I just now got around to watching the movie last weekend. I know, I know, I'm way behind the times. But wow, what a movie! I can see why Pepper was inspired to post about it, because it inspired a post from me too.
As I watched this movie, one particular theme shouted at me from the screen--the concept of being boxed in. This theme came out in three primary ways.
The Initial Condition of Rapunzel
The whole premise of the movie is that Rapunzel is a lost princess who was stolen from the castle as a baby. She's being raised by the woman who stole her and she now lives in a tall tower, which she's ordered to never leave. Her life revolves around being boxed in--both physically and emotionally.
Relationships and the Can't-Trust-Anyone Dilemma
As the plot unfolds, she and handsome thief Flynn Rider join forces. But they face opposition from not only one direction, but ALL directions:
Rapunzel's "mother". Flynn's old cronies whom he cheated and who now have it out for him. The king's men who are chasing Flynn for his thievery. The crazy horse who later becomes an ally.
The viewer has all these opponents scrolling through the back of their minds as they watch. At any given moment, we wonder when one of these adversaries will make things interesting.
Flynn and Rapunzel truly are on their own. No one can be trusted. They're boxed in relationally.
Physical Danger--A Literal Representation of Their Internal Struggle
The boxed-in concept is well established in the viewer's mind. So to hone it even further, the writers of the movie provide physical action that represents the internal struggles of our beloved characters.
Bravo to the writers of Tangled for creating this boxed-in effect throughout the movie...on all levels. I was swept away in it and when the movie ended, I wondered how it could be done so fast.
So what does this mean for our novels?
The power of theme can't be underestimated. Think about the internal struggle your main characters face. Then build conflict and challenges that grow organically from it. Provide physical representations of the internal struggle, and you'll have a breathtaking combo.
How much does the theme of a book or movie stay with you afterwards? Can you think of other examples that use this type of effect?
Sarah Forgrave is a stay-at-home writer-mom who feels blessed to pursue her calling and passion. She writes contemporary romance for the inspirational market and is a regular contributor to the webzine Ungrind.
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