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Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse

Autor:   •  April 7, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,114 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,869 Views

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On Nov. 18, 2010, Mickey Mouse turned 82 years old. There's not a gray hair on him and his cheerful, well rounded face remains one of the most recognizable images in the world, even beating out Santa Claus. As we all know, Mickey‘s character has drawn the attention of many writers during the course of time. One these writers is Stephen Jay Gould, whose essay I had to read as part of an assignment in my English class.

This essay is called "A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse" , and after reading it for three times in a row, I realized that it is, in fact, a very interesting essay. I wasn't sure that it was going to have my full attention, but after discussing the text in class, I found a new way to look at the passage. I have to say that I'm surprised with the perfect combination that the author provides in this text, both integrating a scientific part, and another slightly noticeable less scientific part of it. Although this two parts are in a good synchronization, I think that the whole essay is more dominated by the scientific line of thought, leaving the less scientific part to the kids or to the uninterested readers. I will try to explain my opinion on this piece of writing, based on some of the sophisticated parts of Gould's essay.

As I stated above, the first point of reading this text that crossed my mind was the scientific part of the passage. I had clearly missed this detail the first time that I read the text, but as I was reading it for the second and third time, it became lucid to me. Jumping back to the time that Mickey's character was first created, the author provides a long and full explanation of the changes in Mickey's behavior and appearance using his knowledge in scientific fields such as biology, psychology, and even mathematics.

Hence, we find this phrase in the first page of the essay: "The Mickey Mouse who hit the movie houses in the late twenties was not quite the well-behaved character most of us are familiar with today. He was mischievous, to say the least, and even displayed a streak of cruelty." (Gould 279). This phrase clearly supports the idea that Mickey's behavior was a lot different from that of the Mickey that we know today, and that it has changed over the time. Furthermore, "Mickey had become virtually a national symbol, and as such he was expected to behave properly at all times. If he occasionally stepped out of line, any number of letters would arrive at the Studio from citizens and organizations who felt that the nation's moral well-being was in their hands.... Eventually he would be pressured into the role of straight man." (Gould 280). As we can infer from this sentence, Mickey soon became a public figure. It was inevitable that kids all around the world would try to imitate the behavior of their


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