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FINDING TRUE NORTH

We see the Ugly Duckling tale realized in stories as disparate as Zorro, Moonstruck, My Fair Lady, Superman, Sabrina, Working Girl, Pretty Woman, and, of course, one of the favorite stories of all time, Cinderella. If a screenwriter or advertiser didn’t understand the importance of the “change of clothes” in this story—the moment in which the “inside” and the “outside” become aligned—we would never have had Clark Kent in the phone booth, Julia Roberts on Rodeo Drive, or the magic of Cinderella’s rags transformed into a ballroom gown. More significantly, if the writer misinterpreted the pattern as “realizing your fantasies,” she would distort the value or message of the story, as might have happened with a star-studded flop called The Mirror Has Two Faces. In that film, Barbra Streisand becomes something she’s not in order to win love—not a terribly useful template for living one’s life. In the great Ugly Duckling stories, on the other hand, we are shown how to understand and express who we are, and then everything falls into place. The total inventory of these rich story patterns can be understood as either guides or warnings, imparting corresponding messages or “gifts,” as shown in Figure 6.6. The lifelong process of maturation and development is reflected in the “arc” of the story patterns on the grid. Like the archetypes, each fits primarily in one quadrant, but in stories there is a built-in assumption of character development, of change. For example, the stories in the lower left-hand quadrant reflect an appreciation of the status quo and a fear of change—feelings reflective of an individual’s or a whole culture’s desire to remain “safe.” Transformation stories, at the intersection of the map, deal with a quantum leap, the moment of transition when we become ready to pursue our destiny. Moving to the upper right-hand quadrant, we see that the Hero’s Journey reflects the quest for self-actualization and wholeness; Paradise Found is the realization of that wholeness. The Wandering Angel structure, shown on the arc, involves the catalyst for helping the protagonist make the transition from one stage to the next in the process of maturation and self-development. In a classic film such as It’s a Wonderful Life, or in contemporary ones like Heaven Can Wait, Mary Poppins, and Jerry McGuire, it is a mystical or transient character who “shows the way” for the protag-

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

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