Class Distinctions

Lady and the Tramp, 1955

There are multiple social commentaries observable in Lady and the Tramp. First is the struggle between the proletariat and bourgeois. Tramp represents the working class of society while Lady is the upper class.

Lady-and-the-Tramp-disneys-lady-and-the-tramp-9960500-720-480 When Lady runs away from her house she meets Tramp, a street smart stray dog who shows her the ropes. Tramp shows Lady that the street life is liberating and tries to convince Lady that it’s better than domestic life, confined to houses, rules, and leashes. But Tramp going around the street getting free food from restaurants represents careless beggars who receive free handouts while avoiding work and responsibility.alg-lady-tramp-jpg

The movie also ends with Tramp settling down with Lady and starting a family in Lady’s house. This ending shows that domestic, suburban life is preferable to living in the streets, hence preferring the lifestyle of the upper class.LADY_TRAMP_INTRO

There are also negative portrayals of foreigners and immigrants. When Lady is in the pound, she meets several other dogs, which include a Mexican Chihuahua, German dachshund (Nazi), a Cockney bulldog (working class), and a Russian wolfhound.Poundogsss

The fact that these kind of dogs are found in the pound alludes to the irresponsibility of the poor urban immigrants. During the scene, these dogs are not taken as they are (dogs), but are portrayed by stereotypical personalities of their “breed”.

This is again seen in the representation of the Siamese cats, who are animated with almost every possible Oriental stereotypes.siamese-cats-lady-and-the-tramp-racist-2

Their introduction is given by Oriental song and dance, and embody treacherous, sinister, and sneaky characteristics. Their eyes are also drawn slanted to accommodate the Orientalism of these cats. The United States has been suspicious of Asian immigrants for a long time. It can be seen through the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, anti-Japanese propaganda during World War II, and fighting in the Korean War and Vietnam War. The dropping of the bombs in Japan placed the US in a state of nervous guilt, which can be seen in this film.disney-siamese-cats

It is also these cats that ruin the happy life of Lady, who represents the general American. The general sentiment was that the comfortable lives of Americans were being endangered by foreigners.