on this day in 1900. Little did L. Frank Baum know at the time that this story would become an example of what Joseph Campbell called the power of myth: that there would be a movie made that would transcend time or there that would be books written about Dorothy’s symbolic quest for home, the tinman’s for a heart, the scarecrow’s for a brain and the lion’s search for courage.
Mythology had always called to me, especially archetypes, which are the universal traits that live within each of us. The hero’s journey, Dorothy’s in the above mentioned case, leads the main character to a better understanding of herself and the nature of the world.
There are many books and movies out there that follow the script.
Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, the Hunger Games, The Divergent series, the Matrix, even the Lion King, all follow the archetypal plot structure that begins with a call to action. What follows brings into play some supernatural force, a mentor, death and rebirth, transformation and the return.
Some archetypes you might be familiar with: Glinda as the Mother in The Wizard of Oz, Luke Skywalker as the innocent/orphan in Star Wars, Voldemort as the villain in Harry Potter, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Gandolf as mentors.
More recently there has been a plethora of movies based on comic book characters that are doing quite well at the theaters and it’s no surprise. No matter whether it’s 1900 or 2018, there is hunger for this type of story. Spiderman, Wolverine, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Wonder Woman hold the audience enthralled as good versus evil, just as Batman and Superman did decades ago. Every hero or heroine received a call to action: Katniss in Hunger Games, Frodo in the Lord of the Rings, T’Challa in Black Panther and Neo in the Matrix. Ordinary men and women who were taken out of their comfort zone and willingly placed themselves on a dangerous path. They were completely transformed by the end of their journey.
As Joseph Campbell said, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”