Shaun As A Hero Essay

1343 words - 6 pages

Everybody is obsessed with the Zombie Apocalypse these days. Bumper stickers reading “My zombie ate your honor student” and television documentaries about “preppers” who are ready for the zombies to come; even Law agencies placing their officers in specially designed zombie apocalypse training courses. The result of all of this zombie hype is that everybody wants to test themselves—to be the one who survives and saves mankind. Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the hero’s journey is widely accepted as the basis for most, if not all heroic tales. Campbell relates that the hero begins ordinarily and is then called to the adventure, usually with the help of somebody. The hero must cross a ...view middle of the document...

But Shaun doesn’t have time to find this change, it finds him in the form of the zombie apocalypse and he is required to act.
His heroic journey begins shortly after realizing that the world is a different place. He is attacked in his backyard and in order for him and his helper Ed to survive, he kills his first zombie. As most people would, he thinks of his loved ones and discovers that his mother is in danger because her husband has been bitten. Shaun commits himself to the challenge of rescuing his mother and his ex-girlfriend, knowing the dangers and ignoring all advice to stay barricaded in his house, essentially sacrificing his own safety for that of others. Armed with only a cricket bat and a plan to shelter at the pub, Shaun and his helper cross the threshold into the sinister world of the dead.
A major part of the iconic hero’s journey is the liminality that the hero displays. He/she is able cross boundaries that regular humans cannot. The hero can possess the courage to step into the unknown or the strength to elevate from mere human to godlike being. But even with this liminality, they still represent what it is to be human; giving regular humans hope of the potential of the ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. Shaun has this liminal ability. He walks among the dead where so many others have perished and because of his courage he is able to reach his mother and insure her safety. He next takes her and his dying stepfather to go and save his ex-girlfriend. The trials that Shaun and his company face on the journey are many. In order for Shaun to get his ex he faces several zombies and has to climb the wall to her apartment to escape being eaten by them. Earlier in the film, Shaun had tried to climb the same wall but did not have the strength; thus, his ability to climb the wall shows a progression within himself from ordinary to heroic, again illustrating his liminality. His ex and her roommate are added to Shaun’s company of helpers and together they approach the final battle.
Shaun is again faced with a hero’s tests when he is nearly bitten by his stepdad, after which he and his companions must walk on foot to the pub. Along the way Shaun battles more zombies as he crosses over fences and into separate yards resembling the ancient Egyptian passage into the underworld. Finally, when they reach the pub, Shaun sacrifices his own safety again for the sake of his friends so that they may enter the pub. He distracts the hoard of zombies and alone, crosses another threshold, immersing himself within the dead. An aspect of Campbell’s monomyth is that the hero reaches his lowest moment and often dies (). With Shaun entering the crowd of zombies alone and his friends thinking that he may have died, his lowest...

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