Dent (1988) has said that Mickey Mouse is 'a well loved symbol of the greatness of America' (p53) who symbolises the best aspects of life from the American viewpoint. In defining this symbolism he refers to the prosperity and the power, both political and economic, of the United States of America and its people throughout the last fifty years. He also mentions the fact that the rise to fame and fortune of a cartoon character, particularly of such a weak figure as a mouse, is a phenomenon unique to American culture. He links this symbolism to the aspects of the way of life in America which offer its citizens the freedom to lead their lives as they please.
Souris (1990) is aware of earlier arguments (Dent 1988) regarding the symbolism of Mickey Mouse and also comments on this aspect of the cartoon character. He says that the power of this symbolism when released globally is 'a form of insidious colonialism that is far more evil than the European colonialism of the past' (p109). It is also much more difficult to overcome because it integrates itself more fully into the society it invades. Souris (1990) says that, when taken outside the American context, Mickey Mouse is not a good role model for children but, in contrast, encourages behaviour which is unacceptable in their own societies. It is also opined that Mickey Mouse encourages consumerism and facilitates the establishment of English as a universal language to the detriment of local languages.
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