Declassifying Disney:Jane and Esmeralda’s Acorn Adventure Hayley’s Assignment 11
Once upon a time:…there was a girl who agonized over this project. Now that I’m finally finished, I thought it might be necessary to add a bit of explanation forthose readers who are over three feet tall. Character choice was very important in supporting my message: Esmeralda is a Disney characterwho belongs to the lower class, and relies more on her street smarts. Jane, on the other hand, is privileged and can boast an impressiveacademic education. By placing these two very different girls into conversation (something that Disney fails to do throughout its movies,unless it’s in conflict), I have created a story which highlights the equal value of both types of education, and blurs the divisions betweensocioeconomic classes in an effort to encourage acceptance among my readers. Understanding the role of media in forming perceptions ofclass, and recognizing the class disparities that represent a chronic problem in today’s society, I thought it best to nip the problem of class inthe bud by targeting the age group with the most hope for change: children. Enjoy the ride,Jane and Esmeralda were in both in second grade at the school house on top of the hill.One day in class, Jane and Esmeralda overheard their classmates, Clayton and Frollo,whisper about a legend of a magical acorn that was hidden in the forest.But each girl wanted the acorn for her own,and soon the search became a competition.--The next day during recess, the girls set out into the forest. Although they were each hoping to find the acorn for themselves, the traveled together because the forest was dark and scary. Not long into their trek, the trees became dense and the sky darkened. The girls had seen many mice and birds and squirrels, but no acorn.--Finally, after what seemed like many miles, the girls decided to turn around. But suddenly, every part of the forest looked the same.The darkness was settling quickly and the path became blurred.Jane and Esmeralda were lost.“Well now what are we going to do?” whined Esmeralda. “It’s all your fault that we are lost.”“My fault?” huffed Jane. “How is it my fault? You wanted to find the acorn, too.”“Well I’m leaving,” said Esmeralda. “My mom told me that the school lies north of the mountains, so if I could only find which way north was…”“But wait!” chimed Jane from behind a tall oak tree. “I learned in science class that, moss grows on the north side of the tree.”--
The girls realized that they would find their way back faster if they workedtogether. After searching nearby trees, they were soon headed in the right direction.--As the sun continued to set and the birds were returning to their nests for the night, Jane and Esmeralda started to become hungry and thirsty.“I’m dying of thirst,” complained Esmeralda. “Let’s find some water.”“Well if we head downhill, we should hit the river,” Jane said.--The girls changed their path and start walking downhill. Soon, they could hear the gentle flow of the river. In her excitement, Jane ran toward the bank, where she beganto rapidly drink the cool water. After she was finished, she hurriedtoward a nearby bush and began stripping the branches of the juicy berries.“Wait!” yelled Esmeralda, running towards Jane.“Don’t eat those. Those berries grow near my house, and they are poisonous.”--Jane glanced up at her new friend gratefully and quickly dropped the fruit. Suddenly, directly behind Esmeralda’s head, Jane spotted a building in the distance.Noticing Jane’s gaze, Esmeralda looked over her shoulder at the horizon.“School!” both girls yelled gleefully in unison. Excitedly, they ran alongside the river towards the building.--Soon, the dirt floor faded to grass and the girls were back on the playground.Tired after their forest adventure, they leaned against an old oak tree to catch their breath. Suddenly, something fell from the sky and landed at their feet. It was an acorn, but not any old acorn. It was the most beautiful acornthat the girls had ever seen. It was the size of a grapefruit and it glowedand sparkled when they picked it up.“Look!” exclaimed Esmeralda. “There’s writing on it!” Indeed, in small slanted font, the top of the acorn read…
“This is the acorn of acceptance. If you have found this acorn, you have been successful in working together toreach your goal. The gift of friendship that this acorn has bestowed on you will be strong and everlasting.However, you must not speak of this acorn or how to earn it to anyone. That is something we must all discoverourselves…”--Looking at each other, the girls smiled. Setting the acorn back on the ground, the pair walked hand in hand across the grass, filled with a lesson that hadn’t learned at school: the value of friendship and working together. --About the author:Hayley Burke is a freshman at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. When she’s not busy doing laundry orcomplaining about her readings, Hayley enjoys vacuuming, eating pierogies and watching Gossip Girl. She livesin her dorm room with her roommate Camilla and her pet plants, Pedro and Mariposa.