Now that the second semester has started up, sandbox assignments are replacing our journals. This week’s sandbox was to do a story analysis of a popular story or movie, so I decided to let it go with Frozen.
I’m sure pretty much all of my readers are familiar with the plot, but if you aren’t, beware that there are some **spoilers** in this analysis.
List the characters in the story and give a thorough description of each one (3-4 sentences). Consider physical, emotional, relational, social status, and occupational characteristics.
Anna – Princess Anna, the protagonist of the story, is an eighteen-year-old who desperately loves her older sister Elsa and wants to be close to her the way they were as children. She can be a little clumsy, but she is fun-loving, talkative, and optimistic. Her gingery hair, blue eyes, and freckles complete her lively character.
Elsa – She is the twenty-one-year-old queen of Arendelle and Anna’s older sister. Elsa’s defining characteristic is her magical ice powers which can be used to create wintery beauty, but freeze whatever she touches when she is afraid. She is quiet and reserved with white blond hair, pale skin, and blue eyes.
Hans – Prince of the Southern Isles and the youngest of thirteen brothers, he is handsome, gallant, and attentive. Whether it be calming a frightened horse or battling a snow monster, Hans is collected and self-assured. He is also an incredibly good actor, it turns out. Though he presents himself as an ideal hero, his character is anything but noble. When Anna is dying from the ice in her heart, he discloses to her his plan to use her to marry into the throne of Arendelle, get rid of Elsa, and gain the kingdom since he stands no chance of inheriting his father’s domain.
Kristoff – Tall and rugged with blond hair and blue eyes, he has been working in the mountains and ice of Arendelle since he was a young orphan adopted by a makeshift family of trolls. His character is evident through his willingness to put others before himself, including his buddy Sven, the reindeer.
Sven – This reindeer and Kristoff have been together since both were little, and Sven is incredibly loyal to his human friend. Though he cannot actually talk, he can still communicate with Kristoff with his own set of grunts and facial expressions – it’s “a little outside of nature’s laws”. You can typically find him pulling a sled, galloping across the tundra with a rider on his back, or splitting a carrot with Kristoff.
Olaf – First made by Elsa and Anna as little girls, this snowman represents the bond between the two sisters. He loves blunt humor, summer, and warm hugs, and loyally sticks by Anna throughout the story.
Duke of Weselton – He is the duke of Arendelle’s closest trade partner and an avaricious schemer. The ‘Duke of Weaseltown’ is short and skinny with a large nose and a bald head (revealed when he pompously bows and his hairpiece slips). An enthusiastic dipper on the dance floor, he can leap “like an agile peacock” – more or less. After slipping on Elsa’s ice, he is bent on destroying the queen whom he deems a sorceress.
Trolls – If you saw these creatures, they would just look a pile of mossy, round rocks – until they woke up. The trolls are stocky and short, with a curious combination of deep insight and interesting relational tactics. They can be friendly, over-bearing, loving, and forward. When Kristoff and Sven were young and alone, the trolls adopted them into the family. The oldest troll, Grand Pabbie, uses his wisdom and healing magic to restore Anna when Elsa’s ice penetrates her head.
Point of View
The story is laid out in third person omniscient, but the focus particularly centers on Princess Anna.
The story is set in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle, patterned after Norway with fjords and rosemaling, in the fantasy time of castles and princesses.
Write a paragraph synopsis of the story (6-8 sentences). Include a summary of the characters, setting, conflict, and theme. This should read like a blurb on the back of a book.
As young princesses, Elsa and Anna share a close relationship and love to play together in the snow Elsa creates with her magical ice powers; but an accident happens, and Anna no longer remembers her older sister’s abilities. As Elsa struggles alone to control her powers, Anna tries understand why her sister has shut out her and everyone else. Despite her attempts to conceal her freezing fear, Queen Elsa’s icy power slips out when Anna announces her engagement to Prince Hans, the man she just met that day, and Elsa flees Arendelle in terror, turning the summer into a snowy winter. Realizing her mistake and determined to make it up with Elsa, Anna sets off to find her sister and bring back summer, on the way, meeting up with Kristoff the mountain man, his reindeer Sven, and Olaf the snowman who help the princess traverse the snow-covered North Mountain. High on the slope, they discover Elsa’s ice palace, but when Anna goes in to talk to her sister, Elsa’s fear lashes out again and strikes in Anna again, this time in the heart – something only true love can thaw. Setting aside his own feelings for Anna, Kristoff rushes her back to her betrothed, Prince Hans. But there is a mistake, and as Anna learns through Olaf and Kristoff what true love really is, the sisters discover that only love can thaw a frozen heart.
What type of conflict do you see in the story? Give specific examples. Distinguish between major and minor conflicts.
man vs. man – There are several of these conflicts, a few of them representing larger, underlying conflicts: Elsa and Anna argue over keeping the gates open, the people try to protect themselves from Elsa’s ice, and the Duke of Weselton’s men attempt to shoot Elsa.
The major man vs. man conflict unfolds later on in the movie, when the handsome Prince Hans’ real motives are uncovered as he locks Anna up and leaves her to die.
man vs. environment – The King and Queen’s ship goes down at sea (minor). Kristoff, Anna, Sven, and the citizens of the kingdom battle the winter cold and snow (major).
man vs. himself – This is the biggest conflict of the story: Elsa wrestling to control her own fear and its icy manifestation.
man vs. animal – This element is minor. Anna and Kristoff skirmish with Artic wolves. Anna, Kristoff and Olaf, as well as Prince Hans and company battle Marshmallow, the snow monster of Elsa’s creation.
State the main theme(s) or message of the story in universal terms that apply to everyone, regardless of age, race, or gender (1 complete sentence). Look for at least two themes.
“Love is putting someone else before yourself,” – Olaf.
When looking for a friend – especially a spouse – character matters more than dreamy eyes.
Love thaws fear.
List at least three different examples of literary devices used in the story.
Anaphora – Part of Elsa’s famous number: “Don’t let them in/ Don’t let them see/ Be the good girl you always have to be/ Conceal/ Don’t feel/ Don’t let them know.”
Simile – Elsa sings, “One thought crystalizes like an icy blast.”
Symbolism – The snowman (do you want to build one?) symbolizes the relationship between the two sisters. Elsa’s ice represents the paralyzing grip of fear.
Foreshadowing – The opening scene of the sisters playing in the snow introduces both Olaf and Elsa’s unintentional ice blow to Anna. This is followed by the ominous warning that a blow to the heart can be fatal, and Grand Pabbie Troll prophecies of the conflict that will arise from Elsa’s ice powers.
Write a paragraph of your opinion of this story and why. Rate it as 1-5 stars, 5 being the best.
While I am not a big fan of ‘Let It Go’, I think Frozen is the best Disney animated movie of all time, so I will go with 4.9 out of 5 stars. On a basic level, Frozen’s animation is incredibly realistic, the score is original and captivating, the plot is much more multi-faceted than Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, and the characters are realistic and well-developed.
But beyond that, with Frozen, Disney finally got it through their heads that ‘love at first sight’ does not equal true love. The hero is not the handsome royal who can dance with her all night (though I must say Hans is a better Prince Charming than the original), but the person who works side by side with her on a mission greater than just the two of them. Kristoff has character and proves himself, even willing to not pursue the girl because he honors her engagement – no matter how absurd he thinks it is.
In Frozen, true love is not just fireworks and chocolate fondue. It is giving yourself up for someone else, as Kristoff did for Anna, as Anna did for Elsa. This self-sacrificial love echoes John 15:13, where Jesus declares, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” And the story shows that love isn’t just a boy/girl thing. Love is a family thing, too, and can even happen between siblings – not the typical message in today’s culture.
And the last key message of Frozen about love is that it thaws fear. Of course, Disney does not point to the Source of perfect, selfless love, but as believers in Christ, we know that the only way we know what love is because the Son of God laid down his life for us. But what does 1 John 4:18 say? “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
When you look past its obsessive fandom, Frozen is a well-done movie with an atypical Disney message about love that actually agrees with Scripture.