To have any discussion at all about Disney characters and their long term meaning we must start with the character who started it all, Mickey Mouse. The character is a cultural icon. He is recognized by people who have never seen a Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is astonishing really. Mickey Mouse has appeared in only one full-length Disney theatrical release. It was ‘Fantasia’ and he got as much screen time as a hippo ballerina. And yet, something about this character has enthralled us for decades.
Unlike many classic cartoon characters, Mickey Mouse doesn’t follow the model of the Trickster. He is not violent. He doesn’t torment his enemies and he doesn’t seek out trouble. He has no weapons and tends to succeed through determination and optimism. He supports his friends, even when they are difficult or challenging and he tries to talk his way out of trouble. Is it any wonder he has had a lasting impact on people?
Mickey Mouse is the epitome of the big-hearted optimist and everything always works out well in the end. We love him, because we want to believe that that is how the world works. We want to believe that goodness and joy will win in the end. We love him because his kindness moves us. He is
Mickey Mouse and there is a little bit of him in each of us.