Outlaw Heroes In Literature Essay

935 words - 4 pages

Outlaw Heroes in Literature
In "The Thematic Paradigm", Robert Ray explains how there are two distinctly different heroes, the outlaw hero and the official hero. The official hero embraces common values and traditional beliefs, while the outlaw has a clear sense of right and wrong but operates above the law (Ray). Ray explains how the role of an outlaw hero has many traits. "The attractiveness of the outlaw hero's childishness and propensity to whims, tantrums, and emotional decisions derived from America's cult of childhood", states Ray. (309) Ray also says, "To the outlaw hero's inconsistence on private standards of right and wrong, the official hero offered the admonition, you cannot take the law into your own hands." (312) The values of these two traditional heroes contrasts clearly. Society favors the outlaw hero because we identify with that character more. We see ourselves more so in the outlaw hero than in the official hero. The outlaw hero has the "childlike" qualities that most of us wish we had as adults. To civilians it may seem that the outlaw hero lives more of a fantasy life that we all wish to have.
Robert B. Ray categorizes Casablanca as "the most typical" American film. Ray uses Casablanca as a tutor text for what he calls the formal paradigm of Classical Hollywood as well as the thematic paradigm that addresses the conflict between isolationism and communitarian participation. The film is typical in its appropriation of an official hero Laszlo, who stands for the civilizing values of home and community, and an outlaw hero Rick, who stands for individualism. Although these mythological types at first appear to be at odds, they share a common purpose by the end.
Immediately after Rick has received the film's first star close-up, Casablanca yields its first shot from the point of view of a single individual at nine minutes into the film when Rick observes the German's attempt to enter. For most of the remainder of the film, Rick's point of view is privileged, and his face and body are centered. This is especially true when he is in the company of Victor Laszlo, who is regularly consigned to the margins of the frame throughout the sequence when Rick first encounters Ilsa and her husband in the cafe. All of this seems natural...

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