❄ How Alan's Story Relates to Elsa
During the course of watching the film, I couldn't help but be reminded of Alan as I watched Elsa's struggles. The following are the concepts which kept popping up in my mind:
Gifts Met with Fear instead of Love
Just like Alan's restless energy and inattention was treated like a behavioral curse at first, Elsa's gifts with ice and snow are also feared and controlled rather than celebrated. She is forced to "conceal, don't feel" with the training she receives, which in turn creates a fearful neurosis around her gift. And, as we found out in the classroom, when you try to tamp down an uncontainable gift rather than nurturing it to grow in healthy ways, the gift will indeed become a curse, tainting everything else you try to do.
Parents Adopt Unhealthy Solution
In terms of parental reactions to a child's gifts/difficulties, Alan's mother did not react the same as Elsa's parents do. Alan's mother resisted the idea that her son needed any sort of help or modifications, and thus tied our hands as teachers. Conversely, Elsa's parents blindly accept the course of action prescribed to them, namely, concealing Elsa's gift and keeping her away from Anna. However, neither approach was successful, and neither was healthy for the child in question. Elsa's parents would have done well to seek a second opinion on their daughter's conundrum, but they were probably so panicked they took the first available solution. Alan's mother would have done well to at least consider her son's educators' opinions (backed up by research and training) before wholesale dismissing them.
Traumatized Child Unsuccessfully Tries to Conform
Lastly, Elsa and Alan are comparable in that they both tried very hard to conform to what was expected of them, and became very unhappy doing so. Alan was miserable, and apologized every time he was called down for being out of his seat or talking too much. "I wanna listen, but I gotta move--I'm sorry," was a frequent sentence out of his mouth. Likewise, Elsa does her best to follow her parents' fear-laden guidelines, binding her heart and breaking her sister's in the process--and when the truth does come out, her anxiety and anger bring about what she and her parents had worked so hard to avoid.