Frozen takes place in the kingdom of Arendelle. Anna and Elsa are both princesses in the kingdom, and Elsa possesses special powers that allow her to manipulate ice and freeze objects. The girls were best friends when they were young children, but one day when they were playing Elsa accidentally hit Anna in the head with her magic, almost killing her. Anna was taken to a group of trolls, and the leader claimed he could heal her, but would have to wipe her memory of Elsa’s powers. After this event, their parents separate the sisters and close off the gates of the kingdom so as to keep Elsa’s powers a secret from the outside world. From this point on Elsa stays in her room, afraid that she will be unable to control her powers and might hurt someone again should she come out. During this time their parents are killed in a storm while they are out at sea. This leaves the girls truly alone.
Three years later it is Elsa’s coronation day to become the new Queen of Arendelle. Anna is excited because they are finally opening up the gates of the kingdom. Several important people from around the area come to the kingdom, including Prince Hans of the Southern Isles and the Duke of Weselton. Anna meets Hans on the docks and they instantly form a connection. After the ceremony, Anna asks Elsa for her permission to marry Hans. This upsets Elsa, making her unleash her powers in front of the whole kingdom. Terrified that she will be seen as a monster by her people, Elsa runs out of the kingdom and into the mountains to seclude herself. This event triggers an eternal winter to come over the kingdom.
Anna believes she can talk to her sister and convince her to revert Arendelle back to what it was before. She sets out into the mountains to do so. This is Anna’s call to adventure. Along the way she comes to a small shack where she meets an ice seller named Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven. Anna buys supplies for Kristoff because he couldn’t afford them, and he agrees to help her find Elsa. Along the way they meet a snowman named Olaf who accompanies them on their journey. After being attacked by wolves and nearly falling off a cliff, they make it to Elsa’s ice castle. Anna tries to convince Elsa to come home, but Elsa refuses because she is still afraid that she can’t control her powers. She gets angry and releases a blast of ice that hits Anna in the heart.
On their way back down the mountain, Anna’s hair starts to turn white. Kristoff notices this and says he knows who can help her. They go visit the same trolls that Anna visited when she was young, but the leader says he can’t heal her this time because she was struck in the heart. He tells them that only an act of true love can thaw a broken heart. Meanwhile, Hans and his people set off into the mountains to find Elsa. They find her and bring her back to the kingdom, where she is chained up and imprisoned. Hans asks her to undo the winter, but she says she can’t. She asks him to convince her people that she isn’t a threat, and he tells her he will do his best.
Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf leave the trolls and head back to Arendelle so that Anna can kiss Hans and be saved. Kristoff leaves Anna back at the kingdom where she finds Hans and tells him they need to kiss. Hans tells her that he doesn’t actually love her and just wanted to marry her so he could have a tie to the throne. He locks her in her room and leaves her there to die. After leaving Anna, he tells the people that she passed away. He is then made the official ruler of Arendelle, and charges Elsa with treason.
Olaf comes to the rescue and opens the door to Anna’s room. Anna says she doesn’t know what love is, but Olaf tells her that Kristoff’s selfless act of bringing her to Hans means he loves her. She then sees Kristoff riding towards the kingdom and leaves the room to find him.
Hans goes back to Elsa, but she has escaped the prison. The winter also begins to intensify. Elsa gets caught in the storm and Hans finds her. He convinces her that she killed Anna, and she breaks down. Anna sees Kristoff coming towards her, but she also sees Elsa weeping on the ground. Hans is about to kill Elsa when Anna jumps in front of her and turns to solid ice. Hans ends up hitting Anna instead, breaking his sword. Elsa bursts into tears at the sight of her sister turning to ice, and she wraps her arms around her. This is the act of love that Anna needed, and she begins to thaw out. They realize that love can unfreeze the kingdom, and slowly the ice starts to disappear.
Hans is locked up and sent back to the Southern Isles, and Elsa writes that Arendelle will no longer do business with Weselton. Anna buys Kristoff a new sled, and he finally gets to kiss her. Elsa creates an ice rink in the middle of the kingdom and makes Anna a pair of ice skates. They begin skating around and having fun like they used to when they were young.
Anna is a dynamic heroine that goes through a lot in her journey. The theoretical frameworks in which I will be analyzing her will be feminist criticism and Marxism.
A part of feminist criticism has to do with what it means to be feminine. In most cases, femininity refers to the stereotypes surrounding what it means to be a women. It is a group of standards that society has deemed women do or should possess. some examples of this could include being timid, polite, delicate, and mild-mannered, just to name a few.
In the beginning of the story, Anna actually possesses several of the traditionally feminine characteristics. One example of this would be when she meets Hans on the docks for the first time. She is completely struck by his beauty, and becomes timid and shy in his presence. This relates to the classic ‘girl falls for dreamy boy’ theme that occurs in several chick flick movies. However, she begins to lose her timid nature as the story continues. She saves Kristoff from the wolves on their way to Elsa’s castle, and fearlessly confronts her sister when everyone else was afraid to. In this way, she possesses several qualities that traditional female characters may not, such as courage and great strength.
The one event in the story that I would say solidifies Anna as a heroine who breaks the norms of femininity would be when she sacrifices herself to save her sister. Many a time you will see heroes sacrificing themselves in order to save their world or someone they love. Anna is given the choice to run to Kristoff or save her sister, and she makes the ultimate choice to save her sister, which in turn saves her kingdom and her people. Self sacrifice encompasses many of the qualities that go hand in hand with being a hero, and by doing this, Anna therefore takes on these qualities as well. Although she may start out as your run of the mill female character, she ends up being a heroine who truly breaks the norms of what it means to be female and feminine.
Marxism also relates to Anna’s journey in a few ways. The main point of Marxism that I will be referring to is the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. In the Marxist framework, the bourgeoisie are the rich capitalists that take control of the proletarians, or the poor. They will often milk them for all they are worth, extracting as much use from them as they possibly can without giving much in return. Marx believed this relationship would lead to the proletarians uprising, which would set the framework for modern day Communism.
In the beginning of her journey, Anna could be seen as the proletariat and Hans as the bourgeoisie. Hans had a lot to gain from marrying Anna, while Anna ultimately had very little to gain in the end. He intended to use her to take control of her kingdom. I can imagine that if his plan had been a success, Arendelle could have very much likely resembled that of the proletariat and bourgeoisie relationship, where Hans would have been in control of the people of Arendelle and could have used them however he wanted.
Another example of this would be how the Duke of Weselton wanted to use Arendelle in order to benefit from its resources. He wanted to form a good relationship with Anna and Elsa so that he could profit off of their kingdom in the long run. While this doesn’t directly relate to Anna, it is still worth noting.
It is easy to see that Marxism can be related to not just Anna’s journey, but almost every hero/heroine’s journey in some way. There always appears to be that one antagonist that wants to take advantage of a group of people or nation for their own personal gain.
In terms of cultural significance, this movie has a ton of it. I remember when it came out back in 2013. I didn’t see it when it was first released, but no matter where I went I could hear someone singing the signature tune of the movie. “Let it go” was an extremely popular song of that time, with young children and old folks alike singing along. The music in the film is overall great, but how does the story itself relate to our culture?
I think one of the main reasons as to why this film was so popular is that most people could relate to Elsa in some way. Throughout the movie you could see that she struggled a great deal internally, and although she was a princess she was flawed. She made real mistakes that had real consequences on her home and the ones she loved. Most people can relate to this because everyone makes mistakes. It is easy to feel Elsa’s pain because most of us have probably gone through similar times of pain and suffering.
In addition to that, Frozen is able to appeal to a wide audience due to being so different from the normal Disney princess movies. It features strong female characters and a plot that focuses more on camaraderie than anything. The relationships between friends plays a key role in any culture, and really this whole movie is about two sisters rebuilding their relationship and becoming friends again. Everyone has friends that they can’t imagine their lives without. My friends mean the world to me, and I could sense that Elsa meant the world to Anna. I’ll say right now that I never cry during movies, but I actually found myself tearing up at several points in this one. It has such a way of appealing to our emotions because we all have friends that are important to us. I was imagining if my best friends randomly grew apart from me and how sad I would feel.
The emphasis on friendship as well as being able to relate to the characters are what makes this film so significant, and I guarantee that it will be remembered as one of the greatest Disney films of our time.