With a dreamy far off look, and her nose stuck in a book. . . It’s no fable that I relate to Belle on many levels. Even more so as I grow older. Her love for literature is one thing we have in common. 😉
I rewatched Beauty & the Beast (1991 version) recently, and I fell in love with it all over again.
Disney blew me away by the beauty and rawness of the story. Something I’d forgotten it possessed.
Furthermore, I found a few invaluable lessons in this tale as old as time. ✨
1) Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover
“She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.”~ Narrator, Beauty & the Beast ~
The deception of looks is a strong theme in this film. The surface of a person is not what matters, it’s the inside that counts.
Take Gaston, for instance. The handsome, narcissistic jerk who fancies Belle, and attempts to sweep her off her feet. Belle, unlike the blind girls in her town, sees past his attractive exterior to his rotten core and coolly deflects his attentions.
Then, there’s the Beast. From the beginning, he’s cursed for his bitter heart and proud nature. The enchantress transforms the prince into a monster–a reflection of his soul.
No one imagines that any virtue can hide beneath his layers of melancholy. That is, until Belle comes along. Belle is able to overlook both men’s deceiving facades and perceive their true character. The character radiating from within.
2) Stand Out from the Crowd
“She’s nothing like the rest of us. Yes, different from the rest of us is Belle!”~Townspeople, Beauty & the Beast~
In the movie’s opening scene, Belle strolls through the town, amidst the frequent shouts of ‘bonjour’ and remarks of Belle’s strangeness. Though seemingly oblivious, it’s later depicted that she does notice how different she is from the townspeople. Yet, despite her individuality, she does not alter herself to fit in. She chooses the road less traveled.
In spite of the apparent oddness of her pastimes, she continues to read. Brushing off others’ nags like dust.
Later, when she returns to the village to rescue her father, she challenges Gaston’s view of the Beast. She defends the Beast, despite the harsh opposition she receives from the town. Belle’s not bothered by others’ opinions of her.
3) Love Sacrifices
“I let her go. . . Because I love her.”~The Beast, Beauty & the Beast~
Beauty & the Beast is a story of sacrificial love. ❤
Belle takes the place of her father, sacrificing her liberty and longing for adventure. By freeing him, she chains herself to an unknown future. But she does it willingly.
The Beast recognizes this, and later, once his character develops, he mirrors her action. At the moment when he is so close to securing her love, he frees her from imprisonment, allowing her to leave to find her father.
He is inches away from lifting the curse, yet he allows her to go. Therefore showing that he has learned to love someone more than himself.
4) Gentleness is Undervalued
A characteristic of Belle’s that stuck out to me is her gentleness. She faces each battle in a soft yet firm manner. Her gentle spirit influences the beast and heals not only his external wounds, but internal as well.
Possessing a soft nature is not a weakness, though often viewed as so. It is an invaluable asset, and Belle embodies this truth.
5) Grow from Mistakes
“Bittersweet and strange. . . Finding you can change. . . Learning you were wrong.”~Beauty & the Beast~
Both Belle and the Beast change over the course of the movie. Each has their share of mistakes and misjudgments and grew from them. The same goes for our lives. We all have to pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes, and move on.
6) Hospitality Should Not Be Limited by Someone’s Background
“Be our guest, be our guest. . . “~Lumiere, Beauty & the Beast~
When Belle stepped into the castle, no one knew a thing about her. And even after she was confined to her room by the Beast, Lumiere disobeyed his master’s orders and invited her to dine.
The servants’ delight to serve engulfs her social status and past. The whole household warms up to her, and they charm Belle with their cheeriness and pleasant manners.
Lumiere is priceless.
7) Tea Cures Everything
“How would you like a nice spot of tea, sir? It’ll warm you up in no time.”~Mrs. Potts, Beauty & the Beast~
Ah, yes. Wouldn’t we all like a nice, hot cup of tea from Mrs. Potts on a bad day?
What about you? Do you see any other messages embedded within Beauty & the Beast? What do you have in common with its characters? Comment down below. ❤