How Relate-able Can A Children’s Movie Really Be?

Many difficult adjustments occur after becoming widowed, when looking at how fathers adjust to the loss of their wives there are varying angles that can be discussed.

In a study done by the “Family Coordinator” forty divorced or widowed fathers are questioned and examined regarding how they coped with and adjusted to life as a single father.

The study looked at :

(a) “the conflicts fathers faced in adjusting to their roles as single parents”

(b) “the effect of death or divorce of a spouse on the adjust-ment of the father”

(c) “the effect of societal attitude toward death or divorce in relation to the adjustment of the father” (“Family Coordinator Role Adjustment of Single Parent Fathers with Dependent Children”)

 A comparison of the study and the film, proves Hotel Transylvania isn’t just relevant, it would’ve been relevant  forty years ago and will most likely remain so 40 years from now. So one can ask, just how much has changed?

When one delves deeper into how being a single father was handled in the 1970’s versus today, we see many similarities and differences. Surprisingly enough there are more similarities than differences. Single fathers today are portrayed in the media as going through the same struggles fathers nearly forty years ago did, even the way they are being depicted has remained somewhat similar. While you wouldn’t have seen a cartoon movie about a vampire dad in the 1970’s, Dark Shadows did use comedy to explain family issues. The 1960’s television series The Addam’s Family and The Munsters also used a spooky type of comedy to balance the views expressed on more conventional television shows.

Something that has not changed is how widowed fathers tend to get help from friends or neighbors after their wife’s passing. Both Hotel Transylvania and the “Role Adjustment” study focus heavily on fathers getting help from extended family or the creation of pseudo families to cope with their newly found struggles.  In the study it was not uncommon for the fathers to have received help from other family members after their wives’ passing. This theme is also of great importance in Hotel Transylvania. The entire hotel seems to band together to care for Mavis ensuring her safety and well-being. This relationship is two fold, Dracula also cares deeply for his friends and guests and spends time with the Wolfman’s pups to keep them from too much trouble.

Innovation is also something fathers (or any single parent) tend to be great at. Fathers from the study began switching their clothing choices to an “iron free/ wash n’ wear” (Family Coordinator) variety to compensate for areas where they had little knowledge. In the Hotel Transylvania we see Dracula spending time with young Mavis as he learns how to care for her on his own. He even uses his own innovations to change diapers, and surrounds her with pillows when teaching her to fly.

A forty-year gap in time is sure to create some changes in ideals, The film and the 1970’s “Role Adjustment” study portrayed differences in only one area. The 1970 study group seemed to feel that they would have very little time for themselves or have time for friends, (even if their child accompanied them). Whereas the more modern portrayal of the single father didn’t express these feelings at all. In the movie, Hotel Transylvania we see multiple occurrences where Dracula is spending time with his “old haunting buddies” Mavis is just a part of that now. It seems that “doing the dad thing” may be more accepted socially in today’s world than it was years ago. The idea that a man’s masculinity could be compromised for doing womanly duties doesn’t seem to exist anymore, or it has at least diminished greatly.  The modern portrayal elaborates on how another of Dracula’s friends (a werewolf) has children. While his children are much younger than Mavis the werewolf family characters show the audience how different it is raising a single child compared with multiple children, both for the parent/parents and the offspring.