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Snow White

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Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.
―The Magic Mirror describing Snow White

Snow White is the titular character and protagonist of Disney's first animated feature-length film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She is a young princess; the "Fairest of Them All", who, in her innocence, cannot see any of the evil in the world. This makes her more vulnerable to her jealous stepmother, the Queen, who wishes to be the fairest in the land; however, Snow White's inherent kindness and purity inspires her friends, the forest animals and the Seven Dwarves, to protect her.

She is the first and youngest official Disney Princess and provided the basis for later heroines such as Cinderella and Aurora.

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Background

Snow White was born into the royal family. Her mother died shortly after her birth. After some time, Snow White's father remarried a vain and cold-hearted queen. Not long after their marriage, the King, Snow White's beloved father, suspiciously died, leaving the young princess as an orphan.

As a young child, Snow White's vain and wicked stepmother the Evil Queen feared that one day Snow White's beauty would surpass her own. So, she dressed Snow White in rags and forced her to work as a scullery maid to try to quench her growing beauty. Each day, the Queen consulted her magic mirror asking, "Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?" As long as the Mirror answered, "You are the fairest one of all," Snow White was safe from her stepmother's cruel jealousy. Snow White may have been a maid but she never complained when she worked and whenever she was sad she would always hum a tune to cheer herself up and her animal friends would visit. The people of the kingdom felt sorry for their princess when the Evil Queen made her a servant, but they could not rebel due to the Queen's power.

Design

The design and characterization of Snow White were influenced by both the heroine of traditional European romantic fairy tales and the popular Hollywood heroine. Early designs showing Snow White with blonde hair suggest Eugene Grasset's depiction of the goddess of spring in Le Printemps as another influence; like Disney's Snow White, Grasset's goddess is closely connected to nature, and, as in one of Grasset's studies for the piece, Snow White entertains animals with music.

Snow White's design was supervised by Grim Natwick, an animator who had previously developed and worked on Betty Boop at the Fleischer Studio. Early designs for the character resemble Betty Boop, and some appear to be caricatures of famous actresses such as Zasu Pits; however, Snow White's appearance, like the Queen's became less and less caricatured. For example, Hamilton Luske's first design for Snow White depicted her as a slightly awkward, gangly teenager. This design could easily have been animated without the use of live-action reference, but Walt Disney had a different idea in his mind; the character ultimately was designed to be older, and more realistic-looking. In order for Snow White to better relate onscreen to the seven dwarfs, however, it was decided that her head being slightly larger than normal. The ink and paint women felt that Snow White's black hair was too unnatural and harsh, so dry brushed wisps of light gray over the top of each cell.

Animation

Marge Bell (who would later become Marge Champion) performed live-action reference for the animation of Snow White, directed by Hamilton Luske. When it was decided that Snow White should have a slightly larger head than normal, Bell was made to wear a football helmet to make her head appear larger. This was stopped after 5 minutes, as Bell found it impossible to perform ande-action reference while wearing the helmet.

Staging

The scene in which Snow White kisses Grumpy, and Grumpy's subsequent reaction, was inspired by a sketch by Albert Hurter, as was the scene in which Snow White, after being poisoned, lies in a bed surrounded by the weeping dwarfs. For the latter, Walt Disney made reference in a story meeting to a then-recent film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, suggesting that light appears to shine from her as the dwarfs and animals mourn around her. In this same story meeting, Dick Creedon suggested that the rain outside the Cottage of the Seven Dwarfs be used to suggest tears, weeping for the princess

Persionality

Snow White is well known for her kindness and optimism — both of which act as her greatest strengths, as they've guided her safely through the various hardships faced throughout her life. She is quick to charm, winning the trust and admiration of the Prince, forest animals, and the seven dwarfs rather quickly, proving her kindness and pleasant aura makes her a beloved figure. Coined as the "Fairest one of All", Snow White's beauty lies both within her physical appearance and pure heart. With no negativity within her, Snow White is the physical embodiment of positivity and innocence.

She can also be playful, and somewhat sassy, as she takes advantage of Grumpy's sour disposition and initial dislike for her by teasing him, and continuously ignoring his rude remarks by keeping a soft smile or cheery glow, as opposed to acting out of shock, much to Grumpy's annoyance.

Though generally childlike and gentle, Snow White can also be assertive, with the authoritative nature of a mother. Once she takes residence in the cottage of the seven dwarfs, Snow White takes control of the household, turning it from an unkempt hovel to a clean and humble environment, something the dwarfs show acceptance and delight over. She furthered her authority by giving the dwarfs a designated bedtime, as well as forcing them to wash in order to eat dinner; though they showed great reluctance and made attempts to avoid the situation, they were ultimately unable to bypass Snow White's firm attitude. In addition, she showed leadership potential when guiding the animals around the house during their cleaning session, successfully instructing them on how to best clean the house and various items inside.

Having been turned a slave in her own home by the Evil Queen at a relatively early age, Snow White is hard-working. In spite of her servant work being forced upon, she was shown efficient with her chores. In the dwarfs' cottage, she didn't hesitate to clean the household upon discovering how filthy it was, never minding the work that had to be put into such a task. She doesn't take her blessings of finding shelter in the dwarfs' cottage for granted, instead making the decision to work for her residence.

Possibly Snow White's greatest flaw is also her greatest strength. Due to her strong sense of kindness and goodwill upon others, the princess can be manipulated to rebel against the orders of others, such as when she invited the old crone (believing her to be a harmless, and sickly peddler woman) into the cottage for health care, disobeying the dwarfs' orders to stay away from strangers. This would result in her downfall. However, as mentioned above, her loving heart is ultimately able to prevail, as her mutual love for the Prince ultimately saves her life. This exemplifies both the dangers and advantages of having a pure heart and making her a more human character.

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Appearances


House of Mouse

As with many other Disney feature animated characters, Snow White made many cameo appearances as one of the guests on House of Mouse. She is usually seen with the Seven Dwarfs. She figured prominently in the episode "Pluto Saves the Day", in which Pete dressed up as her as part of his plan to put the House staff to sleep with some magic sleeping apples that he bought from the Witch. Snow White finds out about his plot, however, and helps Pluto save the day by telling him that he needs to kiss the sleeping staff members in order to wake them up.

In "The Stolen Cartoons", she was shocked to find an apple served as her evening meal. In "Jiminy Cricket", she was indirectly advised by the episode's titular character not to take food from strangers, prompting Grumpy to grumpily snatch the poisoned apple from her hands. In "Where's Minnie?", when the lights briefly go out, Snow White responds to Chernabog's love for the dark by stating sheepishly "I don't..." as the menacing trees from the film look down upon her.

In another episode, she asks Professor von Drake when her prince will come and von Drake tells her that it would be Sunday.

She can also be seen in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, and in Mickey's House of Villains.

Sofia the First

Snow White appears in the series Sofia the First, in the episode "The Enchanted Feast". Here, Snow White briefly tells the story of how a seemingly feeble old woman offering an apple turned out to be her wicked stepmother in disguise, telling Sofia to trust her instincts and that people aren't always who they seem to be; tying into Sofia's suspicious feelings toward a visiting sorceress (who is actually an evil fairy in disguise). At the end of the episode, Snow White briefly appears again in a magic morpho mirror, smiling proudly at Sofia.

She is the second princess to not have a special song for Sofia after Aurora. She is also the second princess to make a double appearance in the same episode; first in the courtyard, and second in a magic morpho mirror. She is also one of the Princesses that has a short visit to Sofia compared to those before her.

Cameos

In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Snow White makes a cameo appearance in which she is seen helping the disguised Queen cross the street in Toontown to the Apple Shop and later with all the other Toons at the end of the film
Snow White made a brief cameo appearance in the Mickey Mouse Works cartoon "Mickey's April Fools".
In The Lion King 1½, Snow White makes a silhouetted cameo at the end with the dwarfs where they join all the other Disney Characters to watch the film again. Her only line is "Oh, excuse me!"

Snow White appears in the animated short Electric Holiday as one of the models in Minnie Mouse's fantasy fashion show.

Snow White was also set to make an appearance in the canceled animated short Princess Academy. In one piece of concept art, her silhouette can be seen dancing alongside Madame Upanova and Megara. In another, she is seen sailing on a boat with other heroines.

Snow White made a brief cameo appearance in the animated series, Mickey Mouse, in the episode "Wish Upon a Coin". She was first seen humming "I'm Wishing", until she's interrupted by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. She was later seen asleep during the ending.

In the first episode of the mini-series Descendants: Wicked World, a portrait of Snow White can be seen in Mal's tent.

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