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Headscratchers / An American Tail

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  • I get that humans can't understand the talking animals, but do they not notice that they wear clothes?
    • They probably do, but in this universe there doesn't seem to be anything unusual about animals wearing clothes. The humans would just think of it as normal; maybe they'd notice it more if they saw an animal that didn't wear clothes. "Hey, look at that mouse, Bill, not a stitch of clothing on him! Times must be hard."
    • I suspect this is just one of those little quirks with Civilized Animal fantasy stories that you're just not really supposed to think about too hard.
  • Why is Tanya so arrogant in the last two films? In the first ones she was more close and lovely to Fievel.
    • She's growing older and entering the age where she begins thinking of herself as "grown-up" and "done with childish things." And so the younger Fievel, who is still playing around, comes across much more as an Annoying Younger Sibling in her eyes, hence she has less patience with him. It's not an uncommon phase for older siblings to go through.

An American Tail

  • Warren T. Cat is trying to pass himself off as a rat to decieve the mice. Except...wouldn't his size be a dead giveaway? None of the mice ever though he was awfully big for a rat?
    • Here's a list of the largest rat species found around the world, and here's a list of the smallest cat breeds. There's actually a bit of crossover between the largest rats and the smallest cats. Sounds crazy, but Reality Is Unrealistic and all that.
  • Where did they get the idea that there were no cats in America in the first place?
    • Same way the human immigrants got their unfortunately false misconceptions about America.
      • Yup. "The streets are paved with cheese" was a reference to an actual belief that America was so ridiculously rich that they paved the streets with gold.
  • Why did all the other sweatshop workers never think of tying their sheets together into a rope and going out the window before? Why did they need a little kid to tell them they could do that, when at least one of them is clearly an adult? And what made them think Fievel was crazy and it wouldn't work?
    • How high they were up was probably a discouragement, and Fievel's idea was crazy. Crazy enough to work.
    • More likely, they just didn't see the point. To even be "working" in the sweatshop they must have no family, no money, no place to go. Why run away and risk ending up on the streets starving, when they could stay where there's guaranteed food and shelter?
  • We can assume that after they escape from the sweatshop, they notify the authorities of it and they arrest the owner. What he was doing was basically keeping them there and using them as slaves.
    • Given the time frame of the film (the year 1885), there is no 'proper authorities.' The New York Police Department of the time was heavily influenced by Tammany Hall corruption, and were more of a city-operated gang than a law enforcement agency (receiving pay-offs to ignore criminal ventures, and being used to support illicit voting practices). It wouldn't be until the 1894 Lexow Commission that any sort of attempt would be made to rein in the NYPD. It is very likely (given the film's themes), that the mouse version of the police is just as corrupt, was paid off by Moe to look the other way, and would more likely than not help him in rounding up his escaped 'employees,' rather than risk the loss of revenue with no more bribes.
  • When the cats capture Fievel, why do they put him in a cage instead of just killing him?
    • Maybe they were planning on sending him back to the sweat shop?
    • Warren could have been planning to use Fievel as some kind of bargaining chip, perhaps.
    • They weren't hungry at the time and were saving him for later.
  • So is there any particular reason why a bunch of cats were travelling across the frozen wastelands of Russia with the Cossacks? I know the point of this is that it would run parallel to the prejudices that the Jews faced, but how often do soldiers bring cats to a warzone? Dogs? That I can understand. But cats?
    • I was always under the impression that the cats weren't with the Cossacks so much as scavenging off them.
    • Another possibility is they were brought along as provision guards. Mice, small animals, etc could get infi supplies, which could lead to shortages. Bring cats, and suddenly those small animals aren't a problem...
    • Cats have been among the most common and widely-distributed pets in the human world since basically their domestication. From the deserts of Arabia, to the streets of New York, to yes, even the frozen steppes of Russia, anywhere you can find a sizeable group of human beings you are almost guaranteed to find at least one cat. In addition to the points made above, the Cossacks were no more immune to both the charms and the practical reasons of cat ownership than any other group.
  • What was the deal with the evil-looking Poseidon-shaped wave during the storm at the very beginning? I guess one might argue that it was Fievel's imagination, but the scene was clearly not from his point-of-view. It just seemed really out-of-place.
    • Rule of Symbolism, basically. It's just underlining how terrifying Fievel's situation is, as if the sea itself has come to life to attack him.
  • Why are the cats in the beginning so unrealistically terrifying and why do they roar like lions? Is that what they sound like to the mice?
    • I'd assume that's the reason. This is all from the mice's point of view.

  • During the fire sequence at the pier, Fievel is unconscious but just begins to come to as they're extinguishing the fire. How does Fievel get so far away into Orphan Alley without coming across family?
    • It's safe to assume that Orphan Alley isn't too far, as his family would likely be searching the immediate area after searching the extinguished pier. It might have even been likely in their minds that he had died in the fire. He hit his head, and when he awoke he could only stumble around until the firefighters hit him with a water jet. I believe the shack that they made the Mouse of Minsk inside was close to the shore, and Fievel was taken by the water stream into a hole in the floor. He either ended up in a drainage stream, or was quickly washed ashore (again) by the waves, either of which lead him to Orphan Valley, which has a small flow going right through it. Either he climbed out of the stream himself or was unconscious and, despite the other Orphans' ill natured way of acting, out of the many orphans there, there was likely at least one who took pity on him and pulled him out.

The Treasure of Manhattan Island

  • In The Treasure of Manhattan Island how in the heck are the Native Americans growing crops in an underground cave where there's no sunlight? Where do they get the huge fruits and vegetables we see them feeding Tiger?
    • To answer a first point, artificial lighting of some kind and, to answer the second point, they probably foraged for them.