Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty

Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty:
A Literary Approach

Diana Kathryn Geleskie
Vanessa Kolberg
Updated April 19, 2007

Works Cited

A Literary Approach to Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty

Walt Disney's Animated Motion Picture Sleeping Beauty

The study of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty examines the movie in terms of three key literary areas of study- historicism, formalism, and the literary canon. Each can be applied in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in order to find meaning behind various elements of the movie.

The literary areas of study are described below:


In literary criticism, historicism takes into account when a piece was written and how the time has influenced the work. In historicism, the work must be read with the time period in mind, since it ultimately provides clues to how it should be interpreted. (Keesey 11). The culture, place, and standards of a time are all examined in regards to a piece in order to understand why an author used certain phrasing or created a certain meaning- to see if it fit into the conventions of the time.


Formalism looks at the actual form and make up of a piece, rather than the background elements of historicism. Formalist are mainly concerned with how a work is related to or is similar in style to other literary pieces and what one can draw from these similarities. In formal criticism, the work itself is independent of the author or the readers, but is thing all its own (Keesey 76). By examining and understanding the different parts of a text and how they relate to others allows the critic to find a meaning beyond that interpreted from the author.

Literary Canon

A literary canon is a list comprised by literary scholars and critics as a group of works considered to be the most influential or displaying great literary merit. Additionally, a canon can also contain works that are similar in style or form, allowing for comparison.

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