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Disney ’s Three Little Pigs may appear to be a simple story. But as Ellen Handler Spitz notes, it’s a model of Aristotelian aesthetics :

The earliest versions of the Three Pigs story are buried in time, although we do have nineteenth-century English renderings of it. I want, as a foil, to consider Disney’s Silly Symphony animation, from 1932, with its refrain, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?,” frequently issued in print form and known worldwide, because it forms, like so much of Disney’s work, an inescapable template. Disney’s pigs are “little,” that is, they are children; whereas Wiesner’s pigs are neither verbally nor pictorially “little.” On the book jacket, Wiesner’s three porkers zoom in and eye us. We go snout to snout with them, as if looking in a mirror. Disney’s tiny fellows, on the other hand, caper at a distance; they are comical and vulnerable in their sailor suits, except of course for the wise guy in blue working man’s overalls and cap, who, channeling La Fontaine’s La cigale et la fourmi , warns the others against frivolity. The story, as Disney tells it, conforms to Aristotelian aesthetics: from start to finish, the plot conforms to propter hoc , replete with necessity and peripeteia (an unexpected reversal of fortune), as the industrious little pig saves his brethren by turning the tables on the wicked wolf, who flees in howling agony, his bottom scorched in boiling turp. And children feel good; they smile. They have been through fear, trembling, revenge, resolution, catharsis. And all of this in a single, justly famous, work of art.

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(Via: Arts and Letters Daily )

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