Monday, December 28, 2020

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer As Metaphor

“Rudolf with your nose so bright/Won’t you guide our sleigh tonight” read the lyrics of the famous Christmas ditty--the sound track for the classic “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” with the voice of Burl Ives playing Sam the Snowman. Who would have thought that such a piece Christmas tinsel would contain an allegory for the artistic personality? Rudolf is ostracized because he’s different due to the deformity which his parents at first try to cover up. Once outed, he finds a kindred soul and fellow traveler in the elf who fails to fit the mold, as an assembly line worker. He's an elf who dreams of becoming a dentist. This feckless duo escape to the Island of Misfit Toys. However, even there fail to fit in since they’re living creatures. Then the tale shifts with the weakness becoming a strength. As with the character of Philoctetes from Greek mythology the wound, which has exiled them, becomes the source of the power which eventually vanquishes the fearful Abominable Snowmonster. In specific the elf uses his newly found dental powers to remove the monsters deadly teeth. A simple children’s fairytale employing stop motion animation catches the adult viewer, an innocent child in his or her lap, up short. Rudolf pulling his sled into the sky is nothing if not a symbol of creative transcendence.

Read "Trumpty Dumpty's Great Fall" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

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