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A Modern Day Big Fish Essay

1658 words - 7 pages

The film Big Fish delves into the ideas of mythology in such a way as to be relatable to a modern audience. At the center of the film is the struggle between logos and mythos, William Bloom vs. Edward Bloom. People are increasingly trying to apply logic and reason to their everyday lives to explain why things happen, but there are certain aspects of life that are currently beyond the reach of logos, such as death and the questions of existence. This is where mythos steps in and is able to provide “reasons” for why things happen as they do and why humans exist in the first place. Big Fish is told in a manner that resonates with the viewer, because most of the tales are told by Edward Bloom, ...view middle of the document...

In this way, Big Fish connects the modern audience with the mythologies of the past.
Early in the movie, Edward tells of his unusual birth at the hospital. Upon being born, he shoots out of his mother and through the legs of the hospital orderlies in comical fashion. His father is notably missing from the story. This is the start of Edward's unusual life and hero's journey. Many heroes and gods in ancient myth have unusual births, such as Athena, daughter of Zeus. Zeus swallows the pregnant Metis, and is unable to properly give birth to Metis' child Athena. Athena pushes against his head, where she has been stored, in an attempt to escape. Eventually, Hephaestus, god of the forge, splits open Zeus' head and Athena springs out fully prepared for battle (Martin 88). This story has a couple of similarities to the one in Big Fish, namely the single parent present and the extraordinary circumstances of birth. Having such an unusual birth could only mean that Edward Bloom was destined for great things, similar to the demigods of ancient myth.
Next, Edward tells of his exploits in Ashton, where he was the star sports player, ran a successful lawn business, and saved people from a giant, who turned out to be a misunderstood gentle-giant and Edward's ticket to a bigger world. In modern culture, it is a desirable trait to be good at whatever you do, and Edward exemplifies this value with everything he does. In all of the scenes with Edward as the star or hero, there is always a shot of a disgruntled person, Don Price, who never gets any of the credit and is there to provide a stark contrast to Edward's glory. Through this contrast, Edward's greatness is exaggerated and becomes meaningful to the viewer. This dichotomy of greatness to worthlessness is shown in a humorous manner, but it fully echoes with the audience and provides a warning of what happens when one doesn't live up to the modern standard of success. Not only does Edward get all the glory, but he also ends up stealing Don Price's fiance', Sandra.
Earlier in his childhood, Edward and his friends approach the local witch's house. Being the only one brave enough to enter, Edward talks to the witch and asks to look into her glass eye, which can see into the future. There he sees exactly how he is going to die and in doing so, is able to live his life without the fear of death lingering over him. This raises an important question with the audience: how does one overcome their fear of death? Even though people may not be able to see how they are going to die, they can live their lives in such a way so as to be remembered and loved by family and friends, similar to Edward Bloom. He teaches the audience that the fear of death is the problem, and not death itself. This is shown during the scene when Edward ventures into the wild forest outside of the town of Spectre. He is caught up by the trees and assaulted by spiders, but remembers that he isn't going to die like that, so everything rights...

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