Judging by the 1942 film, the story of Bambi is a relatively simple and childish tale. True, it famously deals with Bambi’s loss of his mother, but in general the movie leaves viewers with the banal, sentimental, fuzzy feelings that has made Disney an entertainment juggernaut. But these are not the feelings Salten’s original novel produces, nor is the novel particularly intended for children. How, then, did Disney’s image of Bambi become the predominant one? And how does this story and its reception shed light on our current Western culture?
The idea of motherlessness in Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Huxley’s Brave New World may help us understand our own age, in which state encroachment and market forces work together for the abolition of motherhood.
How do localism and nationalism fit together? How do each of these philosophical approaches to place use and abuse the innate noble feeling of patriotism? Over the course of Chesterton’s story, we are challenged to confront these questions and answer how we ought to live.
The novel is compelling (even spellbinding at times)—and if it is called antiquated, it is only because we have forgotten that the oldest human battle is the worthiest one: the battle to achieve and maintain virtue in a fallen world.
We must know how to trust great literature, which invites the deployment of intense and demanding feelings. The elevation of the soul of the youth suffers in the absence of great literary works; they remain constricted in an elementary vision of the world, of feelings, of relationships between people.