Friday, May 14, 2021

Olaf: Frozen's Child

Olaf is childhood personified. A creation of Elsa in her childhood, he rematerializes in her cathartic release in "Let it Go," embodying her interior truth and child inside.  Like childhood, Olaf is immanently ephemeral, in danger of melting away. Great care is taken to preserve him in flurries and permafrost, to hold on to him like a favorite toy from one's own childhood. Kids might identify with him and derive pleasure from his humorous performance of childishness. He revels in the unruliness of childhood, constantly coming apart and rearranging. His comedic turns knowingly disrupt adult, normative logics.

"In Summer," manifests his innocence as ignorance of the world due to his lack of experience. He longs for summer not knowing what it is or what heat does to a snowman. Kristoff wants to tell him the truth, but Anna protests, "don't you dare!" Her desire for Olaf's innocence and its preservation supersedes the revelation of knowledge that would be in Olaf's best interest. Olaf seems to figure it out for himself by the end of the film. In Frozen II, his ignorance is more knowingly performative in "When I am Older."