Saturday, 27 October 2012

Week 2 Of University (Monday 15 Oct)

NOTICE: Blogs will now be broken up according to days and subjects from now on, allowing me to be more in-depth and specific than the prior format.

Monday: Today's lecture was viewing the 1939 musical classic The Wizard Of Oz, following on from reading the first chapter of Hero With A Thousand Faces and examining the Hero's Journey and how the film utilised aspects of this structure:

1. The world of common day (Dorothy is a poor country girl who lives in the Kansas countryside, the dullness and 'ordinary' aspect emphasied by the monochrome used to film these scenes).
2. The Call to Adventure (Dorothy's dog Toto is taken away, and after it escapes and meets with her, they decide to run away).
3. Refusal of the call (Dorothy decides to go back home to her aunt after talking with a travelling mystic).
4.Crossing the threshold.(the tornado sucks Dorothy up and transports her to Oz).
5. Meeting allies/mentor? (Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Good Witch, who help her on her journey to see the Wizard).
- Boon/goal (The group must recover the Wicked Witch's broom for the Wizard to prove themselves worthy of what they want).
6. Apothegis/Mastery (The group overcome the Wicked Witch and defeat her).
7. Goal of the quest (they retrieve the broom and the Wizard shows them that what was in them all along (Lion-courage, Scarecrow-intelligence, Tin man- a heart), though Dorothy gets her desire to go home later thanks to the Good Witch after the Wizard flies away).
8. Refusal of the return (she will miss everyone there, having grown very attached to the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow)
9. Crossing the threshold (she clickes her heels, says 'There's no place like home' and goes home, revealing the whole thing to be a dream.
10. Helpers in our world (the farm hands, Dorothy''s relatives and the mystic all come by to check on her and explain what happened to her).
11. Freedom to Live (Dorothy's adventure is over and she is back home with all those she loves).

Afterwards, in the actual 'Storytelling seminar, the class went over the aforementioned structure of the Hero's Journey once more (bringing up other aspects of it not used or not relevant when examining Wizard Of Oz)) and thought of other pieces of fiction where these elements could apply:
- Helpers/Aids/Mentor (can appear earlier in the story. Famous examples include Alfred from Batman, The Fellowship in Lord of the Rings, Abu and Carpet from Disney's Aladdin tc.)
- Meeting with the goddess (meeting the love interest i.e. Mary Jane in Spiderman, Evey in the Mummy films, Ilsa in Casablanca, Adrien in Rocky etc.).
- meeting the temptress (femme/homme fatale/bad girl or boy of the story, like Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy).
- Atonement with the father (making peace with elders or the past i.e. Simba seeing Mufasa's ghost in Lion King, Vader and Luke in Return of the Jedi)
- Escape with the boon (getting away with the reward/prize/experience i.e. Scrooge learning the true value of Christmas in A Christmas Carol, Rick leaving the ruins of Hamunaptra with Evelyn and a bag of treasure in The Mummy etc.).
- The Master of both Worlds (achieivng something in both/overcoming the obstacles i.e. SImba overcoming his past fears and becoming King of Pride Rock in Lion King).
- Resurrection (a return to life/rebirth (though not lieral) i.e. The Doctor's regenrations in Doctor Who, Gandalf going from Grey to White in LOTR etc.)

My final thoughts were that this was a highly interesting set of lessons: the dissection of all these classic films that have become part of popular culture and how much they have common with each other and older stories was absolutely fascinating to me as someone who has dabled in writing before, as well as being a film buff in my spare time.

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