Frozen 1: Keeping Things Inside
by Helen Bryant
Suitable for Key Stage 3/4
To look at the example of Elsa in Frozen (DIsney) and see where in our lives keeping things inside can be damaging.
Preparation and materials
Play ‘Let It Go’ as students enter.
- I have no doubt that you know exactly which film the song you just heard today was from. Disney’s Frozen has been a phenomenal success. I wondered though if you'd considered what one of the messages from the film might be. That keeping things inside and hidden isn't always for the best. Not only does it hurt you; it could even make you ill but it can also lead to relationships being damaged.
- Elsa is told, 'Conceal, don't feel' her powers, and is asked to try to master them. Instead, she becomes increasingly afraid of them, and as such can’t bring them under her control. Keeping those things hidden meant that she could not fully understand her powers and also what good they could be used for. She learned to see them as things that could harm and destroy rather than the one thing that made her different.
- I wonder if you've ever tried to follow this advice: 'Conceal, don't feel'? I'm sure you have, and that it is entirely possible that you have succeeded. Whether it's your temper, or your frustrations, or even your tears, I am sure there are times when you've judged that the best form of action is to bury how you feel. Some people bury things for years and years. For example, I know someone who kept such a deep thing hidden for over three decades. In the end he realized he couldn't keep it hidden anymore, but this wasn't until he had become very, very ill. You see, as we know through Elsa's example, hiding our feelings, especially deep and strong ones, means that we cannot fully be ourselves.
- In the history of medicine, it was once believed that the body was made up of humours. That these humours had an effect on the temperament of a person and how he or she behaved. If your humours were unbalanced, then it stood to reason that there were certain elements of your temper and personality that would be affected. The aim was to get the right balance in the humours and you would be well. Now, thanks to medical science and its advances, we know that we don't have humours, but I think Nicholas Culpepper, the man who did a lot of work on this in the fifteenth century, might have had a point - if your body is unbalanced, if you're keeping something inside that needs to be released. This was one of the reasons why people used to let blood, so that the balance could be restored in the body. In their very rudimentary and simple way, they realized that keeping things inside affected the body and the way that it functioned.
- Shakespeare said, ''Tis the mind that makes the body rich' (Taming of the Shrew), and yes it is, but it can also make the body unwell and poor. In Guys and Dolls, Adelaide sings a song about how she has a perpetual cold because Nathan, her long-term boyfriend, won't marry her; she says she has 'psychosomatic symptoms, difficult to endure'. Basically, she realizes that what is going on in her brain is affecting her health. She needs to let go of it, or ultimately marry Nathan. However, the point from both quotes is that keeping things inside doesn't necessarily work.
- You might know yourself that if you don't cry at the time of an event, then something may well cause you to cry later. You might keep everything inside and then something seemingly innocuous and small will tip you over the edge. It is the 'straw that broke the camel's back'. And so it is with Elsa. She keeps it all inside until she can do so no longer; her internal struggle becomes external as she creates an eternal winter, a monster and an enormous storm.
Time for reflection
What does Elsa have to say to us, apart from 'Let it go'?
I think it's important to be aware of how you feel, to acknowledge your feelings but not to let them make you a prisoner. After all, we can't all go and build enormous ice castles, can we?