Magoosh English Lesson: The Evolution of Elsa

In part two of our two-part English in Blockbuster Movies: Frozen series, we will discuss how the main character of Frozen and Frozen 2, Elsa, evolved from a villain to the movie’s heroine! So, let’s get ready to learn about the evolution of Elsa!

Goals:

  • Learn how to talk about movie characters
  • Learn new general English and movie-related vocabulary
  • Learn how to use verb + preposition combinations
  • Discover interesting facts about the making of Frozen and Frozen 2

Difficulty Level: Advanced

Time: Approximately 15 minutes

 

Reading Passage

In the race to become the greatest animated franchise ever, there are few contenders that can compete with Frozen. Thanks to stellar soundtracks, superior animation, and excellent writing, Frozen and Frozen 2 became two of the most popular movies of all time. Much of Frozen’s success is also thanks to the unique yet relatable protagonist of the films: Elsa. However, Elsa wasn’t always meant to be the good-natured princess that we’ve come to know and love.

Though you might not believe it, Elsa was originally created as the villain of the movies! During the development stages of Frozen, the animators and producers imagined Elsa as the antagonist. Early storyboards showed her descending the mountain with her army of evil snowmen to storm the castle. Since she was unfairly shunned from society (even in the earliest conceptions of the plot), Elsa wanted to seek revenge against her enemies.

However, as the scriptwriters, animators, and even songwriters continued work on the film, they aimed to make Elsa a more sympathetic character. Given the seclusion she experienced during her childhood, it was difficult to make her a completely evil character. So, by the time post-production had begun, Elsa was already the heroine and star of the film! 

Elsa also evolved over the course of the movies. At the beginning of the first film, Elsa was a free-spirited young girl who had just begun to discover her own unique powers. However, after years of isolation, she became much more closed, secretive, and reclusive. Finally, by the end of the first film, Elsa had rediscovered her true identity, allowing her to be more open and free again.

In Frozen 2, Elsa, Anna, and their friends are all living happily in the castle. Nonetheless, Elsa still feels tormented by unknown forces. In an attempt to find out more about herself and the history of her homeland, Elsa sets out on an adventure into the Enchanted Forest. This journey allows Elsa to discover more secrets about herself and grow as a character!

 

YouTube Links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eEHYbH2lQg&t=27s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AApIR-mxxFc

 

Word Focus

Let’s take a closer look at some of the words in bold from the passage:

  • Contender – (noun) – A competitor.

Some of the contenders for the most popular animated franchise include The Lion King, Frozen, and Toy Story.

  • Soundtrack – (noun) – The music in a movie.

Both Frozen and Frozen 2 produced critically-acclaimed soundtracks.

  • Relatable – (adjective) – Able to be related to; producing understanding or empathy.

Elsa is a very relatable character for many people because she struggles to meet society’s expectations of her.

  • Antagonist – (noun) – The enemy of the protagonist; a person who actively opposes someone.

Elsa was meant to be the antagonist, but she was not an inherently evil character.

  • Storyboard – (noun) – A group of drawings and notes used to represent each shot in a movie or television series.

Artists create the storyboard to show how the movie will eventually look.

  • Storm – (verb) – To attack; to move forward aggressively.

In Frozen 2, Elsa learns that soldiers from her land once stormed the Enchanted Forest.

  • Shun – (verb) – To reject or exclude someone.

In the first movie, the people shun Elsa, forcing her to flee to the mountains. 

  • Plot – (noun) – The story of a book, play, movie, etc.

The plot focuses on Elsa’s journey of self-discovery.

  • Seclusion – (noun) – Isolation; separation from other people.

Elsa’s home in the mountains is a place of extreme seclusion.

  • Heroine – (noun) – A female hero or protagonist.

Elsa and Anna share the spotlight as the heroines of the Frozen movies.

  • Free-spirited – (adjective) – Independent; unconfined by traditions or rules.

Being a free-spirited princess gets Elsa in trouble from time to time.

  • Reclusive – (adjective) – Isolated; the quality of avoiding other people.

Elsa’s powers force her to become reclusive.

  • Tormented – (adjective) – Experiencing great suffering.

Anna was tormented by her inability to connect with Elsa.

  • Enchanted – (adjective) – Magical; possessing charming or magical qualities.

In most fairy tales, the princess lives in an enchanted castle.

 

Grammar Center

Take a look at the following sentences from the passage:

However, as the scriptwriters, animators, and even songwriters continued work on the film, they aimed to make Elsa a more sympathetic character.

Though you might not believe it, Elsa was originally created as the villain of the movies!

Both of these sentences include examples of verb + preposition combinations. There are thousands of verb/preposition combos in the English language, each with their own unique meanings. Though we don’t have time to go over all of them in this lesson, we will take a look at the two verbs (aim and create) above and how they can be combined with other prepositions to express different meanings!

Aim

    • Aim at – To direct one’s effort in a particular direction.
  • He aimed at the target.
    • Aim to – To try to reach a particular goal.
  • She aimed to discover the secrets of her past.
    • Aim for – To direct one’s effort in a particular direction; to try to reach a particular goal.
  • She aimed for the barrel.
  • He will aim for better results next year.

Create

    • Create by – To give credit for a particular result or creation.
  • The storm was created by Elsa’s powers.
    • Create with – To show with whom or with what something is made.
  • The castle was created with ice.
  • She created the story with her sister.
    • Create in – To provide the location or time in which something was made.
  • The idea for Frozen was created in the mid-2000s.
    • Create as – To show the purpose of a particular creation.
  • The castle was created as a way to protect the people.
    • Create to – To show the purpose of a particular creation.
  • Elsa creates snow to fight off her enemies.
    • Create from – To show the origins or fundamental ingredients of a given creation.
  • The movie was created from ideas in older fairy tales like Snow White.

And these are just two verbs! Learning all of the different combinations of verbs and prepositions may seem daunting, but fortunately, some combinations are much more common than others. If you’d like to learn more about verb + preposition combos, check out this helpful guide!

 

Quiz

Now, let’s look at a few questions to review the passage, vocabulary, and grammar:

 

1. Which of the following statements most accurately captures the central idea of the passage?

A. Elsa is a more relatable character than Anna because she struggles to fit in.
B. Elsa changed a lot over time, evolving from a potential villain to the heroine of Frozen and Frozen 2.
C. The filmmakers wanted to change Elsa’s character so that she would be more popular with audiences.
D. There is a huge difference between Elsa’s character in Frozen and Frozen 2.

2. What was Elsa meant to do as the villain?

A. Destroy the Enchanted Forest
B. Go on a journey of self-discovery
C. Attack the castle with an army of snowmen
D. Stay hidden in the mountains

3. Which two words are closely related?

A. Tormented and enchanted
B. Shun and storm
C. Contender and antagonist
D. Seclusion and reclusive

4. Which word is a synonym for tormented?

A. Tortured
B. Angered
C. Lost
D. Enchanted

5. Fill in the blank: Elsa aims ___ protect her sister and her people.

A. At
B. To
C. From
D. For

6. Fill in the blank: Elsa was created ___ a group of writers and animators.

A. To
B. In
C. By
D. For

 

 

Correct Answers:

  1. B
  2. C
  3. D
  4. A
  5. B
  6. C
Jake Pool

Jake Pool

After working in the restaurant industry for over a decade, Jake left to pursue his career as a writer and ESL teacher. He now creates content that informs, inspires, and educates ESL students on a wide range of topics. Jake also records audio for his articles to help students with pronunciation and comprehension.
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