Heroes In Robert Ray's The Thematic Paradigm

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In "The Thematic Paradigm" Robert Ray argues that American movie heroes can be classified as outlaw heroes or official heroes or the merging of the two (the reluctant hero). This he says reflects the contradictory ideologies (which include individual and community values) which underpin American society. Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan in The Help (2011) and two other women in Jackson Mississippi in the 1960s cross racial boundaries to write a book that forever changes their town and the way women view one another. Skeeter is an outlaw hero, and this can be demonstrated by using Ray's criteria of "aging," "women and society," and "politics and the law." Skeeter’s character represents Ray’s theme of “aging” as an outlaw hero. Ray claims “ the attractiveness…show more content…
Ray alleges “In contrast to outlaw heroes, the official heroes preeminently worldly, comfortable in society, and willing to undertake even those public duties demanding personal sacrifice.” (380). Skeeter is the opposite of this because she doesn't follow social norms, becomes alienated due to her choices, and crosses social boundaries. She doesn't follow social norms because in the movie after she comes home from college she becomes an independent, unmarried woman who’s focused on her career. While her mom and friends want her to focus on becoming a wife. Skeeter becomes alienated due to her choices of not being married, and because of how her perspective on the division between white Southern households and black maids has changed due to being in the city and going to college. She also crosses social boundaries in the movie to write a book about the lives of black maids in the South, which is a highly controversial and could have gotten the maids who helped fired and shunned. These characteristics are what help her further her transformation from the women she was raised to be to the independent, brave woman who chooses her own

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