The Rituals of Making Magic: Disney Films Through the Lens of Turner

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Cyndal Mateja


Disney movies consist of timeless tales in which the main characters go on a personal journey to break away from the everyday constraints of life to eventually discover their true identity or destiny. These stories usually come to a close after the mental or physical transformation of the characters. According to Victor Turner, these characters spend most of their movie in the transitional phase known as liminality, in which their status is ambiguous until they figuratively cross over the threshold from their original station to obtain their true status in society. Utilizing the stages of Turners' theory as a reference point, this paper will apply the phases of liminality to the plots of various Disney movies, compare the commonalities among the main characters, and contrast their final status in society. Within the context of liminality, a more holistic view of these stories can be applied and a deeper understanding of the characters can be analyzed beyond the passive similarities which are apparent in all Disney movies.

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