Live Free or Twihard: Bella’s Heroic Journey for Wholeness in Fantasy

Note: this is a paper I did back when I was in Brigham Young University earning my bachelor’s degree. Whether or not you like the Twilight series, there’s something be understood in the psychology of its readers, to understand what makes something so popular.

The Twilight series has undergone nearly every form of criticism known to the written world. And yet, the enormous popularity of the series speaks to it’s value in the psycho analysis of our culture, particularly that of young teenage girls (the series’ primary readership). Despite shallow characters and a lot of cheesy dialogue, there are many core elements that make Twilight more significant. These include myth, the psychological archetypes found there, and the fantastical narratives used to bring them about. For instance, Bella undergoes a version of the hero’s journey, which is an archetype found in practically every culture. In this journey she discovers many other universal archetypes, like the animus (the male side of herself) which once transcended is a big step in the direction her journey is leading her: to wholeness. Read more “Live Free or Twihard: Bella’s Heroic Journey for Wholeness in Fantasy”

Top 10 Saddest Clone Deaths in Star Wars: The Clone Wars

With the latest Star Wars film, I thought it would be fun to talk about the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, because why not? The show did quite a few interesting things to the world of Star Wars.

I think this series did two major things for Star Wars: it made Anakin more likable and sympathetic, and it got us to care about the clones. This show did a great job at giving the clones distinct personalities, so while they may have looked similar, they were still different.

But unfortunately, that also means it’s that much more heartbreaking when many of these clones inevitably die. It’s surprising that I still got attached to these guys, even though I knew they likely wouldn’t survive the war. That being said, there are a few clone deaths that do stand out.

So here are the top 10 saddest clone deaths. Keep in mind, this will have some bias, since a portion of this is my own personal opinion. Let’s bring on the sadness! Read more “Top 10 Saddest Clone Deaths in Star Wars: The Clone Wars”

Review : Black Panther

Where to begin with Black Panther? For the first time in a long time, Marvel has delivered a film that nearly left me speechless and without any negative criticism. I literally have nothing bad to say about this film, except perhaps that the main villain wasn’t properly introduced until relatively late in the film, but they made up for that in an abundant number of ways.

Spoilers follow: Read more “Black Panther”

Shadow Control: Batman’s Relationship with Himself Through his Enemies

Many would agree that one of the reasons why Batman is among the more popular superheroes is the ensemble of villains he fights, and that he is defined by these men and women. Practically every single villain is insane to one degree or another. Each is also a reflection of Batman, and the question is often raised whether or not he is the creator of his villains, or whether they created him. Many of these ideas and the symbols associated with them tie into the Jungian archetype of the Shadow. Bruce Wayne has many personal demons to control, much as his alter-ego does with villains like the Joker, or Two Face, and the Shadow archetype is representative of this. In Christopher Nolan’s film version of The Dark Knight he brings this idea to fruition. The Joker and Two Face are used to reflect Batman’s darker side and how close he is to becoming like one of them. They are all, including Batman, part of a Jungian shadow complex that is evident in Bruce Wayne. Wayne not only has to deal with the anti-heroes of Gotham, he has to deal with the possibility that his own split personality is one of them. However, in the film, it becomes evident that Bruce Wayne is able to take responsibility for his actions and turn chaos into order, which is what allows him to control his shadow rather than let it turn him into a villain. Read more “Shadow Control: Batman’s Relationship with Himself Through his Enemies”

Ultimate Fandom Timeline: Fantasy in Great Britain

Magic is part of our world in many areas. However, there are some areas of Earth that seem to attract magic and fantasy more than others. One of these areas is known in modern days as Great Britain. The United States has similar qualities but to a lesser degree. It would increase in importance in the future.

After the events of The Lord of the Rings, the entire planet underwent several changes. Continents would move, some areas would flood, and in some areas, new land would arise. That is why it looks very different in different eras of time. Even the seasons were changed for a time, becoming longer. However, the basic shape and positioning of Great Britain was preserved. Read more “Ultimate Fandom Timeline: Fantasy in Great Britain”

The Lord of the Rings and Escapism

Note: This is a paper I did for a British literature class. The paper covers escapism found in modern fantasy literature and using The Lord of the Rings as my primary example. I think it’s one of my best papers so far.

In an academic setting, if you ever mention Twilight, or Harry Potter, or Star Wars, alongside The Faerie Queen, A Mid Summer Night’s Dream, Beowulf, or even Frankenstein you will quickly be excused from the conversation. This often creates conflict between fans and academics. For instance, The Lord of the Rings has often been both praised and rejected by the literary world. This bias is often attributed to “escapism,” considered an inferior reason to read literature. It would be better to read in order to better perceive reality, to understand, to learn…wouldn’t it? Though “escapist” literature has often been frowned upon in the academic community, a close study of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings reveals that escapism is part of human nature and therefore can enhance our reality, instead of covering it up. Read more “The Lord of the Rings and Escapism”