Storyboard Signpost

Animals are human, too

A scene from a story in the Arabic version of the Panchatantra  

The animated feature films Planes, E B White's Stuart Little and The Jataka Tales have something in common. Their characters have human qualities – a perfect example of anthropomorphism.

Although a mouthful to say, the word 'Anthropomorphism' has its root in the Greek 'anthropos', meaning human, and 'morph' meaning shape.

Animated feature films have explored anthropomorphism. The prehistoric mammals in Ice Age and the robots in Wall-E show human emotions and concerns.

The first anthropomorphic tales in India, The Panchatantra and The Jataka Tales, featured animals, each possessing a specific recognisable human characteristic. The fox is cunning, the donkey is foolish, and the owl is wise.

By using animals in stories instead of humans, morals can be easily conveyed to children. We all know that a monkey is mischievous and a jackal is cunning, don’t we?

Imagine The Lion King without the vast plains of the Serengeti. Simba could well have been a child. The plot could have remained the same. Yet in its present form the film has visual appeal.

The sweeping African grasslands as the setting and the numerous animal characters have given the story a freshness, making the film a more interesting experience.

Motion picture studios like Pixar and Disney have extended the anthropomorphic principle to inanimate objects such as umbrellas and cars. Looking at the success of these movies, it’s certain that this form of storytelling is sure to stay.


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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 10:36:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/in-school/signpost/animals-are-human-too/article5829743.ece

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