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Why Disney Characters Rarely Have Mothers

Most families are incomplete in the Disney universe. Although Disney movies are widely loved by their audience with their beautiful heartwarming stories, it is easy to notice that most of the families are incomplete and that mothers are not present. This may have left you wondering why such an important person is missing.

As fans of life lessons from Disney, we at Bright Side bring you the reasons why these characters were not accompanied by their mothers and how that impacts the story as a whole.

The stories are all about growing up.

Mothers have a great impact on our lives. They nurture, care for, and raise us from childhood and even give us advice throughout adulthood. And the same goes for mothers in films and cartoons. Even though they play important roles in character’s lives, somehow they are missing from Disney movies.

Bambi, Cinderella, and Belle, from Beauty and the Beast either don’t have or lose their mothers at the beginning of the story. Because of this, the characters are raised by their fathers. If you think that is just a coincidence, chances are, it isn’t. These characters are also coincidentally being pushed into constant difficult situations and there is a reason why.

The answer comes from executive producer Don Hahn. He states that Disney films are about growing up. Hahn 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.”

The list of characters who had to grow up still goes on. Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Lilo (Lilo & Stitch), Rapunzel (Tangled), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Aladdin and Jasmine (Aladdin), Ariel (The Little Mermaid), and Snow White (Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs).

The 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.”

Walt Disney unfortunately lost his mother.

Hahn also gives us another explanation for why Disney characters lack their mothers. In this case, it’s a theory related to its creator, Walt Disney. The story is related to Disney buying a house for his parents in the 1940s and later on having lost his mother in a tragic accident due to a furnace. Hahn states that due to this haunting accident, this may be a reason why characters also have their mother missing.

Considering that a maternal figure means safety and care, it now becomes clear why the characters in Disney movies rarely have mothers. By not having them by their sides, protagonists are forced to rapidly grow up, make decisions, and well... write their own stories. Maybe that is why Disney movies are so special, after all!

What do you think the role is of a mother in movies? What was your theory of why Disney characters lacked their moms? Do you think characters develop differently by being raised without mothers?

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