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The recent release of newest iteration of Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, starring Emma Watson, has sparked various debates within strands of literature, specifically feminist literature. Many have criticised the adaptation suggesting it shares an anti-feminist image to young girls today.

Various critiques have interpreted Beauty and the Beast as a tale of Stockholm syndrome rather than romance.

Modern defenders of the new film have argued that Emma Watson’s new iteration has become one that reflects the rights and powers of women. Others have counteracted this argument by saying that the feminist aspects of the tale really are as old as time. And that the original writer, De Beaumont, wanted to teach women then that they have more value than just as a wife, and it is a lesson that rings true nearly 300 years on. Though now this message can be received more readily because women’s political and social rights give far more freedom than an 18th-century woman could ever imagine.

English Literature applicants could think about how common themes within texts stretch across massive time frames. Leading on from this they might think about the effects of differing political and sociological contexts on the interpretations of a text- specifically how this affects the manifestation of a text into a film.

Students wishing to study politics or sociology might like to think about the contemporary reaction to the new Beauty and the Beast, the debates this has sparked and how this reflects the state of women’s rights today.

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