Analysis of "The Thematic Paradigm"

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In the article “The Thematic Paradigm” exerted from his book, A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, Robert Ray provides a description of the two types of heroes depicted in American film: the outlaw hero and the official hero. Although the outlaw hero is more risky and lonely, he cherishes liberty and sovereignty. The official hero on the other hand, generally poses the role of an average ordinary person, claiming an image of a “civilized person.” While the outlaw hero creates an image of a rough-cut person likely to commit a crime, the official hero has a legend perception. In this essay, I will reflect on Ray’s work, along with demonstrating where I observe ideologies and themes. John Ford’s classic American Western film, Stagecoach (1939) shows many examples of political life and social behavior during it’s time. The plot is about nine travelers onboard a stagecoach from Tonto, Arizona to Lordsburg, New Mexico Territory. In the beginning, the passengers of the Stagecoach are unfamiliar with each other. However, their relationships grow as they get to know each other during their journey. Each character claims a different social position. The image created for the outlaw hero is the “natural man.” They are adventurous but also wanderers, and loners. Outlaw heroes are more likely to commit a crime, use weapons and carry guns. The outlaw hero represents self-determination and freedom from conflicts. On the other hand, the official hero is portrayed to be “the civilized” man. He often follows the norms of society, and has typical roles such as a lawyer, teacher, and family man. Because of the outlaw hero’s definitive elements, society more so identifies with this myth. Ray said, “…the scarcity of mature heroes in American... ... middle of paper ... ... on, Walt learns about the Hmong culture, and eventually he establishes a grumpy fatherly connection with Thao. Walt develops a relationship with the Vang Lor family and stops the Hmong gang from raping Thao’s sister. Although, Walt is dying from lung cancer, the gang kills him. Walt leaves behind all his inheritance to the Vang Lor family, and most importantly, Thao inherited the prized 1972 Gran Torino. Works Cited Eastwood, C. (Producer), & Eastwood, C. (Director). (2008) Gran Torino [Motion picture]. United States of America: Warner Brothers Productions. Ford, J. (Producer), & Wagner, D. (Director). (1939) Stagecoach [Motion picture]. United States of America: Criterion. Retrieved from Ray, R. (1985). The thematic paradigm. A certain tendency of the Hollywood cinema. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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