“If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it.”
As I continue on my Disney journey and explaining the life lessons each movie taught me, I have to include one of my favorite movies EVER, Beauty and the Beast. In my previous posts, I picked out a song from the movie that spoke to me but for Beauty and the Beast, that’s just impossible. I love everything about the movie (absolutely everything). But what I love most about the movie is Belle. It’s safe to say that she is my girl crush. Not only is she pretty but Belle is gentle, caring, intelligent, and determined. Growing up, I always wanted to be like Belle. (I know she is just a movie character but work with me here) She embodies many of the characteristics I wish to emulate, like being selfless, seeing the inner beauty in others, standing up for what you believe in, and always being willing to learn.
So today, instead of analyzing a song, I’m going to analyze Belle and how she influenced me. (and continues to do so) .
Intelligence is beautiful.
We are first introduced to Belle as she strolls through her tiny village one morning, running errands and picking up a new book to read. The villagers find this to be very peculiar, questioning why such a pretty girl has her nose stuck in a book. Doesn’t she have something else better to do with her life?! What they don’t know is Belle has a thirst for knowledge, adventure, and a curiosity for what lies beyond “her provincial life”. She finds reading books as a way to quench her thirst and learn more about the world.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read a new book at least every month. Growing up, I used to be a bookworm but as life got in the way, I haven’t had time to read as much as I’d like. But this year, I’m determined to change that. No matter if it is a classic novel, a textbook, a fantasy novel, or a comic book, all books have something to teach us. Within each book lies a story that will broaden our perspective, challenge us, or make us laugh. Books make us think and wonder. So far, I have kept my resolution and read 2 very different books that caused me to examine myself and enable me to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Belle shows us that intelligence is beautiful, that the more we learn, the more we become informed and enlightened. And with knowledge, we can achieve our dreams.
Be yourself and never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in
One of the first lessons we learn from Belle is to be yourself and not to be discouraged by others. It is quite obvious that Belle is an outcast in town and that most people find her to be odd but she does not let a bunch of ridiculous opinions get her down. Instead of pretending to be in love with Gaston and “fitting in” with the town or giving up her love for reading, Belle remains true to herself
Belle was also not afraid to voice her opinion or speak up for what she believed in. As a prisoner of the castle, Belle was not intimidated by the Beast. Instead, her comments and arguments challenged the Beast to look beyond his narrow ways and to see the truth.
Belle teaches us to brave, to remain strong even when we are scared, and to stand up for what is right.
Lesson #3 Loyalty.
This point can very easily be tied with Lesson #2. Throughout the movie, Belle shows her loyalty to those she really cares about. The first example is her father, Maurice. The town may find Belle to be a bit odd but to everyone, Maurice is downright strange. He is always tinkering with his “new inventions.” Gaston even thinks Maurice is crazy and should be locked up. But Belle does not care about what anyone else thinks. She is aware that her father is a little quirky but loves him and supports him despite of others’ opinions.
Another example is how Belle returns to the Beast after leaving to look after her father. She cares for the Beast and wants to warn him of the attack on his castle. Although she was merely a prisoner and does not owe anything to the Beast, she feels a sense of loyalty towards him. Her steadfast loyalty towards both her father and the Beast helps her to gain respect from them and those around her.
Lesson #4 Don’t judge a book by the cover
One of the most obvious lessons from Beauty and the Beast is that of inner beauty versus outer beauty. Gaston may seem like the whole package, tall, dark, and handsome; but he proves to have a serious vanity issue and is in capable of seeing anything beyond surface level. His massive ego, interest in only himself, and ugly personality immediately cause Belle to run far away from Gaston. He is a prime example of how you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Although Belle was startled by the Beast’s appearance at first, with patience, kindness, and love, she was able to look past his exterior and see the man who lied within.
One of my favorite quotes, which happens to be from another Disney movie, describes this lesson very well.
“Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what outside, but what is inside that counts.”
So many times we see something only for surface value and not for what truly is. As someone who is physically disabled and looks different from most, this is something I experience all the time. Belle reminds us to look beyond physical appearance and see the inner beauty in those around us.