Movies as myths: An interpretation of motion picture mythology

  • Author(s): Elizabeth C. Hirschman
  • When: 1988-04
  • Where: Marketing and Semiotics: New Directions in the Study of Signs for Sale
  • Motion pictures are one of the most pervasive vehicles for communication in American culture, surpassed only by network television series as a mass mode of storytelling and symbolic imagery (Klein 1985). Our quest here is to examine the structure and archetypal symbols present in the most popular motion pictures in America and to infer from them the values, beliefs, and spiritual dimensions characteristic of our culture (cf. May 1980 for an earlier example of this approach). To do so, primary reliance will be placed upon the method of structural analysis as developed by Levi-Strauss: and cultural archetypes as suggested by Jung (1958, 1961). Before turning to this analysis, however, two important questions are addressed: (1) What is a myth? and (2) How are myths tube inteaptesed?

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