Friday, February 1, 2008

The english accent is so charming

"Robin's myth, like the Green Man's activates a set of oppositions between nature and industry or commerce, fertility and decay, countryside (or forest) and town, and freedom and constraint. William Anderson, in The Green Man, discusses the links between the two myths, pointing out they are both linked to May Day festivities and that Robin Hood's 'connection with the Green Man is strong not so simply because of the green he and his merry men wore but because so man inns called 'The Green Man' portrayed him on their signs' (Anderson 1990, p 29).... the cinematic resurgence of Robin Hood in the 1990s is perhaps not surprising in view of increasing concern on both sides of the Atlantic about urban sprawl and environmental pollution. However, there is nothing new about the nostalgic desire to return to a pre-industrial period. This romantic view of the past as a Golden Age when man lived in harmony with nature, is itself a myth and one that has been drawn upon by writers in different periods over the past four centuries. In 'As You Like It', for example, Shakespeare used Robin Hood to symbolise this idealised view of the past."

From: "Reconstructing Robin Hood: Ideology, Popular Film, and Television" by Dudley Jones, found in the anthology A Necessary Fantasy? The Heroic Figure in Children's Popular Literature by Jack Zipes (available on Google Book Search)

Here's a question: What's up with Disney using anthropomorphized animals to illustrate the main characters? Isn't Robin Hood a story about poaching? (you'll get to it with next week's readings). Keep in mind the cultural climate of 1973. The Disney version just smacks of early 70s, chocked full of folk music and partial nudity! No really, if you haven't seen it, it may be the best Disney movie ever. As Professor Tantillo would say, "Great term paper topic!"


Penelope Ma said...

On the topic of Robin Hood, I was wondering: Was he made up/created, or was the story taken after a real person? I also found it interesting that, according to "The Cultural and Social Context, Ch 1", the Robin Hood ballads "reflect[ed] actual modes of popular protest and, in turn, shape[d] popular culture" (P. 21). The text gives examples such as Robert Stafford and Thomas Bright who went by the name of "Robin Hood". Is there something in present-day, maybe a movie or song, that might be shaping popular culture like the Robin Hood ballads did?

Rebecca Lis said...

I was thinking about the comment that Disney anthropomorphizing animals and I thought of another classic, The Lion King. Prof Tantillo made a comment last week that people tend to give a human cultural hierarchy to the animal world, which is extremely present with the Lions as the "King of the Jungle" and the whole first seen after Simba was born. Disney pulls most of these characters and structures from long standing traditions of glorifying parts of nature, either for protection, or sheer wonder, as we have seen in class. But do we as a society run the risk of taking this too far and over protecting or glorifying specific animals? How could this mindset be detrimental to our society instead of beneficial by bringing animals into our children's lives?