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[Detail] Krazy Kat goes a-wooing. 1916.

Representation in Animation: Fantasy and Feelings

Animated films are an ideal medium for representing the farthest reaches of the imagination. An illustrator can present whatever he or she sees in the mind's eye without relying on special effects or trick photography. This collection features a number of characters that primarily dwell in the realms of fantasy.

Two centaurs holding hands in a clearing amidst trees.

Lovers horsing around in The Centaurs.

Browse the Subject Index of this collection to examine familiar themes such as courage, dreams, love, and success.Talking animals in Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse and Bobby Bump Starts a Lodge, romancing creatures such as the half-human, half-horse characters of The Centaurs, and the stone-age suitors in The Dinosaur and the Missing Link. . . . all sprang to life from an illustrator's pen. Even when these films don't feature humans, however, they attempt to speak about the human condition.

  • Why do you think that animators often employ animal and fantasy figures within their stories?
  • What does the use of fantastic creatures and settings allow a storyteller to do?
  • What do you think is the underlying tone of the films in this collection?
  • How are an audience's expectations and reactions different when offered a fantastic story instead of a realistic one?
  • What are the advantages of discussing the human condition through fantastic stories?
  • Do you think that animation is as effective a medium for conveying emotion as is live-action film?
  • Do you think that contemporary animated films are different from these early examples? If so, how and why?