Summary: The Representation Of Animals In Popular Culture

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Popular culture takes many forms such as literature, movies, novelties, clothing and fads, and live entertainment. American popular culture has changed over time along with its representation of animals. Animals have been depicted as threats, victims, national symbols, celebrities and companions. Their depictions are dependent on time, place, and historical context.
The whale is a prompt example of how the representation of animals may change over time, history and location. In the 19th century, the whaling industry was huge in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans (Fan 11/30). They were exploited for their blubber and baleen (bone) which were used in the production of candles, lubricants for machines, corsets, umbrellas and hairbrushes
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Anthropomorphism is most readily examined in the way that animals are represented in cartoons. Animal characters have been turned into beloved tokens of childhood and even celebrities. Perhaps the most famous American company for transforming animals into iconic characters is Disney. In 1928, Mickey Mouse was debuted under a different name and with a very different look than what we picture him as today (Fan 11/28). He possessed humanlike characteristics such as clothing and posture that would be considered anthropomorphic (Fan 11/28). His representation was much more mouse-like, his eyes were beady and his body and nose was drawn with sharp angles. His character was tailored to target the audience of children. Animals are often times used to connect with children for they are depicted as having simple and pure emotions, much like a child (Fan 11/28). The natural order of predator and prey is also universal and is utilized to explain complex ideas to children such as the ideas of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Disney’s film, The Lion King (Fan 11/28). In the 1970’s Disney gave mickey mouse a makeover by giving him and other character more baby like features to make the characters more relatable to their audience. Even in modern animated films such as Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory, ect. The animals exhibit human emotions and story lines (Fan 11/28). The characters have become so popular that they have become universal and are able to be named with just a glance. This goes to show the evolution of the way animals are depicted overtime as depicted them to be seen as celebrities and universal symbols of

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