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Sally: More a woman and human than Bella

My first post here to the community shall be one of my most favourite female characters ever. A character that is everything Bella is NOT. Warning, a small case of picspam, and also VERY long. I can't help it, I love her.

I present to you:
Sally, the lovely rag doll from The Nightmare Before Christmas

This poor gal gets a lot of hatred from some fans. Granted, these are often the case of Suethors who are Jack fangirls and hate her for "stealing" Jack away from them. Regardless, she is a pretty underrated FC, in my opinion.

But one of the things that gets to me is that people don't like her because of how feminine and domestic she is, and also that she is an alleged "stalker". TV Tropes claims this, and you can see my post about it RIGHT HERE

Now, we're not just here to talk about that. I'm going to talk about why Sally is awesome. Especially when compared to Bella.

Sally has an idea! :D

Sally is the female lead of the movie, the other main character. She is also of course, our main protagonist's love interest. This is slightly inverted, considering that we know Sally loves Jack, but Jack doesn't realize his feelings until later on.

Then again, some WMG on TV Tropes have made the speculation that Jack might have actually had feelings for Sally all along, but might have thought she didn't feel the same way or was spoken for. That last bit was apparent at the end, but we'll talk about it later.

We don't know TOO much about her, and yet we know enough. What is told to us, is through symbolism, her actions, and on occasion, her dialogue.

She comes off to be a bit of a woobie in some cases. Especially later on during her song. We can see, without long-winded exposition or anything like that, is that Sally is isolated in her own home. Dr. Finkelstein, her creator, keeps her under lock and key. Not our of cruelty or because he hates her, but out of misguided ways to protect her from the outside world. He's practically the overprotective, misguided father figure to her, in a sense.

So because of this, Sally is restless, lonely, and has no outlet for how free-spirited she really is. We know all of this through one line.

Dr. Finkelstein: You're MINE you know! I made you, with my own hands!
Sally: You can make other creations. I'm restless! I can't help it.

When you think about it, you can understand why she feels that way, and why she's sneaky. Her behaviour toward Dr. FInkelstein in how she drugs his tea or food with Deadly Nightshade (Which puts him to sleep) is NOT intrinsic. It's circumstantial. She's just out of options, and sick of the isolation, she actually has to resort to being sneaky.

Bella Swan...was just a bitch. Charlie was nothing but a good father to her all along, and yet she treats him like dirt. For no reason.

At least Sally was still kind to the Doctor, even if she can get sassy at times. That's of course because she does have a fair share of spunk!

Now, let's get on to the topic of Sally being in love with Jack like she is. Because unlike Bella, she does love him. More than just for his looks. Which are never even mentioned.

What makes it nice, is that Sally never actually says she loves him. Aside from one line in her song, it's actually just something we know from her actions, facial expressions, and some of her dialogue. But nothing is direct. She never actually says "I love him" or even "I love you". We just know how she feels throughout the film, and it's no less genuine than it ever could be. This method worked pretty well because although we knew full well, we could still appreciate the simplicity of it. And really, it works for a movie that's very bent on visual symbolism.

To begin with, as it is pretty much strongly hinted throughout the movie, Sally also knows Jack fairly well. They really do come off to be good friends. Being on first-name basis with no problem with one another is only scratching the surface. So this does give her a little help, because it is a good thing to be friends with the one you love. Being in love has a lot to do with friendship, as well, so it definitely works here.

Sally also acts like a caring friend, no less. When she tries to warn Jack about her premonition and that his Christmas plans WILL end up in disaster, she does so in a way that a worried, caring friend would. She does it WITHOUT being a complete bitch about it. She doesn't make him feel bad, she doesn't get physically abusive, nothing like that. While Sally IS shy and has a hard time speaking up, she still manages to try to tell him, being direct and honest, and without surgarcoating anything. Yet, she still handles it with tact and understanding, telling him so in a worried manner because she cares about him.

On top of that, do you see what she's doing? Jack loves Christmas, he wants to go through with it. And Sally intimately knows he's been unhappy with things lately. She KNOWS this is making him happy. Everyone in town is going along with it, because Jack's word is law, and also because he's an awesome ruler, so naturally, they're eager to follow because they adore him very much.

Sally, however, doesn't fall into that. Even during the Town Meeting Song, she is at first awed by the Christmas display. But as it goes along, the next time we see her, she 's frowning slightly. Not out of any dislike toward anything, but because she's apprehensive and very uncertain about everything, she isn't sure what to make of it.

What she does, instead, is go against what everyone else is saying, and tells Jack right out that this will be a disaster. She actually does this, DESPITE that she loves him and everyone else is excited about this. Now this is a good example of an FC. Rather than standing by and keeping quiet like a Stepford Smiler, Sally actually steps up about her premonition, out of worry.

Shifting over to Jack for a second, unlike Edward, he never treats Sally badly. EVER. Why he brushes her off here, is because he's too excited to listen, and also eventually misunderstands her. It has nothing to do with her being a woman, or being a silly little thing who doesn't know what's best.

Here is their dialogue during this scene:

Jack: Sally! I need your help more than anyone's.
Sally: You certainly do, Jack. I had the most terrible vision!
Jack: That's splendid!
Sally: No! It was about your Christmas. There was smoke, and fire!
Jack: That's not my Christmas! My Christmas is filled with laughter, and joy! And, this! *Shows her the traced drawing of him in a Santa Claus suit* My Sandy Claws outfit! I want you to make it!
Sally: Jack, please listen to me, it's going to be a disaster!
Jack: How could it be? Just follow the pattern! This part's red, the trim is white.
Sally: It's a mistake, Jack!
Jack: Now don't be modest! Who else is clever enough to make my Sandy Claws outfit?
Mayor: Next!
Jack: *Gently ushering Sally away* I have every confidence in you!
Sally: *To herself* But it seems wrong to me. Very wrong...

Now did you see that? Maybe Sally did get a bit impatient, but you could understand why she was. Even so, she still managed to try to get her point across. Sadly, Jack both misunderstood her and was too excited to fully understand what she was trying to say. Even though he did, he still didn't treat her like her opinion didn't matter. In fact, he even complimented her, and also expressed his confidence in her abilities. Isn't that sweet?!

Moving along, now...here is a crucial part of the movie.

During the scene of Jack's Lament, Sally was in the graveyard at the time, and heard the entire thing. The way she reacts, is the reaction of any caring woman worried for the man she loves. She says this ENTIRE feeling with this one simple line.

Sally: Jack...I know how you feel.

This simple line spoke volumes. Not just about her character, but also her feelings. Sally has now witnessed Jack during a very vulnerable moment of his. But rather than laughing at him, blackmailing him, or making him feel bad in any way, she actually understands how he feels.  Not only because she too wants the same thing (which is something more out of life), but because knows he's a person and has problems just like anyone else.

She is compassionate and understanding for someone besides herself. She doesn't just love him because he's the Pumpkin King, or because he's the handsomest eligible bachelor in town. She truly loves him.

There's a lot more I can say, but I think we all know by now that her love is genuine, and has nothing to do with anything else aside from the fact that Jack is who he is as a person.

Hey, as well as risking her life for him at one point, she also does something sweet!

She gives him a basket of goodies, just to show she cares and to give him something nice. For no reason other than that! Just because she wanted to. Awww...

Plus, I love that scene in the movie. It's their first exchange, sort of, and there is no dialogue. But their facial expressions say everything. Jack especially looks really happy to see her, and he also grins in delight at the smokey butterfly trick she put in the wine bottle.

Moving along...

Let's talk about her song. Arguably the best song in the movie, being a favourite of Tim Burton himself, is Sally's Song. She finally gets her own song, and it's every level of sweet, just as she is.

In the short little song, she sings about so many things. About how she senses disaster coming, how worried she is about Jack, how she wants to stand by him but can't shake off the feeling of disaster, how she wants to join the crowd and enjoy things with them, and most especially, unrequited love.

She loves Jack, she wants to get together with him. That's perfectly understandable. She is of course, afraid of rejection, and throughout the movie, she is shy and afraid of expressing her feelings. Why? Because she's of rejection. That's perfectly understandable, and relatable! She's even convinced by then that she's not the one for him.

It hurts her, you can see she's sad about that.

But it doesn't stop her. She still wants to help him. She doesn't just give up.

Because when she hears that he's in trouble, what does she do? She does something. She wants to help him so he'll be safe and come back with no trouble. Not just for herself, but for everyone. And this was AFTER her song. After she was convinced she maybe wasn't meant for him.

So, think about that. What did Bella do when she could see Edward no longer loved her? Nothing at all. Nothing but wangsting and becoming catatonic.

Sally however, still hung in there, and still wanted to help him. Because she cared about him and about his life more than she was saddened of unrequited love.

So again, Sally is a domestic and feminine character. She cooks, she cleans, and she can sew. But the sewing thing is actually more about the fact that she's a rag doll, she needs to be able to repair herself, because her clothes and her body are held by stitches. She wears a dress, a patchwork dress of all kinds of fabrics varying in sizes and colours. This is some kind of symbolism of how unique she is.

But that doesn't make her who she is. She was, yes, created to do all of that, but she likes doing them, she's good at it. She would just appreciate it more if she did all that for someone she cared about and who would appreciate her efforts.

Sally is also a great character. She's sweet, kind, generous, honest, compassionate, resourceful, clever, and yes, she does have one big flaw, she's very shy and oftentimes has a hard time speaking up. But she isn't a complete shrinking violet, either. She's still a strong, free-spirted, outgoing and logical woman.

In a sense, too, she's a bit refreshing. Someone who's actually kind, sweet and friendly, but also isn't bland and isn't just there to be the love interest. She actually DOES things, and we get to spend some time with her, we see a lot about her in so many simple ways. And again, she's very relatable, and I can relate to her on a lot of levels.

Sally proves that you can be feminine, domestic, kind and sweet, but still also a great character and who does things. As well as that, truly and genuinely loves a man, despite his status.

One last thing. Sally is arguably the most beautiful woman in town, especially by Halloween standards. And I just love her design, especially of the autumn leaves that fall from her severed limbs, since she is stuffed with those leaves. It's definitely one of the most beautiful and original ideas. But despite how she looks, it's NEVER brought up. She never flaunts it, and no one brings it up. She just...IS! That's just how she was created, and it's amazing that it's never any kind of focus.

So that's that.

Fun fact. Sally may not be an official "Disney Princess", but she is KIND of a Princess. She gets together with a KING at the end! Even though they don't get married (neither did Belle and Adam!). But, her name is derivative of the name Sarah. That names "Princess". So, that's her name! Sally means "Princess". Awwww.

Sally the rag doll. More of a woman and more human than Bella ever was.

"Oops! :D"


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
He's practically the overprotective, misguided father figure to her, in a sense.
Um, no, he's a controlling dickweed who treats Sally like a possession. There's a difference between being overprotective and overzealous, like King Triton, and being an asshole who locks a woman in a tower when she disobeys him. One of the reasons she gets so attached to Jack is because he's the only person in town, aside from the Doctor and Oogie Boogie, who pays attention to her at all. Everyone else kind of pretends she doesn't exist. Does she complain? Of course not. She just keeps right on truckin'. She actively helps all these people that are ignoring her and perpetuating her abuse at the hands of a mad scientist. She's unquestionably and unrepentantly kind, but not a pushover.

I also feel the need to mention that Halloween Town operates on seriously Blue and Orange Morality. We can praise them for their goodness all we like, but I don't think we can really fault them for their badness. They don't understand concepts like stalking or abuse. They have a vastly alien culture, and no one, not even Sally (who treats it like a game), seems to see Finkelstein's actions as horrible or wrong or even noteworthy, so I guess I can't really comment on them.

Edited at 2012-04-18 04:21 am (UTC)
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:36 am (UTC)
I know you disagree, and that's okay, but that's my opinion.

Still, the Blue and Orange Morality theory DOES make sense when it comes to it all. And plus, their badness manifests in good-natured tricks and scaring techniques, and when it comes to deeper things like abuse, that too.

However, it's not like anyone KNOWS about the abuse, either. So we can't exactly say everyone ignores her abuse. If anything, people would likely think she just simply didn't get out much. If at all.

But I digress.

Pretending she doesn't exist? Erm, I know what you're saying by that, but that almost makes it sound like they purposely ignore her. At least to me. I wouldn't say they pretend she doesn't exist, they just don't really acknowledge her. She's there, okay, moving on. And besides, she's shy. I hardly think it's easy for her to go up to someone and say, "Hey, how you doing?" considering how she's alone and isolated all the time.

But yes, it is true that Jack seems to be the only person who actually pays attention to her and is nice to her. I don't blame her for feeling that way, I think anyone would appreciate someone taking a moment to notice them.

On another hand too, Sally DOES express displeasure for her isolation and how she's treated. She says she's restless, can't help herself, and also then says, in response to him telling her to be patient, she says, "But I don't want to BE patient!", and she sounds upset.

Then when he locks her in her bedroom later on, she's sitting there slumped on her bed, clearly discouraged.

But, she does indeed keep on trucking, as you said, and also treats it like a game. Something to overcome and escape from.

.....XD I hope what I said made sense.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )