When Thumbelina (Jodi Benson) and Prince Cornelius (Gary Imhoff) meet, they appear to fall in love instantly. Cornelius wants to introduce Thumbelina to his parents less than 24 hours after meeting her himself. They exchange “forget-me-nots” and want “to live happily ever after”. This relationship has accelerated quickly.
Cornelius feels so madly in love with this girl that he braves the approach of winter to find her. He tries to beat the “frost”, but ultimately ends up failing and getting frozen in ice.
Then there is the case of the toad family. Grundel (Joe Lynch) decides he loves Thumbelina and Mama Toad (Charo) immediately goes out and kidnaps her. They try to trick her into staying by promising her fame and wealth. Grundel wants her because of her voice, even though he only saw her once. How insane is that? At least Cornelius spoke to her first; Grundel seems to be just ready for a wife.
The toad is even so crazy he plots to kidnap Prince Cornelius so he can marry Thumbelina, despite what she wants. Forcing someone into a marriage is not exactly the best way to develop affection…
The beetles do not necessarily love Thumbelina, but they do “love the sound of [her] voice”.
Mr. Mole (John Hurt) does not appear to be in love with Thumbelina. He wants “companionship”, and because Thumbelina can sing, he chooses her.
Not having Cornelius in her life is torture to Thumbelina. She loves him so deeply that she cannot bare to be hopeful that he is alive. Her love even makes her hallucinate that he is at her wedding. A love that intense is literally maddening.
However, Cornelius comes back in the end for his lady fair. He battles a toad, falls does a cliff, and still makes it for the final proposal.
I think where this blog ended up leading is towards a questions about marriage: do you marry for fame (the toad family), stability (the mole), or love? There is a solid representation of the craziness of love here, but it also pulls the reason for marriage into question.
Just a questions for further thought, why does everyone want to change the way she looks? Should she be “blonde”, a “beetle”, or a “bride”? Awesome alliteration! Ha!
This is not exactly a new idea. Over the years, a plethora of research has been dedicated to what love does to humans both emotionally and psychologically.
As always, have a look at thoughts about the original story, including a feminist look at the story.
Many interpretations can be developed based on both the story and the film.
Thank you for reading!!!