Zootopia (Summary and Analysis)

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In the movie Zootopia, the character Nick Wilde is a sly fox who is a successful con artist. From a young age, Nick was automatically labeled as a vile and untrustworthy scoundel just because he is a fox. This is called labeling theory, which can be defined as “people come to identify and behave in ways that reflect how others label them.”

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Nick Wilde had a dream of joining the local Junior Ranger Scouts because he felt like he would be accepted. He grew up poor but was able to save up enough money to buy a brand new uniform, allowing him to join the unit. Even though he was the only fox there, let alone the only predator, he attended the initiation with confidence and eagerness. Unknowingly, the initiation ended up being a prank and Nick was ridiculed and beaten. The reason he was beaten and ridiculed was only because he was a fox, who are labeled as being the most untrustworthy and deceitful species. From the very beginning, he never stood a chance to be a successful Junior Ranger Scout in the eyes of others.

To better understand labeling theory, it is helpful to understand the concept of self. According to Charles Horton Cooley, the self is made up of three components: 1. The imagination of our appearance to others, 2. The imagination of their judgement of our appearance, 3. Our pride or shame. Basically the way we view ourselves is how we think others view us. In the case of Nick, others viewed him as mischievous and a criminal so he became one without hesitation.

Nick and his sidekick created their own scheming by faking a story and getting free Jumbo-Pops from a local store. Once they got the popsicles, they then turned around and melted them to turn into mini popsicles to sell the businessmen walking by. Nick had been scheming in ways like this ever since he was young. He was taught from a young age that he was in a sense ‘supposed’ to be a criminal because foxes are always mischievous.

Nick was able to make a living off of selling the popsicles, which gave him even more of a reason to commit these crimes. When someone is labeled as something, i.e. a criminal, it becomes easy to justify those actions. Nick didn’t question his actions or look at the consequences because he only viewed himself as a criminal.    

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Zootopia (Summary And Analysis). (2021, May 24). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from
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