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Archetypes in Literature_ Film _ and Music

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					Archetypes in Literature, Film , and
              Music


           BY SETH VIETTI
ROMANCE
                    In Film:
• Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis
  – A veritable parade of American culture, values,
    and optimism, Forrest meets John F. Kennedy,
    plays football, joins the army, saves his girl
    multiple times, and inspires John Lennon to
    write “Imagine.”
  – Gentle satire? Nevertheless, Forrest Gump
    fulfills the romance archetype; the virtuous,
    humble beginnings, the persistent nostalgia, etc.
                     In Print:
• On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  – A critical work of the “Beat” generation, a group
    dissatisfied with the cultural conformity of the 1950‟s
  – Stylistically experimental: very little editing and
    spontaneously written.
  – Follows the autobiographical journey of Neil Cassidy and
    Mr. Kerouac as they drove and hitchhiked across the
    country.
  – The quest in On the Road is for understanding and
    enlightenment, not to slay a dragon, but the elements of
    romance are there.
                   In Song:
• “Romeo is Bleeding” by Tom Waits
  – Romeo is the head/hero of some kind of gang
    who has just killed a policeman in revenge for
    the death of his brother.
  – He is an epic figure, who is mortally wounded
    but acts as if nothing has happened; clearly the
    coolest kid in town.
  – Though he dies at the end, his death is exalted,
    symbolic, and honorable.
Romeo is bleeding but not so as you'd notice
he's over on 18th street as usual               Romeo is bleeding but nobody can tell
looking so hard against the hood of his car     and he sings along with the radio
and putting out a cigarette in his hand         with a bullet in his chest
and for all the pachucos at the pumps           and he combs back his fenders
at Romero‟s paint and body                      and they all agree its clear
they all seein how far they can spit            that everything is cool now that Romeos here
well it was just another night                  but Romeo is bleeding
but now they're huddled in the brake lights     and he winces now and then and he leans
of a „58 Belair                                 against
and listenin to how Romeo killed a sheriff      the car door and feels the blood in his shoes
with his knife                                  and someone‟s crying in the phone booth
                                                at the 5 points by the store
and they all jump when they hear the sirens     Romeo starts his engine
but Romeo just laughs and says                  and wipes the blood of the door
all the racket in the world ain't never gonna   and he brodys through the signal
save that coppers ass                           with the radio full blast
he'll never see another summertime              leavin the boys there hikin up their chinos
for gunnin down my brother                      and they all try to stand like Romeo
and leavin him like a dog                       beneath the moon cut like a sickle
beneath a car without his knife                 and they're talkin now in spanish about their
                                                hero
and Romeo says hey man gimme a cigatette
and they all reach for their pack               but Romeo is bleeding as he gives the man his
and Frankie lights it for him and pats him      ticket
on the back                                     and he climbs to the balcony at the movies
and throws a bottle at a milk truck             and he'll die without a whimper
and as it breaks he grabs his nuts              like every hero‟s dream
and they all know they could be just like       just an angel with a bullet
Romeo                                           and Cagney on the screen
if they only had the guts
TRAGEDY
                   In Film:
• El Norte, directed by Gregory Nava
  – Remember this one, Latin America and CPS
    people?
  – In it, Rosa and Enrique, siblings from Guatemala,
    cross the Mexican border and try to “make it” in
    Los Angeles
  – Tragically, Rosa dies and Enrique misses his
    chance for a livable job
  – The tragic flaw: optimism and distorted
    perception of America?
                            In Print:
                   Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelly

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert…Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
                    In Song:
• “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
  – One of the most famous songs ever written, it
    tells the story of a girl who has fallen from her
    position of significance.
  – Though the story of her fall is not explicitly told,
    we see the results and do learn some details
    about her charmed past. Here‟s the first two
    verses…
Once upon a time you dressed so fine    You've gone to the finest
You threw the bums a dime               school all right, Miss Lonely
in your prime, didn't you?              But you know you only
People'd call, say, "Beware doll,       used to get juiced in it
you're bound to fall"                   And nobody has ever
You thought they were all kiddin' you   taught you how to live on the
You used to laugh about                 street
Everybody that was hangin' out          And now you find out you're
Now you don't talk so loud              gonna have to get used to it
Now you don't seem so proud             You said you'd never
About having to be scrounging           compromise
for your next meal.                     With the mystery tramp,
                                        but now you realize
(Chorus):                               He's not selling any alibis
How does it feel                        As you stare into the
How does it feel                        vacuum of his eyes
To be without a home                    And ask him do you want
Like a complete unknown                 to make a deal?
Like a rolling stone?
                                        (Chorus)
IRONY & SATIRE
                        In Film:
• King of Hearts, directed by Philippe de Broca
   – The story takes place in a small town in France during
     WWI. The Germans have retreated out of the city, but
     have booby-trapped it with explosives. All the
     townspeople run for their lives, leaving the town to the
     abandoned patients of the insane asylum and a British
     soldier sent to disarm the bombs.
   – Basically, this film contrasts the playful insanity of the
     hospital escapees with the real insanity of war, mocking
     and questioning war and violence.
                       In Print:
• The Road to Wellville by T.C. Boyle
  – There are three parallel stories in the book, all of which
    take place in Battle Creek Michigan in 1907. 1. Will and
    Eleanor Lightbody check themselves into John Harvey
    Kellogg‟s health hotel and receive crazy pseudo-scientific
    medical treatment. 2. Charlie Ossining tries to establish a
    breakfast-cereal business. 3. Kellogg tries to deal with his
    irritating son.
  – The work satirizes both our current cultural obsession
    with health fads and our seemingly unlimited and
    universal ability to be fooled.
                   In Song:
• “Sail Away” by Randy Newman
  – Sung from the perspective of a slave-trader
    trying to persuade prospective slaves onto his
    boat.
  – He speaks of all the wealth and happiness of
    Americans, none of which will apply to these
    future slaves, of course.
  – THIS IS IRONIC.
In America you'll get food to eat       We will cross the mighty ocean
Won't have to run through the jungle    into Charleston Bay
And scuff up your feet                  Sail away
You'll just sing about Jesus            Sail away
and drink wine all day                  We will cross the mighty ocean
It's great to be an American            into Charleston Bay
Ain't no lions or tigers                In America every man is free
Ain't no mamba snake                    To take care of his home and his family
Just the sweet watermelon               You'll be as happy as a monkey
and the buckwheat cake                  in a monkey tree
Ev'rybody is as happy as a man can be   You're all gonna be an American
Climb aboard, little wog                Sail away
Sail away with me                       Sail away
Sail away                               We will cross the mighty ocean
Sail away                               into Charleston Bay
                                        Sail away
                                        Sail away
                                        We will cross the mighty ocean
                                        into Charleston Bay
COMEDY
                   In Film:
• The Graduate, directed by Mike Nicholos
  – Benjamin Braddock, just out of college, is
    seduced by Mrs. Robinson and falls in love with
    her daughter Elaine.
  – Benjamin rejects everything his parents tell him
    to do throughout the film, eventually even
    rejecting Mrs. Robinson (The idea of the new
    society reforming/replacing the old)
  – Mishaps occur, but he gets the girl in the end.
                   In Print:
• The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward
  Abbey
  – This novel tells the story of a group of “eco-
    terrorists” who are so angry about the
    destruction of the environment that they decide
    to start destroying things like bridges and dams
    to keep human impact out of the west.
  – Blocking characters: law enforcement
  – In the end the old society is not replaced, but the
    reader is left with hope.
                    In Song:
• “Woodstock” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and
  Young.
  – Woodstock has come to symbolize the youth
    culture of the 60‟s and 70‟s; all those stereotypes:
    the music, drugs, sex, etc.
  – Lyrics about bombers turning into butterflies
    and people returning to the garden of Eden
    articulate the comedic archetype of the old
    society being replaced by a new one.
                                           Well then can I walk beside you
                                           I have come to lose the smog
                                           And I feel like I'm a cog
Well I came across a child of God
                                           in something turning
He was walking along the road
                                           And maybe it's the time of year
And I asked him tell where are you going
                                           Yes and maybe it's the time of man
This he told me
                                           And I don't know who I am
                                           But life is for learning
Well I am going down to Yasgur's farm
Going to join in a rock and roll band
                                           (Chorus)
Goin' to get back to the land to set my
soul free
                                           By the time we got to Woodstock
                                           We were half a million strong
(Chorus):
                                           And everywhere there was
We are stardust, we are golden
                                           song and celebration
We are ten billion year old carbon
                                           And I dreamed I saw
And we got to get ourselves back to the
                                           the bombers jet planes
garden
                                           Riding shotgun in the sky
                                           Turning into butterflies
                                           Above our nation.

                                           (Chorus)

				
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