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Oprah Winfrey

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Every now and then in history, we find a life story that is truly remarkable. Oprah Winfrey ventured forth from the agonizing childhood, that was her world of common day, to a region of supernatural wonder. Oprah’s road to success was not an easy task. From her early childhood, Oprah challenged many fabulous forces that she encountered. Oprah Winfrey tells the life story one of America's richest and most successful show business personalities. “The fact that Oprah Winfrey is also black and a woman makes her rags to riches story an even more remarkable version of the ’American Dream’” (About). Without a doubt Oprah Winfrey endured her share of rites of passage.

...[R]ites of passage are not confined to culturally defined life-crises, but may accompany any change from one state to another, as when a whole tribe goes to war, or when it attests the passage from scarcity to plenty by performing a first-fruits or a harvest festival. Rites de passage, too, are not restricted, sociologically speaking, to movements between ascribes statuses. They also concern entry into a new achieved status, whether this be a political office or membership to a exclusive club or secret society...On the whole, initiation rites, whether into maturity or cult membership, best exemplify transition...(Tumer 235).

A time of separation

On January 29, 1954 Oprah Gail Winfrey was born to unwed, teenage parents in Mississippi. Her parents originally planned to name her Orpah, but the midwife made a mistake on the birth certificate. Oprah had many obstacles already in front her as

a newborn. Oprah’s mother was an eighteen-year-old housemaid named Vernita Lee. Her father was a twenty-year-old in the Armed Forces, Vernon Winfrey. Shortly after her birth, Oprah was separated from her birth mother and sent to live with her grandmother.

“...[L]ike so many other black youngsters who were left to be taken care of by their grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles. It actually probably saved my life. It is the reason why I am here today. My grandmother gave me the foundation for success that I was allowed to continue to build upon. My grandmother taught me to read, a...

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bestsellers, and in 1999 she was presented with the National Book Foundation’s 50th anniversary gold medal for her service to books and authors (Academy).

As a public figure, Oprah’s influence is reached in many places around the world. Connected to her audience as well as her peers, she interacts with people of all walks of life. Oprah is recognized as a brilliant business woman, a compassionate television host, a accomplished actress, producer, publisher, educator, and a compassionate spokesperson for social causes. Her name and reputation warrant a great deal of respect. In Oprah’s biographical history,

[t]he hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of

supernatural wonder, fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won; the hero returns from this miraculous adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man (Campbell).

Oprah has successfully accomplished being a talk show host. As well, she challenged the fabulous forces that she encountered. This truly is why the story of Oprah Winfrey is one of supernatural wonder.
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