This writing project will entail taking one of two approaches in your examination and analysis of one of the following films: Singin’ in theRain, The Searchers, and The Hurt Locker.Following ThreadsMeaning in a visual medium like cinema is created through the repetition and reoccurrence of certain images, shots, and cinematic techniquesover the course of a film’s runtime. What images, gestures, actions by characters, items, and shots occur again and again throughout aparticular film? What occurs in the shots where these repeating things occur? What pattern is established by these occurrences? What does thisrepeating pattern come to represent or signify?Fulfilling ArcsIn film, a character arc follows how a specific character grows, changes, evolves, or learns over the course of the film’s narrative. How does aspecific character (major or minor) grow and change over the course of a film? What does his or her change and growth come to represent andsignify?Gateway Criteria Checklist for Major Writing Assignments:___ The work is in Times New Roman twelve-point (12) font.___ The work is double-spaced and does not contain excessive spacing between paragraphs.___ The work is set in MLA citation format. Please reference the Purdue Owl for moreinformation regarding formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/___ The work has a descriptive title.___ The work reaches the minimal required length.___ The titles of major works are italicized or underlined. The titles of “essays” or “shorterworks” are placed in quotations marks (double quotations, not single quotations)___ The work includes a works cited page. Since this is a film course, the films you mention inyour work must be cited on the works cited page.MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/05/MLA Works Cited Examples for Film: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/09/___ The work’s spacing and margins have not been adjusted or “tinkered with” in order to createthe appearance of reaching the proper length.___ The work and ideas of others are properly noted and cited.Example—Student 1Bill StudentProfessor Britton LumpkinEnglish 5XX4 June 2004Harry Potter as the Ever-Diminishing HeroIn reading countless reviews and critiques of the Harry Potter novels, two consistent statements tend to come up; first that all of J. K.Rowling’s novels are formulaic and follow a set plot pattern, and second that each novel the reader a happy, satisfactory conclusion. I feelthat nothing could be further from the truth. While the initial books in the series offer pleasant and conclusive resolutions, with each novelthat follows the stories fall shorter and shorter of neatly wrapping the conflict up, and their endings become more complicated and complex. Itshould be particularly noted that as Harry matures, and acquires more skills as a wizard, he actually accomplishes less as the hero. Each forayinto the world of Hogwarts and every conflict with Lord Voldemort and his minions makes “the boy that lived” all the more fragile and human.In a sense, Harry’s role as an ever-diminishing hero as I have termed it, corresponds to his own maturation and growth of experiential knowledgein a larger and ever-increasing world. This diminishment is parallel to one’s own maturation in that as one matures clear victories andcertainties are steadily replaced by ambiguity and complexity. This view stands in contrast to Jack Zipes master plot summary of the HarryPotter novels. He states in his summary of the books in Sticks and Stones: “Whatever happens – and the plot always involve a great deal of manlycompetition and some kind Student 2of mystery – you can be sure that Harry wins” (177). Better perhaps to say Harry “endures,” “survives,” or even “just gets by,” and that makesall the difference.This essay will attempt to examine the progression of Harry’s conflicts and the resolutions of those conflicts in each book. Even though hegrows in his knowledge and skill as a wizard from the conflicts with Voldemort and his surrogates and through the more pleasant acquirement ofskills from his professors and friends, Harry becomes less and less of a hero figure and as will be shown in the later books, his victories areminimal at best. This progression serves to demonstrate the transition of Harry as a mythic or romantic figure into something more human andfallible. It also offers his character an entrance into the larger world by acknowledging the need to have help from others and that even thebiggest of heroes need group or communal assistance to achieve their ends and win the battles that they have been fated to fight.The back-story of Harry Potter that is told in a slow unraveling delayed exposition and how it defines him is as essential to the story as thecurrent events that occur in each book. It is the story that the reader and Harry himself is only privy to in small bits and pieces dropped astidbits throughout the books. Despite the lack of fleshed out details it remains the defining and signature moment for Harry’s life: “peoplemeeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices ‘To Harry Potter – the boy who lived!’”(Sorcerer’s Stone 17). When Harry Potter, a one year old baby, defeats the most powerful dark wizard that the magical world has known, well thatis a tough act to follow up. In a sense, Harry has peaked at age one. It is made all the more ironic by the fact that he knows the least aboutthe greatest thing he has ever done. Hermione notes when she first meets Harry: “I know all about you, of course – I got a Student 3few extra books for background reading, and you’re in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Eventsof the Twentieth Century” (106). Such recognition might suffice for one that has worked for a lifetime in his or her chosen endeavor, but itcomes across as an altogether premature declaration when such notice is given to an eleven-year-old boy whose major accomplishments came aroundthe age of one. It would probably be an overwhelming and bewildering experience for one to face. As Alice Mills states: “Harry is also senex inthat he has already, before the action of book I starts, ended Voldemort’s reign and restored the rule of good among the wizards. His present isalways shaped by the past, as he increasingly comes to understand (8).” Harry is somewhat in competition with his younger self in a battle thatbecomes ever more difficult to win.Hence, one must consider the Harry Potter books narratives of aftermath. What happens after the protagonist has lived his or her greatest storyor done his or her greatest deed. Instead of receiving that story straight up by the author, we see the effects of the aftermath on thatprotagonist. Now of course, what is compelling or even marketable about telling the heroic story of a one-year-old child should go withoutsaying. Rowling skillfully moves her narration to the aftermath of Voldemort’s defeat and picks up the narration when perhaps her protagonistbegins to become interesting. In another odd twist, Harry becomes a reader to the text of his own life.Of course, the events of the past help one to define the occurrences of the present, and one must consider the actions of Harry Potter inrelation to his major, life-defining moment. In relation to Sorcerer’s Stone, this first book in the series can be taken as a sequel to theevents that happened eleven years ago. In the final conflict of this book, Student 4Harry single-handedly defeats Voldemort, who has parasitically attached himself to the seemingly unassuming Professor Quirrell, who is no lessthan the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, in order to acquire the Sorcerer’s Stone, which will allow Voldemort to return to human form.Harry defeats Quirrell with his own bare skin: “Quirrell rolled off him, his face blistering, too, and then Harry knew: Quirrell couldn’t touchhis bare skin, not without suffering terrible pain – his only chance was to keep hold of Quirrell, keep him in enough pain to stop him fromdoing a curse” (Sorcerer’s Stone 295). In a repeat of the downfall of Voldemort from ten years ago, something about Harry’s own body and beingdestroys Voldemort’s attempt to assume power again. It appears more instinctual and unconscious than anything else. Something that Harry doeswithout even thinking about leads to a satisfactory conclusion at the end of book I.The diminishment of Harry Potter as hero already begins to clearly take shape in The Chamber of Secrets. In this book, it is revealed that hisadversary is a much younger seventeen-year-old version of Voldemort in the form of the diary of Tom Riddle (Voldemort’s name given by hisadopted muggle parents). Tom, after seducing Ginny Weasley to do his work, has sent a basilisk out into Hogwarts to kill or freeze mudbloods(people with mixed magical and muggle heritage). It is Riddle’s ambition to overtake the body of Ginny Weasley and regain human form. In doingso, he would have resurrected a younger but less powerful version of Voldemort. Harry does a great deed by thwarting Riddle’s plans to escapefrom the pages of the written word so to speak, but its results are much more selective and not as widespread and important as his previousaccomplishments. When he defeated Voldemort the first time, Harry ended the Dark Lord’s reign of terror that had threatened to consume both themagical and non-magical Student 5world. When Harry and Voldemort face each other again, he merely prevents that possibility from reasserting itself. But in defeating the youngerversion of Voldemort, he primarily saves and protects a select group:After he “kills” Tom Riddle, Harry returns from his journey with a new worldview and a “boon”: safety for all Muggle-born wizards, includingJustin Finch-Fletchley, Hermione Granger (a pure muggle), the Ravenclaw’s Prefect, and Colin Creevy, whose father is a milkman. By securing suchsafety, Harry asserts that racial purity is not essential for membership in a community.” (De Rosa 182)While this is a great accomplishment, it rather pales in comparison to the world saving act that he had done when he was one year old.Harry is also, by this point, working harder and harder to achieve less and at greater personal cost. In an echo to Beowulf, the monster-slayer,Harry needs nothing but his own body and being to defeat Voldemort much in the same way that Beowulf only needed the strength of his muscles todispose of Grendal. But when Beowulf confronts Grendal’s mother in her lair, he needs the ancient giants sword in order to defeat her. Beowulfhas either become all too aware of his limitations or has increasingly realized the necessity of acquiring tools in order to protect one’s self.The same can be said for Harry who manages to defeat Riddle and the basilisk with the help of the Gryffindor sword that comes out of sortinghat. With it he kills the basilisk that also manages to give him a deathblow. This is remedied by the angelic presence of Fawkes the phoenix,whose tears heal Harry and brings him back from the brink of death. Fawkes serves as the first Student 6of many that directly assist Harry in his climatic battle with Voldemort or one of his surrogates.The Prisoner of Azkaban distinguishes itself from its predecessors by not offering the satisfying and happy conclusion that had been establishedat the end of the first two books. While Sirius Black is revealed as innocent of the crime that he has been convicted of, he is not exoneratedand allowed to walk the streets as a free man. In fact, he must escape to safety under cover of night on the back of another who wasundeservedly convicted of a crime, the Hippogriff, Buckbeak. The real murderer, Wormtail, escapes to safety after briefly being exposed by Harryand his cohorts (He had been hiding as Ron’s pet rat, Scabbers, for the past twelve years). And to add yet another insult, Harry’s favoriteprofessor, Lupin, is forced to resign in disgrace after being exposed as a werewolf.Harry as a hero is also taken down a notch when he confronts the nemesis-like Dementors. Before he was brimming with overconfidence, whenconcern was raised that Sirius Black might be trying to kill him, Harry simply brushes it off: “‘I’m not [scared],’ said Harry sincerely.‘Really,’ he added, because Mr. Weasley was looking disbelieving. ‘I’m not trying to be a hero, but seriously, Sirius Black can’t be worse thanVoldemort, can he?’” (The Prisoner of Azkaban 73). He is paralyzed though whenever he comes in contact with the Dementors. They prey upon thepain that he has experienced and negate his ability to be heroic. Hence, Harry takes up his first true educational challenge. He learns tosummon a Patronus in order to protect himself from the Dementors. This is a clear demonstration of his growing knowledge and prowess as awizard. In the end after a Student 7trick of time travel when he sees a future version of himself do it, Harry manages to cast the Patronus spell successfully.With his own growing power also comes the recognition of his own limitations. In the previous two books, his faithful sidekicks Ron and Hermionewere either conveniently injured or in the process of helping someone conveniently injured, so that Harry just happened to face his majorchallenge alone. But at the end of The Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione is with Harry the whole time they travel back into the past to correctcertain events:At the moment of near calamity during Year Three, Dumbledore advises not Harry but his friend Hermione on the time travel the students must useto save innocent lives. Here the old grand wizard shows how well Harry has chosen his companions, for the profoundly intellectual Hermione isbetter suited than Harry to understand the intricacies of temporal displacement. (Pharr 60)The idea of Harry as a mythic, singular hero gradually yields to an increasingly more knowledgeable hero that nonetheless needs the help andassistance of others.The Goblet of Fire manages to turn the previous notion on its head with both positive and negative results. In this story, he gets assistancefrom both good and evil forces. He is entered into the Tri-wizard tournament (against his will) and competes for a large prize. There is a wellacknowledged tradition that cheating has been rampant in the competition with students constantly getting tips from professors about what theywill face. But it is only in the grasp of the newly born Voldemort that he realizes just how manipulated the whole competition has been.Voldemort states:So how could I take him? Student 8Why . . .by using Bertha Jorkins’s information, of course. Use my one faithful Death Eater, stationed at Hogwarts, to ensure that the boy’s namewas entered into the Goblet of Fire. Use my Death Eater to ensure that the boy won the tournament – that he touched the Triwizard Cup first –the cup which my Death Eater had turned into a Portkey, which would bring him here, beyond the reach of Dumbledore’s help and protection, andinto my waiting arms. And here he is . . . the boy you all believed had been my downfall.” (Goblet of Fire 657)In that brief expositional unfurling, Voldemort reveals just how easily Harry played into Voldemort’s plan. It is later revealed how Crouch’sson masquerading as Mad-Eye Moody earned Harry’s trust and almost killed Harry after his master failed to do so. The whole dénouement undercutsall the heroic deeds and efforts that Harry and the other competitors displayed in the Triwizard tournament and helps to expose the games forthe sham that they are. These elaborate plans resulted in the murder of one of the competitors, Cedric Diggory and allow Harry to contribute tothe re-birth, rather unintentionally, of Voldemort.The Goblet of Fire cannot be considered a happy ending by most interpretations. Harry survives rather than triumphs over his adversity: “The endof volume four is especially illuminating in this respect as Harry is finally put through a trail in which he can only count on himself”(Nikolajeva 139). To a certain extent this is true. In the books final confrontation, Harry is left to face Voldemort alone in a graveyard arenasurrounded by his supporters, the Death Eaters. Only when both Voldemort and Harry cast spells at each other does the tide turn. Because theyboth essentially wield the same kind of wand, this negates their respective spells. It also causes spells that Voldemort has previously Student9cast to reveal themselves. The spirits of those Voldemort has murdered reveal themselves and come to aid of Harry. He sees Cedric, and Harrysees his mother and father, which help to serve as small consolations to the final physical manifestation of Voldemort. The spirits help Harryto escape from the clutches of the Death Eaters and allow him to return to safety with the body of Cedric in tow. His victory money for winningthe tournament offers him no comfort, and he freely gives the coins to Fred and George Weasley in the hopes that they can start their ownbusiness. This empty victory is a far cry from the jovial celebration that ensued after Gyriffindor secured the house cup for the first time inmany years in the first book.With the last volume in the series published so far, The Order of the Phoenix, the story of Harry reaches new emotional lows. He gets a lifetimeban on Quidditch placed on him and suffers the wrath of the Ministry of Magic’s Professor Umbridge, whose intent is clearly to not educate thestudents in defense against the dark arts. This forces the students to educate themselves in that endeavor, and Harry Potter is called upon tobe their instructor. After surviving so many life-threatening situations, he seems a rather appropriate and seasoned instructor. But it isperhaps his willingness to put himself in harm’s way that results in the death of his godfather, Sirius Black. Voldemort gets into Harry’s mindand convinces him that the Death Eaters have taken Sirius captive, when in fact; it is merely a trap to pull Harry away from Hogwarts. Harry’svisions become almost a self-fulfilling prophecy as he watches Sirius die right before his eyes as he falls behind a death shroud. In this mostrecent book, Harry as a hero is given more of a tragic dimension. It is through his excess of virtue in always wanting to help his friends outand save the day that directly results in the death of his godfather. This is contrasted with Student 10Cedric’s death who was more a victim of happenstance and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Harry no doubt feels guilty for Cedric, buta strong case could be made that the blood of Sirius Black is on Harry’s hands.As my examination has progressed, I have shown the reduction of Harry Potter and his heroic status. As he matures and grows as a wizard, hisaccomplishments become less and less, despite the fact that he has grown in his skills as a wizard and his group of friends and cohorts hasexpanded. One can see a pop culture equivalent in the original Star Wars trilogy in the character of Luke Skywalker. As a farm boy recentlyescaped from Tattoine, Luke manages to destroy the Death Star with a precise shot. He never really manages to outdo that initial splash that hemakes. Even though, he grows as a Jedi and becomes a stronger person. His battle becomes a more personal conflict between himself and DarthVader, and much of the work done to defeat the Empire is done through the communal effort of the rebellion. Luke’s work increasingly becomesmerely a part of that overall communal effort.The same can be said for Harry Potter’s role, he has increasingly seen it necessary to have friends to help him along, and he begins to see theneed to work within a communal or group framework in order to defeat Voldemort and his minions. It is not all on him:[t]he Potter heritage calls Harry to become a seeker whose episodic quests for knowledge are unified by the grand themes of self-discovery andselfless valor. The combination is important, for if a hero is to be complete, he must come to know more than himself and his own potential; hemust also come to know the value of other creatures, great and small. (Pharr 56) Student 11Wisdom, I suppose, comes in knowing ones limitations, and the last few Harry Potter books readily display that notion. If there is anyconsolation, perhaps, it is in the fact that Harry is not alone in his endeavor to fight evil. The last paragraph of The Order of the Phoenixoffers up though a mixture of comradeship and aloneness that is somewhat unsettling. The hero is shown to have friends, but he is still the onewho must face the greatest danger and lives in the fact that this whole story is being told first and foremost because of him:He somehow could not find words to tell them what it meant to him, to see them all ranged there, on his side. Instead he smiled, raised a handin farewell, turned around, and led the way out of the station toward the sunlit street, with Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and Dudley hurryingalong in his wake. (The Order of the Phoenix 870)In conclusion, it should be noted that the concepts and themes presented in this paper are very much relating to a work in progress that has yetto come to its ending. It should also be noted that much of the critical work cited in this essay was composed before the most recentinstallment was published. Nevertheless I have a firm belief that the trajectory established in the published Harry Potter books will be playedout in the future releases. Of course, if my ideas turn out to be completely wrong, then I have no problem amending my position, as thisendeavor will inevitably be revised to a certain extent given the surprising twists and turns that have become the signature of J. K. Rowling’sfantastical work. Student 12Works CitedDe Rosa, Deborah. “Wizardly Challenges to and Affirmations of the Initiation Paradigmin Harry Potter.” Harry Potter’s World: Multidisciplinary Critical Perspectives. Ed.Elizabeth E. Heilman. New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2003. 163-184. Print.Mills, Alice. “Archetypes and the Unconscious in Harry Potter and Diana Wynne Jone’sFire and Hemlock and Dogsbody.” Reading Harry Potter. Ed. Giselle Liza Anatol.Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2003. 3-15. Print.Nikolajeva, Maria. “Harry Potter – A Return to the Romantic Hero.” Harry Potter’sWorld: Multidisciplinary Critical Perspectives. Ed. Elizabeth E. Heilman. New York:RoutledgeFalmer, 2003. 125-140. Print.Pharr, Mary. “In Medias Res: Harry Potter as Hero-in-Progress.” The Ivory Tower andHarry Potter. Ed. Lana A. Whited. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 2002. 53-66. Print.Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. Print.—————- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003.Print.—————- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic, 1999.Print.————— Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1998. Print.Zipes, Jack. Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children’s Literature fromSlovenly Peter to Harry Potter. New York: Routledge, 2001. Print.
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