A fan named Mary Falls has shared a eye-opening theory on Facebook, wondering why on earth Ariel just didn't write a note to Eric explaining her terrible predicament. She writes:
"Ariel could have saved herself a lot of trouble if she had just learned to read and write. She could just scrawl out an explanation of her situation for Prince Eric. [...] But then I figured, if she was the daughter of a king, she probably could read and write. She probably had the finest underwater education available, especially since she was the star of the under sea orchestral extravaganza, which had absolutely no room for scrubs. Then it occurred to me, duh - they can't write underwater without those special pens, and they'd have to be able to walk to The Sharper Image to get those. But I'll be damned, she signed that contract with Ursula."