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The Image & Cultural Representation of Special Education Needs in The Film "Finding Nemo" by Pixar Animation Studios

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The purpose of this paper is to analyze the image and cultural representation of special education needs through the description of media. Ellis (2018), has mentioned that nowadays, it is common that children have some disability and they need to have some special needs. People always stereotype those who have disability or impairment, which cause discrimination. Now I would like to talk about a movie which the characters have some disability.

The movie I selected is Finding Nemo, it is produced by Pixar Animation Studios. This movie which is about Nemo, a young clownfish who is fed up with his dad Marlin’s excessive paranoia over him. He swims to a place where his dad prohibits him, and Nemo is netted up by a boat. He is then placed in a fish tank in a dental clinic somewhere along the harbors of Sydney. Thus, the quest of Marlin, along with his new friend Dory to find Nemo before it’s too late. In the next two paragraphs, which will describe how and why the person with disability sees themselves. Also, why the people around see the person with disability. Paragraph four, talk about parent perspectives towards person with special needs. In this paragraph, I’m going to talk about how and why the person with disability sees themselves.

The main character Nemo which is physically disabled from birth. He is six years old and has an undersized fin. At the beginning of the film, he went to school for the first time. In general, although his father is over-protecting him, and he has a physical disability, Nemo is still a normal child. He is excited about the school, he wants to go on an expedition and he wants to make new friends. From the beginning, the film doesn’t treat his fins as a bad thing. Nemo also treated himself as no different between others. The second character Dory which is mentally disabled from birth. Dory has short-term memory loss, so she always forgot about the things. Although her short-term memory loss was a tragic and painful thing, Dory is still optimistic and courageous. This may be partly because she doesn’t remember many of the horrible things she sees, and she can’t remember anything except her name. This is not because she lacks intelligence. Dory can read, may say, but it is unclear. The last main character is Nemo’s father Marlin which has mentally disabled due to Trauma.

At the beginning of the film, Marlin’s wife and all his egg dies except Nemo. After this accident, he became over-protective and afraid to leave the anemone. In fact, he is basically afraid of everything.In this paragraph, I’m going to talk about how and why people around see the person with disability. Nemo which is physically disabled from birth. He has an undersized fin. When Nemo met his companion for the first time, they expressed interest in his fins. Nemo tries to explain to them about his fins, it is a ‘Lucky’ fins, his peers finally realize there are difference between them. Some in the movie mentioned that Nemo might not be able to swim like other fish, especially by his father.

As we can see, Nemo’s peers and father do not give enough support and trust to him. Maybe some people have some stereotype on Nemo. Speaking of Dory, she has short-term memory loss, because of this disability, Nemo’s father Marlin bored her in the middle section. In the movie, it is mentioned that Marlin think Dory can’t help anything and made a lot of trouble, so he tries to get away from Dory. Although Dory is optimistic, she still upset sometimes. Others can easily know Dory have disability because she always forgot the things except her name.Nemo’s father always think that Nemo is different with others because of Nemo’s fins. There may be potential over-protection for his son. Marlin suffocated Nemo, quarantined him near home, tried to speak for him, and feared the censure of others. It’s doesn’t take much to realize that Nemo have disability which cause some inconvenience, but Nemo pretend nothing special. His attitude is very positive, which is opposite with his dad. In the movie, we can see that Nemo’s father is very protect him. Without doubt, all the family will protect and take care of their children who are with special needs.

To conclude, there are some general belief in media pass on stereotype towards person with disability to public. Nittle (2018) shows that stereotype which means a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a person or thing. According to the World Health Organization, disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. Media bring out a lot of information to us, but not all of it is true and fair. For example, media always mention that people with disabilities are different from fully human people, and people with disabilities are a menace to others, to themselves and to society.

As we all know, everyone has their own thought. So that, maybe some people with disability do not think they need special needs or they have problem. Also, maybe some people are optimistic, they have confidence to face their disability. As the saying goes, ‘Spectators tend to see the situation more clearly than those who are involved’. Parent’s attitude will affect their children thought. If the parent is positive and support their child, the child will be positive too. Otherwise, the child will be negative and easily to suffer metal problem After watching this movie, I learnt a lot from the characters. Each character is facing with their own difficulties, they all use the positive way to solves problems. So that, I want to be with them.

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The Image & Cultural Representation of Special Education Needs in the Film “Finding Nemo” by Pixar Animation Studios. (2019, November 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from
“The Image & Cultural Representation of Special Education Needs in the Film “Finding Nemo” by Pixar Animation Studios.” GradesFixer, 26 Nov. 2019,
The Image & Cultural Representation of Special Education Needs in the Film “Finding Nemo” by Pixar Animation Studios. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 7 Oct. 2022].
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