Drawing on texts and theorists of Greek myth, psychoanalysis, and masculinities, Susan Mackey-Kallis and Brian Johnston develop and offer a model of rhetorical and mythic criticism to analyze popular American film. In this book, Mackey-Kallis and Johnston focus their analysis on films that point to the need for father atonement, ego-decentering, and the resurrection of the lost feminine to heal our collective gendered cultural wounds. Many of these “mystic” films, they contend, affirm the role of meaningful suffering, compassion, integration of the feminine, self-sacrifice, and transcendence as antidotes to the inevitable woundedness of the human condition. Ultimately, the authors argue for the importance of digging into the substance of cultural wounds – rather than superficially suturing them over – to change the conversation about woundedness and provide a roadmap for healing gendered relations in contemporary American culture. The book concludes with a discussion of Joseph Campbell’s interpretation of the metaphorical power of myth and its transcendent function to argue for a theory of “us”, rather than a theory of “us versus them.” Scholars of film, gender studies, American studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and psychology will find this book of particular interest.
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