American Lit. 8/31

Today is one of our last days talking about images/symbols we associate with America. We talked specifically about the “American Dream” and later we discussed John Steinbeck’s term, “the American Way.”

We looked at quotes from Steinbeck’s essay “Paradox and Dream,” which you’ll read tomorrow. Today though, to get ready for that, we examined the images he conjured up  and the idea that the American Way/American Dream persists in light of many hypocrisies because these symbols are so ingrained in our DNA (maybe even literally).

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Superhero class – 8/31

Today we reviewed some of the homework from last night. While I enjoyed reading all the comments about peoples’ superheroes of choice, here are a few examples of what I’m looking for in terms of assignments. Each one below does an excellent job of referencing a text for evidence and then connecting that evidence to their own thoughts or analysis of a character.

“The best superhero stories deal directly with mythic elements of human experience that we can all relate to, in ways that are imaginative, profound, funny, and provocative.” –Grant Morrison

I agree with Grant Morrison’s statement that ” At their best, they help us confront and resolve even the deepest existential crises. We should listen to what they have to tell us.” The flash quite frequently preaches of the simpler it is to get things done with his powers, but it is still possible to get things done…with hard work. Even he, with super speeds, has to work hard to accomplish his tasks. –Jose

Going back to the quote, it says “deal directly with mythic elements of human experience that we can all relate to, in ways that are imaginative, profound, funny, and provocative”. This superhero relates to some people in different ways. For example, Zatanna. She starts as a stage illusionist prior to discovering her magical abilities while investigating the disappearance of her father Giovanni “John” Zatara. She connects to the audience as being someone without a father in her life. –Krystal

A few reasons why [Wonder Woman] is so popular is because she was created during world war II where “any person, thing or object could be drafted into service in the struggle against darkness.” As men went to war, women were able to start working. Wonder Women is an example of breaking the chains of prejudice, prudery and man’s superiority…People find her character relatable because she symbolized individual freedoms and violent action only in the face of oppressive forces. –Vanna

In Dante’s Inferno it is clear that there is the archetype of light vs. darkness. Dante wants to renew/ rekindle his love life with his former wife Beatrice. But she is stuck in hell and he must find her through the circles of hell. The whole story is Dante fighting for his desire of his wife vs. demons trying to stop him and eventually satan himself…he wants to chase his wife which is almost a symbol of redemption. Everyone looks for redemption for their wrongdoings…” – Luis A.

People relate to someone when they understand what they are going or have been through. Grant Morrison agrees specifically with superheroes. He writes, “The best superhero stories deal directly with mythic elements of human experience that we can all relate to”… For example, Spider-Man or also known as Peter Parker is your typical average nerd that gets bullied in school and doesn’t fit in, he is an outcast. This outcast person is easily relatable to because everyone at a certain time in their life has felt like they didn’t belong somewhere or they stood out among the crowd. –Katherine 

Then we continued to review archetypes with the help of a using a checklist to see which character/story archetypes a hero of choice fulfills. Archetype checklist

We ended class noticing that superheroes with the most longevity and popularity don’t necessary cover more archetypes, but rather they hit a few select, important ones. In other words it’s not quantity, it’s quality.

If you didn’t post on yesterday’s blog, today’s your chance to do so.

Superhero class – What makes a superhero?

Madam Fatal

Today in class we talked about a few “failed” superheroes, meaning ones that never quite gained a following.

Then we read an excerpt from Grant Morrison’s book, Supergods.

Homework:

Take a look at this quote by Grant Morrison, a well-known comic writer and the author of the book we read part of in class today.

“The best superhero stories deal directly with mythic elements of human experience that we can all relate to, in ways that are imaginative, profound, funny, and provocative. They exist to solve problems of all kinds and can always be counted on to find a way to save the day. At their best, they help us confront and resolve even the deepest existential crises. We should listen to what they have to tell us.”

Pick a “superhero” that you follow – anyone from the Marvel/DC standards to Star Wars to anime to anything else. In the comments below, explain how this character taps into what we discussed in class or the quote above. What is the “mythic element of human experience” it taps into? Add a picture to your comment if it’s possible.

Here’s a list of a number of archetypes you can use to really ground your ideas in what we’ve been discussing in class: archetypesforliteraryanalysis