ERIC Number: EJ940277
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: 10
The Sea around Us: Social Climbing in "Seabiscuit," "Whale Rider," and "Finding Nemo"
Multicultural Perspectives, v6 n2 p24-27 2004
All life begins in the sea, people are taught, and a great transformation extends it to new places on land. The sea has always echoed this transformation in images of human aspiration in myths and metaphors. In the summer of 2003, this powerful image appeared again in the movies. In three very different films, "Seabiscuit," "Whale Rider," and "Finding Nemo," the life of the sea is the starting place of characters struggling to rise to high status. For Americans, as for much of the world, high status is the practical definition of full citizenship; and America's diverse subcultures focus on the particular obstacles to such success and citizenship in the larger society and the ways of surmounting them. In its own distinctive way, each film is a story of the struggle of a nobody to succeed in spite of the disrespect and derision of dominant social forces. One reason for the persistence of subcultures is the way the dominant culture marginalizes and suppresses the people who maintain those cultures. Each subculture defines the situation of a particular kind of nobody. In a sense, a subculture can be seen as a conspiracy by nobodies of a certain kind to find ways to become somebody. These three summer movies from 2003 suggest a different approach to the issue of tradition in relation to gender stereotypes.
Descriptors: Animals, Citizenship, Subcultures, Sex Stereotypes, Films, Social Status, Cultural Pluralism
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A