What is the meaning of frozen’s “let it go”?

“Let It Go,” the most popular song from Disney’s 2013 animated musical Frozen, has been a smashing success. On YouTube the tuy vậy has reached almost 160,000,000 views, at the 86th Academy Awards it won the award for Best Original Song, và it is the first tuy vậy from a Disney animated musical khổng lồ reach the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 since 1995. But Beyond that, nearly everyone that I know has at least most of the song memorized.

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The song’s prevalence has made it an important aspect of today’s cultural landscape. Consequently, it is also important for examining today’s culture. Indeed, because it is mostly targeted to young people, children & teens, it is also an important puzzle piece for putting together the puzzle that is our culture’s future. As such, we will endeavor to lớn unlock its significance and meaning by examining the song’s setting, nội dung, and context.

Before we can examine the tuy nhiên, we must examine the events within the story which led up lớn it. At the very beginning of the film, we learn that there are two sisters, princesses, who nội dung a deep love sầu for each other. However, everything goes wrong when Elsa, the older sister, accidentally freezes her younger sister Anna’s head while using her magical powers to lớn create an indoor winter wonderland. The princess’ parents rush Anmãng cầu off lớn be healed by some trolls. Unfortunately, all memory of Elsa’s powers must be swept from Anna’s mind in order for her to be healed, so Anna has no memory of what has occurred. After the event, Elsa is kept away from Anna so that she won’t hurt her again, & in the years of separation that follow, a rift grows between them. Unfortunately, before too long, calamity strikes again & the girls’ parents are lost at sea.

When Elsa comes of age, it is time for her coronation. During the course of the festivities, Anmãng cầu falls in love with và is engaged to the impressive sầu Prince Hans. Elsa, however, believes the two are acting too hastily, & won’t allow it. In the ensuing fight, Elsa’s powers are accidentally exposed. She then loses her composure và her ability to control her powers, resulting in a massive snow storm and eternal winter that freezes the entire kingdom.

Having lost all self control, hurting many people and their livelihoods, she storms into the mountains and begins singing “Let It Go” as she builds a castle of ice. The tuy nhiên begins by establishing the setting:

The snow glows Trắng on the mountain tonightNot a footprint khổng lồ be seenA kingdom of isolation,And it looks like I’m the queen.

She follows this by acknowledging her inner turmoil & her failure to lớn control herself:

The wind is howling lượt thích this swirling storm insideCouldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried

Next she sings about what she had previously been telling herself:

Don’t let them in, don’t let them seeBe the good girl you always have sầu to lớn beConceal, don’t feel, don’t let them knowWell, now they know

Somehow, the fact that the people now know about her power completely changes everything, và instead of trying to regain her composure, she decides lớn revel in her inner turmoil:

Let it go, let it goCan’t hold it back anymoreLet it go, let it goTurn away & slam the doorI don’t careWhat they’re going to lớn sayLet the storm rage on,The cold never bothered me anyway

Until this point in the movie, I had been completely sucked in, experiencing, not thinking. However, I was now at attention, waiting to lớn see what could be concluded about the film’s creators’ worldviews. The idea that, for some reason, one slip up meant that all self control should be thrown out hit me hard on a personal cấp độ. It was completely ludicrous, my mind told me, yet I was guilty of living in sin for years because of this idea. I would fight a certain sin for a while, but then when I would slip up, I would just “let it go” and continue in sin for months before being convicted again & fighting khổng lồ regain self control, và then the process would repeat again and again each time that I slipped up.

Knowing how much frustration, self-hatred, shame, và helplessness this idea had caused me, I couldn’t help but project my feelings upon Elsa. From this point onward, Elsa was no longer Elsa. She had become me, the part of myself that I hated.

Anyway, having chosen to lớn throw out all composure because she lost control once, Elsa continues by singing:

It’s funny how some distanceMakes everything seem smallAnd the fears that once controlled meCan’t get to me at all

Ah! Up until this point, Elsa had been controlled by fear. She had been controlled by fear of what other people would think about her powers. Now she has decided to lớn reject that fear. (I don’t care/What they’re going lớn say/Let the storm rage on) Interestingly, she had not been controlling her powers for the health & safety of those around her, as an act of love; instead, she had been concealing them because she was afraid that people would think negatively of her if they knew.

She then sings:

It’s time lớn see what I can doTo demo the limits and break throughNo right, no wrong, no rules for meI’m free

In the context of the movie, she is saying that it is time for her lớn see what she can vì with her powers, to take them khổng lồ the limit, that her powers are neither right nor wrong, và that she is now free to use them. (This eventually results in her almost killing her own sister.) However, removed from the context of the story, the lyrics advocate rebellion against the established norm and moral relativism. Furthermore, when removed from the context of the movie, the song concludes that rebellion and relativism lead to lớn freedom.

I have sầu no problem with these lines when limited by the setting established in the film, but what about when people adopt this tuy nhiên as their personal “anthem,” as a frikết thúc of mine did? And what about all the little girls running around in princess costumes singing at the top of their lungs that there is no right nor wrong, no rules for them? Obviously, they can’t be singing about their magical powers because the don’t have sầu any, so we must ask what norm they are rebelling against, what limits they are going khổng lồ push, và what actions they think are neither right nor wrong.

Unfortunately, we cannot answer such questions. Outside of the context of the story, the lyrics could be applied to anything, which is extremely dangerous. Historically speaking, rejection of established norms, relativism, and finding liberation in these things were key elements of Nazism, as Dr. Modris Eksteins explains in his book Rites of Spring: The Great War & the Birth of the Modern Age. Indeed, anti-establishment attitudes & belief in relativism were also key to lớn the beliefs of Lenin, Trotsky, và Stalin, according lớn Paul Johnson in his book Modern Times: The World From the Twenties lớn the Nineties.

This is not khổng lồ say that the tuy vậy advocates these beliefs. It does not. However, when removed from the confines of the story, the tuy vậy can easily become an anthem in favor of these destructive sầu philosophies, though it was not intended khổng lồ be one.

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Next Elsa sings:

Let it go, let it goI am one with the wind & skyLet it go, let it goYou’ll never see me cryHere I standAnd here I’ll stayLet the storm rage on

Being one with nature, or the life force, is also a theme prevalent in the modernistic philosophies which helped lớn pave the way for both world wars. I find this addition to the lyrics – which already advocate rejection of accepted norms and relativism when taken out of context – lớn make the tuy nhiên almost a caricature of modernism.

Elsa also seems lớn be ashamed of crying. She is perfectly fine with flaunting her powers, & she doesn’t care what people think about them, but she still cares about what they’d think if they saw her crying. She has not removed her fears, she has only focused them on something other than her powers.

My power flurries through the air inlớn the groundMy soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all aroundAnd one thought crystallizes lượt thích an icy blastI’m never going baông xã,The past is in the past

Here she breaks from her history. She says that she won’t go baông xã, even though there is a whole đô thị filled with people whose queen has abandoned và hurt them. They need her khổng lồ kết thúc the eternal winter. They need governance, too. However, she will not go baông chồng, or so she claims, because the past is in the past. The future, on the other hand, is in the future, và she should devote herself khổng lồ it & to making the future better than the past or the present.

Let it go, let it goAnd I’ll rise like the break of dawnLet it go, let it goThat perfect girl is gone

The imagery of empowerment can be found here. Somehow, her break from the past, her throwing off of responsibility, và her refusal lớn live by anything other than by what she feels are seen as empowering. When we look at the lives of people who live this sort of lifestyle, they vì chưng not find empowerment but pain.

Here I standIn the light of dayLet the storm rage on,The cold never bothered me anyway

With that, the tuy nhiên ends. She is no longer concealing her true identity. She is in the light of day, allowing it lớn rage on. As I sat thinking in the theater at the conclusion of the song, I could not help but note that as sinners, our true identity is not something that we embrace or seek. Instead, we seek to lớn be sanctified, to lớn be remade, khổng lồ gain a new identity, through Christ.

We have seen the setting for the tuy nhiên, as well as the song itself, so now we need only to examine the song’s context, how the song fits inkhổng lồ the story as a whole. The overarching story is this:

As a child, Elsa & Anmãng cầu are best friends, then Elsa almost kills Anna, after which the two are separated. Elsa then is queened, Anmãng cầu gets engaged to lớn Hans, Elsa forbids their marriage, the two sisters fight, Elsa reveals her powers and cannot contain them, and finally she goes up the mountain where the tuy nhiên takes place.

After the tuy nhiên, Anna decides khổng lồ bring her sister bachồng so that the eternal winter might kết thúc, but when she finally makes it khổng lồ Elsa’s ice-castle, Elsa still fears hurting her. Anmãng cầu persists in trying to bring Elsa baông xã, Elsa becomes angry, và she ends up freezing Anna’s heart. (Perhaps letting her powers go wasn’t such a wise choice.) This time the trolls cannot heal Anmãng cầu, as only an act of true love can melt the ice around her heart.

Anmãng cầu is rushed baông xã to lớn the city so that Hans can persize an act of true love sầu, but it turns out that the snake was only out get the throne. Hans imprisons Elsa, but she escapes. Hans pursues her, và Anmãng cầu sees that he is about kill her, so she jumps in the way, and freezes when she does so, but she manages to lớn bloông chồng the blow. Elsa is heartbroken, but as she grieves, Anmãng cầu begins to melt because her sacrificial act constituted an act of true love, thus breaking the curse.

In the light of the story as a whole, “Let It Go” happens during Elsa’s downfall, which results in her freezing her sister’s heart & creating a snow quái vật khổng lồ kill Anna & her friends. In fact, Elsa’s fall closely resembles mankind’s fall. We essentially told God, “no rules for me” và ate the fruit. Elsa, too, said, “no rules for me,” and then used her powers very irresponsibly.

“Let It Go” definitely happens at a turning point in the story, but it is a turn for the worse. This is where the problem is created, the solution to lớn which is the theme of the movie. The high point of the plot occurs when Anmãng cầu sacrifices herself for Elsa. The plot’s low point is when Elsa freezes Anna’s heart the second time, which correlates with “Let It Go.”

However, “Let It Go” is the artistic high point of the movie, & there is barely any artistic energy surrounding Anna’s sacrificial love. There is an orgiastic amount of musical energy put into lớn this one tuy nhiên, and it is what we will remember about the movie even after we forget the plot, but there is almost no musical energy put inlớn the scene of redemption.

Our culture adores this song. We find it empowering, và it tells us khổng lồ be authentic, khổng lồ be our true selves, not khổng lồ let anyone or anything else, not even morality, determine who we are. The plotline, however, suggests that this tuy nhiên is not empowering or positive sầu in any way. Instead, it correlates with Elsa’s downfall, the pain she causes herself and her sister, & brokenness. Even so, our culture eats it up, saying, “This is good.” The story, however, disagrees.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think people are buying this tuy vậy because they think that it has a wonderful philosophy. They are buying it because it is artistically excellent, it is catchy, & it is extremely powerful. Still, the philosophy is there, & subconsciously it is extremely easy lớn connect “No right, no wrong, no rules for me/I’m free” with empowerment & freedom. Additionally, we will remember this tuy vậy, even after we forget that it corresponds with a negative turn in the plot & after we forget about the sacrificial love.

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The tuy vậy is great within the confines of the film. It fits perfectly. On the other h&, when I hear little girls running around belting out that they are going to lớn test the limits, that there is no right nor wrong, no rules for them, I have to lớn wonder how they will apply this. Art has the ability to profoundly impact people, & the artistic energy of this film points lớn “Let It Go,” so I have sầu khổng lồ wonder how it will effect the future.