Lesson ECP-4

Welcome! Please consider how your attitude affects your and other students experience of the lesson.

Be respectful, come prepared with relevant material and show interest in order to have the best possible educational experience.

Learning outcomes

During the course of this lesson, you will:

  • learn about advanced linking words

  • practice identifying linking words in text

Lesson outline

Part A. Warm-up exercise

Part B. Grammar lecture: linking words

Part C. Reading Postcolonial criticism to Disney's Aladdin.

Exit ticket & homework.

Part A: warm-up exercise

Warm-up exercise: Richard’s game

Time for the activity: ~5 minutes

In groups of three, come up with a short ‘story’ using one of each linking word:

  • and, because and but.

For example:

  • Students such as Feke are really annoying, but Richard is never like that, and Feke will not be in the class anymore.

Part B: Group lecture

ECP-4 Linking words

Part 3: Class discussion

Reading A post-colonial Critique of Disney’s Aladdin

Time for the task: ~15 minutes

Read the text, and then answer the questions:

  • There are five linking words to be found in the text - which?

  • What linking words would you add in order to improve the text?

  • According to the author, what postcolonial ideas are found in Disney's Aladdin and what effects do these have? Do you agree or disagree?

Read A post-colonial Critique of Disney’s Aladdin


Innocuous - harmlös • Shot to fame - att snabbt bli känd

Genie - ande • Embrace - omfamna

• Subconcious - undermedvetet Impressionable - lättpåverkad

Facial structures - ansiktsdrag Associate - förknippa, associera

Dislikable - att inte tycka om Trustworthy - trovärdig

Consistent - konsistent Connotation - bibetydelse

Angular - kantig Inevitably - oundvikligen

Slanted (eye) - lutande Legacy - arv

Compelling - lockande • Pronounced - uttalad, framträdande

A post-colonial Critique of Disney’s Aladdin

Disney movies are a nearly universal part of childhood. Apparently innocuous, American children have grown up with the fairy tales of Snow White and Cinderella, celebrating the love stories of Beauty and the Beast and Pocahantas and wept over the tragedies of Bambi. Many children watch these movies hundred of times, memorizing the dialogue and the songs, and internalizing the tales of good versus evil into their own moral code. Aladdin is one the most famous Disney movies of all; it was released in 1992 and quickly shot to fame and financial success. It is beloved by parents and children for its love story and Robin William’s hilarious and charming Genie. Unfortunately, underneath this shiny surface, Aladdin tells a darker story; its images are not as innocent as they would appear. Aladdin’s drawings embrace stereotypes of Arabs in order to tell their story, and send dangerous subconscious messages to impressionable children.

The way that people look in Aladdin rely on racist patterns; good characters tend to have small features whereas the evil or low class characters tend to have the most obviously “ethnic” facial structures. Jaffar is the most obvious example of how Disney associates the strong Arab facial features and darker skin with the more evil or dislikable character. One scene in which Jaffar and the king were talking highlighted how much bigger and more angular Jaffar’s nose was than the king's; this subconsciously suggests that the more non-European a person looks, the more likely they are to not be trustworthy. Similarly, the sellers in the market tended to be larger, have darker skin, and more pronounced noses and lips. Again, this is consistent with the pattern that non-European physical features have a negative connotation. Aladdin and Jasmine, in contrast, has the lightest skin, the smallest noses and the least angular faces. Despite being from the Middle East, they are drawn to look much more like Europeans and with less ethnic variation. Ultimately, after close examination of the images presented in Aladdin, it is clear that Disney has relied on racially charged images in their telling of this fairy tale.

This racist imagery sends a dangerous message to the millions of children who are raised watching these movies. Although many children may not have the critical thinking skills to notice this pattern, they inevitably internalize the images that they see. When the evil characters are the most likely to have big noses, dark skin, slanted eyes and huge mustaches, kids may begin to project that same stereotype onto real people in the world that they live in. Post-colonial theory argues that the experience of colonialism divided the world into us and them, civilized and uncivilized; post-colonial theorists seek to identify this pattern in literature and to counter the racist historical legacy. Disney movies are guilty of this trend, and its important to notice this patterns in order to begin to move past them.

Our generation has grown up watching Disney movies. Twenty years after first watching Aladdin, I still know the lyrics of nearly all the songs. The triumph of love over evil is compelling and heartwarming. Nonetheless, the racist undertones in the faces of the characters must be discussed. Disney is not responsible for racism, but they also should also take responsibility for the subconscious messages that they are putting out in the world and the way their art impacts the minds of the impressionable children who watch their movies.

Exit ticket

"From the discussion, I learned that .."


Study linking words

Read pages. 118-158 in The Color Purple