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Utopia

The last book Danielle's father brought her before he died was Thomas More's Utopia. Danielle obviously read it a lot, as she was able to quote from it. Danielle believed in a Utopian society, something I'm sure her father believed in as well, and I think the book is huge in understanding Danielle's personality, her motives, and her way of thinking.

Utopia means paradise, and that is what the world was to Danielle. She enjoyed the everyday joys of the world from picking wildflowers to swimming in the lake, and she was truly happy despite being made a servant by her stepmother.

Paulette, Louise, and Maurice were family to Danielle. In addition to loving the world, Danielle really loved people. I think this came from not only Thomas More's Utopia, but from her father, who treated his servants like family. Paulette, Louise, and Maurice were simply servants and property to Rodmilla, but to Danielle they were family. Danielle risked everything by dressing and pretending to be a Comtesse at the Royal Court and going by her mother's name (Comtesse Nicole de Lancret) in order to buy back Maurice after Rodmilla had sold him to pay her taxes. She said that she would not see her home fall apart.

Danielle as Nicole While at the Royal Court and arguing with a guard who was taking the “criminals” to the coast to sail for the Americas, Danielle got the attention of the Prince. She told Prince Henry that those servants were not criminals, and those that were could not help themselves. That interested Henry, and he wanted to hear more. Danielle's explanation to Henry is the first time we got to really see Danielle defending her beliefs, but it certainly is not the only. Danielle's passion was hugely evident, and even though she was quoting Thomas More, it's easy to tell that she had thought long and hard about it, and really believed in what she was preaching.

If you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?

Danielle didn't like how people's titles defined them. She brought up gypsies, saying they are rarely painted as anything else but that's not who they are. She believed that peasants and commoners weren't second rate citizens, but people who deserved respect, calling them "the legs you stand on." One could probably argue that Danielle believed all of this because she was reduced to a servant herself, but I don't think that's the case. As I've already mentioned, Danielle's father really respected his servants, and they respected him. I think Danielle would have ended up the same way with or without becoming a servant herself.

When Danielle returned with Maurice, Paulette and Louise started hugging and kissing Maurice. I'm sure they thought that they would never see him again. While group hugging, they pulled Danielle in with them. She was one of them not because she was a servant, but because they loved each other. A life with love is important in this film; it's brought up a lot. Danielle certainly had a lot of love.

Another huge theme in the film that is supported by Danielle's Utopian beliefs is that life should be lived. Danielle tried to get everything she could out of the world and out of life. Henry and Danielle said it best themselves.

You swim alone, climb rocks, rescue servants... Is there anything you don't do?
Fly!

Danielle saw the world for its possibilities and didn't let anything hold her back, least of all her title. Her conviction and love of life inspired Henry to build a university where anyone could study no matter their station. Now that's something truly Utopian.