Thursday, September 27, 2012

     Modern heroes are a lot like ancient heroes, but with some major differences. To begin, the flaws of the hero are much more prevalent in modern times. The flaws of a modern hero are much more intense than in ancient heroes. This is because modern humans want someone they can relate to. Also, most modern heroes take the form of either the underdog, or the unwilling hero. This is because modern people want to hear rags-to-riches stories, mostly because they wish to be instantly successful themselves.
     Overall, the modern hero is more "human". Ancient heroes epitomize the socially acceptable aspects of the time and place. Modern heroes usually show an imbalance of negative aspects to positive ones, but always succeeds in the end. Where ancient people wanted someone to model themselves after, modern people want someone to relate to.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

     It has been eighteen years since Lord Odysseus left with his men for Troy. Others have returned after a short ten, but Odysseus still does not appear. No one knows if he is dead. No one knows if he is lost. No one knows if the Gods have hindered his passage. Everyone knows Odysseus has not returned. Penelope, Odysseus's wife, waits at their home, Ithaca, for his return. Unfortunately, she is plagued by suitors who wish not for her, but the power she holds. Eighteen years have passed, yet she still remains faithful to Odysseus. Their son, Telemachus, never knew his father, and thus is not yet as great a man as he. One day, after vigorous mourning by Penelope, she heard a song that invoked tears and pain. When she went downstairs to tell the suitors to turn it off, her son rudely interrupted her and denied her that privilege. Then Penelope went upstairs to mourn some more. Telemachus stated that he was going to search for rumor of his father, in response, Penelope mourned Odysseus some more.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Once upon a time, there was a young boy by the name Frank. He was of the West family, one of the wealthiest families in Serbia. Now young Frank (he was actually about seventeen years old) was very spoiled. If Frank West did not get what he wanted, he would turn angry. And no one liked Frank West when he was angry. In fact, no one liked Frank West when he was happy, or sad, or indifferent for that matter. No one liked Frank West for two reasons; the first reason, is that everyone in Serbia was bigoted against all humans younger than twenty; the second reason, is that Frank was a spoiled child of a wealthy family.
Now one day, on December 25, 1989, Frank West's family was celebrating Christmas (The West family was the only Christian family at the time in Serbia). Frank West was opening his presents and was happy with all of them, except for the soap and cotton clothes his grandmother gave him. But Frank did not get the one thing he really wanted: a pink iPhone 4s. Frank West threw a tantrum because of this. His parents and family that was present at fist ignored him, because he had episodes like this quite a few times a day. However this time was different. Frank West really wanted his pink iPhone 4s. He screamed, and shouted, and yelled, but to no avail. Frank even threw one of the books he got for Christmas, Anthem by Ayn Rand, at his father. Frank also uttered several explicit statements not fit to repeat in this story.
"I want my iPhone!" Frank West exclaimed while violently sucking his right thumb and trying to punch a hole in the wall. Unfortunately the only thing he managed to break was his left fist. Frank's parents, the authority of the West family, shared a look of disgust and Catholic elitism and decided that this was the last straw.
            "Go to your room and think about what you have done!" The West parents shouted in unison.
"Fine! I'll show you! I'll show all of you! You should have given me that iPhone!" Frank West shouted back, wiping his nose with his broken left hand and then licking the mucus off. Frank stormed off to his room with a proverbial storm cloud hanging over his sullen little head. He slammed the door to his apartment-sized room. Immediately Frank West knew what he had to do. Frank slipped under his bed on his stomach, ruining his new Christmas sweater with the disgusting, filthy floor, and grasped the handle of the trapdoor that was hidden there. Frank West had discovered this trap door when he was but a boy, no older than the age of seven. As he went down the ladder inside of the trapdoor, he recalled his first experience inside the dark, dank hole.
"Very slowly, don't want to slip." young Frank said to himself as he climbed down the ladder, barely able to reach the next step. As he progressed down the vertical tunnel, he thought he saw it coming to an end. Finally young Frank's foot hit solid ground. As he looked around, young Frank West noticed that the floor was made of some kind of grey brick painted with some kind of dark substance. The room was rectangular in nature, perhaps about the size of two thirds of an American football field. The light, by which young Frank could see, came from two fires lit from the back of the room. And in the middle, perfectly equidistant from both fires, was a black statue. From the wavering and flickering light of the two eerily luminous fires, lit on what appeared to be human bones, young Frank West could see it had two sharp and curved horns, two ears, two crossed arms, a goat's face, and two legs that resembled a goat's. It wouldn't take a genius to figure out what the statue was of, but young Frank West had no clue at the time. He walked closer, an ominous sense of dread filling his body, chilling him to the very marrow within his bones. Sounds that embodied young Frank's deepest fears and desires seemed to echo everywhere. This place frightened him. He ran as fast as his little legs would carry him to the ladder and climbed as fast has he could without falling until he was back in his room. A fear too terrible to explain took over his mind. Shaking in his bed, he fell asleep and forgot everything for quite a while.
On that fateful Christmas day, Frank West climbed down the vertical tunnel for the second time to see the black statue. He made it to the floor once more, furious about his Christmas wish not being granted, and heard a voice. The voice itself was too terrible to describe in human terms. But the voice spoke to Frank. The voice instilled a fear, an irrational fear. The voice told him that he could not do it, and to not seek for the power again until he can. Frank West was crying, his tears turning to smoke as they hit the ground. Suddenly, the world went black.
Frank West awoke outside of his family's house, confused and determined. He opened the door and rushed through. He looked around confused. Frank was outside of his family's house again. Confused, he opened the door again. This time, Frank simply looked through the doorway without entering. Frank West saw the back of his body. Frank was baffled. He reached out to touch himself on the shoulder, but the picture melted away to a blood red spiral. Frank slowly started to be dragged inside, arm first. Just as Frank was about to scream for help, a tendril made of the same substance wrapped itself around his head, smothering his shout. Before Frank could do anything else, he was inside the portal. Then, for the second time that day, he blacked out.
            And so the grand story of Frank West’s attempted redemption begins. With nothing but the clothes on his back, he set off, determined to win the acceptance of the statue. When Frank West woke up again, he decided the first thing he would need to survive was money. So he wandered, and wandered, and wandered, and eventually he found a village. Frank already knew he could not kill the villagers for money, so he asked for the most outlandish and high paying job he could find. Eventually, he found a job paying the equivalence of forty thousand American dollars. The job description simply said: Find and eliminate the two people holding one of us hostage in the gatehouse two miles from here. Frank West somehow knew, deep down, that this job was for him. He picked up a weapon suitable for stabbing, in this case, a knife that was lying near a gutter, and went to rescue the unknown person.
            Now, as Frank approached the lone gatehouse with no gate to manage, he readied his knife. He was about to open the door and storm in, when the door opened by itself, and one of the guards came out. Frank caught this one by surprise, and put a slash in the guard’s head. The second one, however, came lumbering out, and fell on Frank West. Fortunately, the second guard had fallen on his knife, but unfortunately, the guard also took a bite out of Frank’s shoulder as he went down. Ignoring the bite for now, and not noticing the guards weren’t bleeding, he proceeded into the gate house. Inside was a dimly lit, square room, half taken up by a cage that stretched across the entire chamber. Inside the cage, sitting very calmly was a woman swathed in blue.

To be continued…

Thursday, September 6, 2012

     An archetype is the universally understood symbolic representation of an object. In the Mario video game series, the three main characters display glaringly obvious archetypes; Mario, the confident hero; Princess Peach, the damsel in distress; and Bowser, representing Satan.
     Mario is a classic, side-scrolling game with about as much of a storyline as most garden hoses. The premise is that Bowser, a giant, fire-breathing turtle, kidnaps princess peach. Mario, upon hearing of this tragedy, sets out on his 2-D adventure across strange lands and even stranger castles to rescue his princess. He jumps across the stage, eventually making it to a castle, and a bizarre creature (that he defeats), only to be confronted with a message: "Sorry Mario, your princess is in another castle."
     Mario is the fearless hero, transformed from his humble profession as a plumber, to fireball hurling powerhouse. Bowser, an evil, giant, spiked turtle (that can breath fire), personifies greed and evil, perhaps even showing the evil in humans, or giving form to Satan himself. Finally, Princess Peach, the damsel in distress, and the object and holy grail of the quest. All are well known archetypes, people can relate to the characters in some way, even if the relation is to the undesirable qualities.