by Kelley Smoot Garrett, Austin, Texas
With the page, Letitia introduces the first hint of tension into Princess April’s world. And we also get our first glimpse of Princess April’s story framed as the archetypal pattern dubbed the monomyth by scholar Joseph Campbell in his ground-breaking work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
Readers may remember Bill Moyers created his 1988 series, Joesph Campbell and the Power of Myth, from discussions Moyers held with Campbell while they, “explore what enduring myths can tell us about our lives.” Reader might be surprised to know that Joseph Campbell considered Letitia’s Uncle Doug – Douglas Fairbanks Sr – to be one of modern history’s great myth-makers. From this excerpt from the first episode, “The Hero’s Adventure,” comes the following transcript (from about 14 min 20 sec, ending at approximately 15 min 10 sec):
Bill Moyers: Who in our society is making any heroic myths at all, for us? Do movies do this? Do movies create heroic myths?
Joseph Campbell: I don’t know… Now my experience with movies, the significant experience that I had was as a boy, and they were all movies, they weren’t talkies, the were black and white movies. And I had a hero figure, who meant something to me, and he served as a kind of model for myself in my physical character and that was Douglas Fairbanks. I wanted to be a synthesis of Douglas Fairbanks and Leonardo DaVinci, that was my goal.
Behind the two men, scenes from Fairbanks’ movies are shown.
Joseph Campbell: Those were models, were roles that came to me [through film.]
In the monomyth, the first step taken on the hero’s – or, in our case, heroine’s – journey, is to receive a Call to Adventure. Many times, the hero’s call to adventure begins with discontentment at where they are currently “at” in life, so to speak.
Careful readers will note Princess April’s discontent begins on this page, with her wings being too small to allow her to fly with the older fairies. In this first crucial establishing step, a motive for the rest of our tale begins to unfold, along with the addition of a traveling companion, the blue butterfly, as we shall see in coming weeks.