her former demands for a perfect world a “childhood dream,” and she finally finds in her humble village the kind of love, contentment, and “true life” that the Beauty of the original fairy tale never lacked.  It’s worth noting that only after this change in Belle is she able to redeem the Beast with her love.

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