Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Frozen in Hiding

You've probably heard by now that Disney's smash hit, Frozen, has a hidden agenda:  A Christian one.  No, wait... a "radical homosexual" one.  Oops, I mean an anti-feminist one (I admit, I did not have the attention span to get through that one).  Pretty much the only sense I've read about the messages contained in Frozen is this from Seth Adam Smith: that "good art has multiple meanings and interpretations" and whatever you choose to derive from what you see is just that -- a choice.

Well, here is what I choose to see in Frozen, and it's a little something that starts all the way back in the Garden of Eden.  You've heard the story before:  Satan convinces Eve to have a little afternoon snack from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam joins in the noshing, and pretty soon they find themselves buck naked in the middle of a huge garden with their Father calling after them.  So they do what any naked adult would do when the throw-together-an-apron-made-from-fig-leaves plan doesn't work:  They hide.

Only trouble is, fathers are pretty smart when it comes to their kids and don't need to see a hand in the cookie jar to know the source of all those crumbs around the lips.  So, after giving Adam and Eve the chance to explain themselves, God has it out with Satan, rolls out a list of consequences for his disobedient children (goodbye easy life), and then makes them more suitable clothing from the skins of an animal.

Considering that there was no death in the Garden of Eden up to this point, it's reasonable to surmise that these clothes were made from the skins of a sacrificial animal; that is, an animal that was sacrificed as a symbol of Christ's saving sacrifice for us.  Adam and Eve were then given clothes made from the skins of this animal, and as such, their nakedness was covered by a representation of the atonement of Christ.  (Interestingly, the Hebrew word for "atonement" is "kaphar," which literally means, "to cover").

So what does this have to do with Frozen?

Elsa was born with a power that is both great and terrible.  As a small child she explored and tested her ability to freeze the elements and make it snow, but, when her sister, Anna, is accidentally injured in their play, Elsa is hidden away and told to conceal the truth about herself at all costs.  She is left alone with a power she fears and does not know how to control, and which bursts out of her when she allows herself to feel any emotion.  "Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know..."

When the truth about her power is finally revealed, she runs away thinking that she can continue to hide, that she doesn't need anyone or anything, and that being on her own with no rules is the "freedom" she has longed for.  She has no idea of the frozen wasteland she left in her wake when her sister, Anna, comes to urge her out of hiding once again.

"You don't have to be afraid," Anna sings.  "We can work this out together.  We'll reverse the storm you've made."

Elsa is panicked.  "I can't!  I don't know how!"  Her emotions overtake her and Anna is gravely injured, her heart frozen.

In the end, Elsa and Anna are both saved when Anna sacrifices herself for her sister -- Anna because her frozen heart is thawed, and Elsa because she no longer has to hide herself or her power.  Because of the love of her sister, and because she stops hiding, she is finally able to control her power and the whole kingdom is blessed because of her.

Satan wants us to hide.  He wants us to conceal who we truly are.  He wants us to be ashamed of what we feel and what our struggles are.  He wants us to cut ourselves off, refuse help, and destroy ourselves from within.  "You can't tell people you are depressed," he whispers, "What will they think of you?"  "You can't tell people you have an addiction.  What will they say about you?"  "You can't tell people you are gay."  "You can't tell people you have a drinking problem."  "You can't tell anyone you are hurting."  Hide.  Hide.  Hide.

It was only because of the love of a sister and coming out of hiding that Elsa was able to learn to control her powers and experience real freedom.  And it is only because of the love of God and coming out of hiding that we are able to be fully covered by the atonement of Christ, as Adam and Eve were, and be made truly free.

What do I see in Frozen?  A message to stop hiding.  To let it go.

And let it be covered.


Jenny Sorensen said...

Wow,I especially like this one. Although I enjoy them all. I did not realize this movie was being seen in so many different ways. I drug Lynn and the Boyz to it. We all enjoyed it very much. Keep on writing, you are so very talented.

Amy McConkie said...

Well said! Thanks Bonnie.

Courtney @ Ordinary Happily Ever After said...

"that good art has multiple meanings and interpretations and whatever you choose to derive from what you see is just that -- a choice."


Laurelee said...

Bravo bravo!!

Sara said...

Finally. Someone without an agenda! Love this take on it.

RebeccaInTexas said...

I agree that good art leaves many interpretive doors open. Frozen does that, I am fairly certain that it was written to appeal greatly to as vast an audience as possible, to give little winks and nods to any person looking for affirmation.

The thing is, any movie or art can indeed have an "agenda," but the problem with that is the more obvious it is, the more a turn-off it is. Add to that, to be effective, the message must ring true and also be appealling.

As a moom who lets her children watch many of these animations that are clearly written to appeal to a variety of agendas, one thing I remember is this: false ideas cannot "ring true" when we understand they are false, so teaching our children and allowing them to see the world--not just people's portayals of the world--will help them form a wider, stronger knowledge base and thus identify false ideas or false applications of ideas.

Bonnie said...

@Courtney, I wish I could take credit for that full statement and idea, but I can't. Not sure if you saw there was a link to the blog I pulled the idea from and I want to make sure the author gets credit, so I edited the paragraph to put his name in and make it more clear.

Something else he said I also loved: "To declare one interpretation as the 'correct' interpretation is to disenfranchise its value for everyone else. Truly, art is filled with meaning. Our task is to extract the best interpretation for ourselves and help others do the same."

Read the whole post if you get a chance. It's well worth your time.