Editorial

‘Flowers and Trees’ – An Editorial

October 19, 2018

After Walt Disney created the Alice cartoons, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and Mickey Mouse, he did something that no other studio was doing at the time. He decided to use animation to tell a story that was not focused on one primary character, like Betty Boop or Mickey Mouse, to use a couple examples. These stories became what were known as Silly Symphonies and though often funny, their chief focus was not to tell jokes or make silly gags, but to tell a compelling story with the use of music. This philosophy of animation was innovative at the time and also inspired his animated feature films such as Snow White, Pinocchio and, perhaps most of all, Fantasia. In his Silly Symphonies, Disney proved he could teach a lesson or present a message to his audience that often didn’t exist in his, or other, earlier cartoons.

During these first years of making cartoons, the only way to do them was in black in white. It wasn’t until the Technicolor process became available that doing cartoons in color was even thinkable. When Disney was able to get ahold of this technology, he wanted complete control of it in these first few years. After paying a huge sum of money, he secured the exclusive use of this method for his studio. The first cartoon created with this process was the 1932 Silly Symphony called Flowers and Trees.

The most striking thing about Flowers and Trees is the sense of community within nature that is presented so effectively. The setting is simple: it begins in a forest at dawn and all of the flowers, trees, and mushrooms are waking up. This is, of course, all presented in beautiful Technicolor: bright green bushes and grass, lovely brown mushrooms, and blue birds. The colors pop and and even now, it is visually interesting. As the creatures wake up, the mood set before us is cheerful and merry. As an audience member, we expect it to continue in this happy manner but it takes a turn as we see another member of this community wake up. He another tree, clearly the outcast of the bunch. He is ugly, with harsh branches and a gruff face. However, one of the most noticeable differences between him and the other trees is in the color of his bark. This tree’s bark is darker and the only one in the cartoon who has this shade is him. It is hard to ignore the parallels between this and the rejection of people with darker skin in our culture.

Though this tree is not the only depiction of racism in the cartoon (the dancing daisies, anyone?), I find it to be the most compelling. This particular tree is all alone, in contrast with the trees we see at the opening of the cartoon. Those trees are not alone, but rather are living with other trees that we can assume are friends or family. This lone tree with the unpleasant face has gotten used to be isolated from the other trees and so all he has are bats and a snake who lives in his trunk. We can see that this rejection is at least partially due to the way he looks. As a bird attempts to wake him up, this bird is only met with anger from the tree. His isolation and rejection continues as he tries to pursue a lady tree, and gets rejected. She, of course, has her eyes on the handsome tree, one of the ones who lives in community with the others.  Clearly, he is more popular and embodies the stereotypical male ideal of a tree, if there is such a thing. This makes the other tree angry which leads to a fight between him and the lead tree. This fight would not be interesting if not for what happens next. The evil tree decides to use fire to fight the rest of the forest. Fire, which as we know, kills trees. All trees, whether light or brown bark. Though this was before mass shootings were as common as they are today, looking at this cartoon with a contemporary viewpoint, we can see the tree taking a dramatic response to his rejection.

She just wants 300-209 dumps to sleep. The plane lasted two hours later, 300-209 dumps waiting for the luggage time dragged too long. The airport shuttle bus also missed the moment, the bus as early as an hour ago already drove 300-075 PDF away. So, they have to wait for a taxi now. She stood in the waiting line, slim body due to the weight of the laptop tilted to one side. John talked about interest rates and new ideas for adjusting business partners, but she 70-532 Exam only Exampdfview thought of one thing it is Friday night at ten thirty, I want to Exampdfview wear pajamas, 70-532 Exam the United 300-209 dumps States and the United States to sleep. A yellow taxi endless 70-532 Exam stream passing her eyes. These 70-532 Exam cars are similar in color and shape, reminding her 300-075 PDF of insects. She remembered her when he was a child in the mountains. When she and her brother spotted a broken badger or kicked a red ant Examdumpsview nest, she saw a 300-075 PDF large group of limbs and hands and 300-075 PDF feet wet wriggling on Examdumpsview the ground. This chilling feeling Examdumpsview made her shiver. A taxi speeding over, with a sharp brake sound abrupt halt. Tami Joan Kefas dragged forward. Driver press the Exampdfview trunk lock, but people did not move in the 300-075 PDF car. John was upset that they had to get their luggage on board. He is used to having others help him with these things. Tami Joan does 300-075 PDF not matter. Until now, she occasionally will be surprised, I actually have a secretary, help her typing and file management. She threw the suitcase onto the car, closed the trunk lid, and got into the car. John followed suit. He shut the 70-532 Exam door heavily, wiping his fat cheeks and his bare forehead as hard as he had done with his luggage. First to East 72nd Street. John murmured to the driver through the bulkhead. Then go to Upper West Side, Tami Joan added. Block the plexiglass partition between the front and rear seats 300-209 dumps covered with scratches, she could hardly see the driver. Taxi arrows rushed off the Exampdfview road and quickly ran up the highway to Manhattan. Look, John said. Thats why people are everywhere today. He pointed Examdumpsview to a billboard that Exampdfview read Welcome to the United Nations Peace Conference.

She was thinking Only the last two hours of patrolling in the street were available, and I could survive. Shakes 300-075 PDF continued. The first time she felt uneasy this morning as she walked into a bush. Someone is watching me. The 300-209 dumps hot wind blew through the dry bushes and made the rustling sound. Exampdfview A car truck ran full steam 300-075 PDF ahead of the Lincoln Tunnel. She remembered one thing 300-209 dumps the patrolmen would often think of the city was so noisy that I could not detect if someone came back to me behind me and walked to lift 300-075 PDF me up with a knife. Or take my back as a target 70-532 Exam She turned quickly. Nothing except leaves, rusty machines and rubbish. When 70-532 Exam climbing a pile of Exampdfview stones, the knee pain so she could not help 300-209 dumps but shrink body. Emily Shakes, 31, is afflicted with joint inflammation – her mother often 300-209 dumps says youre 31 It is inherited from her grandfather, Examdumpsview just as she inherited her mothers 300-075 PDF good figure, her fathers good looks and occupation as long as the red hair no one can say it. She slowly passed Exampdfview through a cluster of dead shrubs, a sharp pain Exampdfview 70-532 Exam on her knees. Thanks to her prompt closing, she did not drop a steep 30-foot deep slope. Below her was a gloomy gorge 300-075 PDF that cut deeply through the bottom Examdumpsview of the West End. The railroad Examdumpsview tracks of the U.S. Railroad 300-075 PDF Passenger Transport Company run through the canyon and the train Examdumpsview goes to the north. She narrowed her eyes and looked to the bottom of the canyon not far from the tracks. what is that Is inserted in a circle of soil has been turned over the twigs It looks like Europe, my god The sight of her made her shiver. Nausea suddenly rose, burning like a flame burning her 70-532 Exam skin. For a moment she really wanted to Examdumpsview turn around and escape, pretended nothing was seen. But she tried hard to suppress the idea in my heart. He hopes the 70-532 Exam victim is dead. This is the best. She runs to an iron staircase that leads from the sidewalk to the Examdumpsview canyon. She stopped in time as she grabbed the Exampdfview balustrade of the iron staircase. bad The 300-209 dumps murderer has escaped in all likelihood, and is likely to have left the ladder. If she touches the railings, she may undermine the mark he 300-075 PDF left behind when he ran away. Okay, then well Examdumpsview waste something. 70-532 Exam She took a deep breath and held back the pain of the knee joint. She inserted the deliberately polished bright boot into the crevice of the stone on the first day of her new job and 300-209 dumps began to climb down 300-209 dumps the rock wall. She was still four Examdumpsview feet off the ground and jumped straight to the place where 300-075 PDF it was buried. My God It is not a branch that extends from Exampdfview under the ground it is a mans hand. The body of this man was buried vertically in the earth, leaving 300-209 dumps only the arm, wrist and palm 300-075 PDF left outside. She stared at the ring finger of the hand all the muscles had been cut off, the red of the bones of the fingers, set with a huge female diamond ring. Shakes knelt on the ground, began digging down. The soil fluttered under 70-532 Exam her hands as a 300-209 dumps dog. She 70-532 Exam found that those fingers that had not been cut were wide open, pointing in the direction that their fingers would not Exampdfview normally bend. This shows that the victim was still alive when the last shovel of mud buried 300-209 dumps his face. Maybe its still alive now. Shakes desperately dug soft soil, her hands were shattered by pieces Examdumpsview of glass, dark red blood and dark red soil mixed together. This persons hair is exposed, followed by a bluish, gray forehead due to lack of oxygen. She continued digging until she saw the dull eyes and mouth of the man. The mans mouth twisted into horrible curvature, indicating that in the last few Examdumpsview Exampdfview seconds of life the victim struggled Examdumpsview to keep his mouth through the rising 70-532 Exam black soil. This is not a woman. Despite the finger on the set of a diamond ring. He was a big man in his fifties and was as angry as the soil surrounding him. She took a few steps back, 300-209 dumps her gaze never leaving that person, Exampdfview 300-209 dumps Exampdfview 70-532 Exam almost tripped over by the tracks behind her. For a while, her mind was empty and could not think of anything, only Exampdfview knowing that a man was buried to die like this. Then Examdumpsview she reminded herself Be strong, baby. 70-532 Exam In front of 300-075 PDF you is the scene of a homicide together, and you are the first police officer present. You know what to do ADAPT, adapt. A is the current arrest of Arrest. D is a major eyewitness and suspect to Detain. A is Assess murder scene. P is P what is it She bowed her head towards the walkie-talkie Patrolman 5885 calls headquarters.

My philosophy is from all of this built up anger he suffers from his constant rejection and marginalization, he decides to destroy a whole community with the potential of harming himself, which is exactly what happens. This is where the theme of community becomes so prominent. Rather than letting this action break the community apart, every member becomes a part of stopping the tree. The flowers act as bells to warn everybody, the birds make sounds, other flowers act as hoses to try and put the fire out. At this point, it is not just good tree vs. bad tree but bad tree vs. community. Here, the artists have personified the fire excellently as little people. Rather than one big fire, there are many little fires running around on two legs. This is an example of taking something that is not living like fire, and making it a character, which increases the tension throughout the community. When the birds allow the water to fall from the clouds, they are not simply putting out a fire, but they are destroying this little life form which makes it much more personal. Ultimately, the bad tree is killed by the very thing he released. What started out as a friendly cartoon about nature became a very real fight with some important themes such as discrimination, murder, and community.

When this cartoon was released, it received an Academy Award for best short subject. Of course, upon its release, I am not sure it was looked at and examined in the way that I have; people were just entertained by it. However, it is to this cartoon’s credit that 86 years later, it can be looked at in depth with something new brought to it. Because of this, I believe it is an extremely well made cartoon, not only from a technical standpoint, but also from the perspective of story.

Bibliography:

Merritt, Russell, and J. B. Kaufman. Walt Disneys Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series. Udine: La Cineteca Del Friuli – Le Giornate Del Cinema Muto, 2008.

Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies. Walt Disney Home Video, 2001. DVD

Advertisements

Leave a Reply