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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student


OPINION: What a rat taught me about being human


Cartoon movies based on fantasy worlds have taught me so much about the real-world. 

Disney movies are popular amongst different generations because they’re entertaining to multiple ages. These cartoon movies are fun for kids to watch, but the deeper meaning they have within their characters and storylines entertains adults as well.  

When I was a kid, I loved Disney movies, but I actually didn’t like “Ratatouille.” I thought it was boring. A movie about a rat? No, thank you. I recently rewatched the film and only now I understand many lessons Remy, the main character, teaches the audience and how these apply to a college student like me. 

Remy, a rat who dreams of becoming a chef, encounters many difficulties along his journey. The first thing that stands out to me when rewatching the movie is how Remy really is the underdog –– or under-rat, I should say. 

He has a dream that society and his family, especially his father, deem impossible and undeserving for a rat. His dream of becoming a professional chef and cooking like humans do is nothing more than that: a dream. Even when his father and the world around him do not believe in him, Remy chooses to believe in himself. It turns out that’s all he needs, and maybe that’s all we need as well. To believe in ourselves even when others don’t. 

Remy believed in himself enough to follow his passion. Cooking was what he wanted to do every day for the rest of his life. He had an innate talent for it, and he knew it. Even though he went through moments of self-doubt, like we all do, he persevered. Even when he was trapped in a cage by an enemy and loses hope of ever getting out, he found a spark of courage somewhere in him and his family helped get him out of the trap. Where he came from or what others thought of him didn’t matter, it was what he was capable of that did.  

I’ll end with the best metaphor in the movie in my opinion. Remy is miserably waiting for his family to find him after getting lost; he is quite literally in the dumps. He spends days pitying himself and waiting for something that won’t come in the darkness of underground tubing. When he finally accepts that his family is not coming, he leaves. He runs through plumbing, walls and holes, all to end up on a roof. When he looks up, he sees the Eiffel tower and says “Paris?! This whole time I’ve been underneath Paris?!”  

While Remy was waiting for his family to find him, he couldn’t see what was in front of him, or quite literally above him. He was so busy worrying about being lost that he didn’t realize he had found the city he’d dreamed of visiting his whole life.  

Sometimes, just like Remy, we are so focused on the negative aspects of our lives that we forget we are where our younger selves looked forward to being. Sometimes, just like Remy, we must leave our loved ones behind to accomplish our dreams. Sometimes, just like Remy, we have to let go of our expectations and let life be, because just like Remy, we deserve to be passionate about what we do.  

I know Remy is a rat, but he taught me so many things about being human.  

Maria Amanda Irias (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and psychology. 

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