Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Shrek? Why yes, yes I did. – Check out my other posts on Shrek.
This morning I was talking to a student about Fiona and how she changes…her arc.
Here’s a princess with a VERY dark secret…SPOILER ALERT…SPOILER ALERT She’s an ogre by night – only true love’s first kiss can break the spell. Her’s a princess with some serious shame – she hates something she is – something she has no control over. She’s got some serious Ographobia going on…that’s a nasty thing when you are an Ogre.
Her arc – from shame to acceptance and on to celebration. Go Fiona! Pretty awesome stuff here – how does it happen? I’m sooo glad you asked. I’m going to tell you how she starts…
She MEETS AN OGRE. She comes face to face with her biggest fear and she finds out – – – wait for it – – – he’s not the baby eating, virgin violating monster she’s been led to believe. He’s a grumpy, curmudgeon, but he’s not a monster. It takes a while, (about half the movie) to fully accept it, but being an Ogre just isn’t so bad…it can be kind of fun actually.
One of the best way to combat prejudice is to actually meet the people we judge – the people we make assumptions about. When we do, we’re going to find out that some of them will TOTALLY confirm our preconceived ideas, but most of them will not. Any group regardless of how we try to pigeon hole them – race, sex, sexuality, language, culture, hair colour, financial status, clothing, ogreness – will have its share of good and evil, caring and selfish, givers and takers. It is always the same. Fiona learns to accept herself by meeting an Ogre – the very thing she hates and fears the most – when she does, she finds that he’s not that horrible – – – and neither is she.
Something else occurred to me this morning. Fiona’s arc isn’t just about shame, it’s also about arrogance and pretention. She thinks (and acts) like she’s just a wee bit better than the rest of us…OK maybe a LOT better than the rest of us. Over the course of the film she realizes that those two extremes are both false, she is neither more monstrous, nor superior to anyone else. She’s just a woman/ogre…when she discovers and accepts this she is finally happy, loved and content.
The times in my life when I was most pretentious and most arrogant (I know, I know you can’t imagine me being arrogant of pretentious, but yes my friends, I’ve been there, done that and picked up a T-Shirt that was WAY better than yours) have all coinsided with my most insecure, and shameful times, times when I struggled the most with self esteem and self acceptance. What do you say we all just accept ourselves – warts, green skin and all – and at the same time accept that our strengths and our weaknesses don’t make us better or worse than anyone around us – they make us human – or Ogre as the case may be.