Big Mama (Pearl Bailey) says, “Time has a way of changing things.” After saying this, we see the seasons change. Leaves fall in the friend pond and snow and ice form (all dealing with water). What if water is a physical representation of time and change? Let’s explore this more.
When little Copper (Corey Feldman) and little Tod (Keith Coogan) become friends, they decide to “go swimmin’”. They splash and dunk and do all the things good friends do. This entrance into the pond establishes their friendship. They talk about it before, but their baptism in the water makes it official.
Ultimately Chief (Pat Buttram) and Copper build their relationship around water. They stay out hunting all winter, in the snow.
Apparently grown Copper (Kurt Russell) makes really good friends with Chief because he chooses his new dog friend over grown Tod (Mickey Rooney) when Chief gets knocked into the water by the train. Copper declares, “Tod, if it’s the last thing I do, I’ll get you for this!” Chief falling the water solidifies Copper’s devotion to him.
When Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan) abandons Tod in the forest, it starts to rain. This is a major change in his life; he has never lived in the forest alone before. The rain represents this change and time passing to Tod becoming a true adult fox, fending for himself in the wilderness.
Next, Tod meets Vixey (Sandy Duncan) beside the pond. I think you get where I’m going… Although Tod gets hurt by Vixey’s laughing, they build a bond with each other over the water.
When Tod defends Copper from the bear, he ends up at the wrong end of a waterfall. However, he does survive. With Copper’s entry into the water, this marks their friendship reuniting. Although they part ways after this interaction, the water makes them remain friends.
In this movie, change, time, and friendships develop over water. Maybe they all should have gone swimming more.
After reading this blog, what do you think of Squeeks the caterpillar turning into a butterfly in the end and eluding the birds? Please leave comments below!
I have to say I never thought of this movie as having segregation implications, but it's an interesting idea.
Interested in Erik Erikson’s stages of human development? Apparently they are reflected in this movie!
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