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GSCO 199 FYS: Finding Meaning in the Hero's Journey through Narrative and Documentary Film Film: Home
The Hero's Journey by Harold Bloom (Introduction by); Blake Hobby (Contribution by)
Publication Date: 2009-01-01
The great literary themes reappear continually throughout the world's literature. Bloom's Literary Themes is a new series that examines these themes as they function in classic literary works, from the Bible to the novels of Toni Morrison and Philip Roth.
Quotes from Joseph Campbell
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
The Hero's Journey Home
The Hero and the Perennial Journey Home in American Film by Susan Mackey-Kallis
Publication Date: 2001-06-18
In contemporary America, myths find expression primarily in film. What's more, many of the highest-grossing American movies of the past several decades have been rooted in one of the most fundamental mythic narratives, the hero quest. Why is the hero quest so persistently renewed and retold? In what ways does this universal myth manifest itself in American cinema? And what is the significance of the popularity of these modern myths?
The Hero and the Perennial Journey Home in American Filmby Susan Mackey-Kallis is an exploration of the appeal of films that recreate and reinterpret this mythic structure. She closely analyzes such films as E.T., the Star Wars trilogy, It's a Wonderful Life, The Wizard of Oz, The Lion King, Field of Dreams, The Piano, Thelma and Louise, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Elements of the quest mythology made popular by Joseph Campbell, Homer's Odyssey, the perennial philosophy of Aldous Huxley, and Jungian psychology all contribute to the compelling interpretive framework in which Mackey-Kallis crafts her study. She argues that the purpose of the hero quest is not limited to the discovery of some boon or Holy Grail, but also involves finding oneself and finding a home in the universe.
The home that is sought is simultaneously the literal home from which the hero sets out and the terminus of the personal growth he or she undergoes during the journey back. Thus the quest, Mackey-Kallis asserts, is an outward journey into the world of action and events which eventually requires a journey inward if the hero is to grow, and ultimately necessitates a journey homeward if the hero is to understand the grail and share it with the culture at large. Finally, she examines the value of mythic criticism and addresses questions about myth currently being debated in the field of communication studies.