Reasons Why Disney Characters Didn't Have Mothers And How That Impacts The Story As A Whole
Although Disney has always told stories of "happily ever after", it is a fact that the majority of the Disney characters are raised by a single parent. More precisely, they don't have mothers and some of them live with their wicked stepmothers. Their mothers are either dead, have gone missing, or are otherwise unaccounted for. Even though more recent characters like Merida and Tiana had mothers, Frozen took a different approach by having both Elsa and Anna's parents pass away at the beginning of the film.
So, what happened to those mothers? Why don't they appear in these movies?
In an interview with Glamor magazine, longtime Disney producer Don Hahn offered his two explanations for why Disney characters rarely have parents, especially mothers. One idea is based on practical considerations, and the other comes from a tragic story from Walt Disney's past.
#The stories are all about growing up
Source: The Lion KingHahn says, “One reason is practical because the movies are 80 or 90 minutes long, and Disney films are about growing up. They’re about that day in your life when you have to accept responsibility. Simba ran away from home but had to come back.”
Bambi’s mother gets killed, so he has to grow up
Source: BambiThe producer continues: “In shorthand, it’s much quicker to have characters grow up when you bump off their parents. Bambi’s mother gets killed, so he has to grow up. Belle only has a father, but he gets lost, so she has to step into that position. It’s a story shorthand.”
Rapunzel was separated from her biological parents at a young age
Belle's mother died when she was a baby
Ariel's mother passed away
Tarzan was lost from his parents when he was an infant
Nani and Lilo's parents died in an accident
Elsa and Anna's parents are missing
#Walt Disney, unfortunately, lost his mother
Don thinks Walt was "haunted" by the passing of his mother, which is why Walt tended to shy away from portraying moms in his subsequent movies.
"It's not a secret within their family, but it's just a tragedy that is so difficult to even talk about. It helps to understand the man a little bit more. He had just made Fantasia, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Bambi, and Snow White in five years. He buys a house for his mom and dad, they move down from Oregon, and his mom dies. Again, I'm not a psychologist to know it all, but it's a really interesting story."
Given that the image of a mother means safety and care, it has now become clear why Disney characters rarely have mothers. Protagonists are driven to grow up quickly, make decisions and, well, create their own stories because they don't have their mothers by their sides. Perhaps this is the real reason why Disney movies are so unique.
What do you think about the reason for the absence of mothers in Disney movies? Do you believe that the lack of a mother throughout childhood affects how characters develop? Tell us in the comment below!