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The Hero's Journey:

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by

KK Kwok

on 18 November 2015

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Transcript of The Hero's Journey:

The Hero's Journey:
Whirligig

The Call
After the death of Lea, Mrs. Zamora asks Brent to build four whirligigs in memory of Lea as her only wish. Lea had loved whirligigs, and Mrs. Zamora’s only requirements were that they include a girl that looks like Lea, it has her name on it, and that they be placed in the four corners of the country: Washington, California, Florida, and Maine. Brent decides to take the request and goes onto this journey. This was "the call" for Brent. This was the beginning of a long journey that Brent thought would serve as a penance for him become a time for him to just be alone.
Quote: "This is my only request. That you make four whirligigs, of a girl that looks like Lea. Put her name on them. Then set them up in Washington, California, Florida, and Maine...". (Fleischman, p.41)
Allies
In Whilrigig, Brent’s allies are the biker from Canada, Emil, Lea, the group of children that helped him with the whirligig he made in San Diego, and the painter that he met near the end of the book. The biker from Canada, Emil, the group of children, and the painter all helped out Brent in some way, either emotionally or physically. By talking to the painter, Brent was finally able to let out all his emotions that built up over the course of the journey, and by making friends with Emil he was able to receive the book, something that helped him along the journey. And also Lea was in a way, Brent’s ally spiritually. By making the whirligigs Brent felt as if he was paying tribute to Lea, and in return Lea was forgiving Brent.
Quote: "He began to explain what a whirligig was, then heard his harmonica being blown. While negotiating its safe release he caught the sound of his saw. He felt like a substitute kindergarten teacher." (Fleischman, p.97)
The Preparation
Some of the preparation Brent took was finding the book on how to make whirligigs. This book really helped him in making the whirligigs and getting the templates and ideas to do so. Another part that helped him prepare for his trip was getting the bus pass from Mrs. Zamora, and the credit card and money he got from his parents. This helped him out with transportation and getting the money he needed to buy things. Also the other part of the preparation was already buying some tools and supplies to build the whirligig and just packing his bag with clothes and etc. and putting them in his backpack before the journey.
Quote: "He walked to his pack. He'd brought four pieces of plywood, one foot by two feet, marine grade, half an inch thick." (Fleischman, p. 50)
Sharing The Gift
The Return
The Transformation
The Saving Experience
Road of Trials
Crossing the Threshold
The Guardian(s) of the Threshold
Brent begins his journey the moment he decides to do Mrs. Zamora's request, and he gets onto the bus. This was the start of the journey because it was the beginning of going across the U.S., building whirligigs in different parts of the country. This was when Brent got exposed to the "new world". It was the beginning when Brent starts to realize how different the world is and learns new things from different people. It is from there on he gains knowledge from others and slowly starts to see the world differently. Not only was it the start of a physical journey but also an emotional one. It was the beginning when Brent's feeling of regret and guilt slowly get overcome by new emotions and experiences.
Quote: "He turned and behald a peak in the distance that seemed a mirage, immpossibly high, snow shimmering on its wide shoulders, the absolute lord of the landscape. The word
Rainier
passed down the aisle. Brent gawked. It seemed too large as a full moon does when it first rises into view. He'd never been west of Chicago before." (Fleischman, p. 42)
The obstacles that Brent faced weren’t physical barriers, but were emotional barriers. After killing Lea, Brent’s emotional health was somewhat unstable. He was much more insecure about how people saw him, barely talked to anyone. And after agreeing to Mrs. Zamora’s request to go around the country, it was these emotions that he had to overcome before going onto this journey. The feelings of fear were what he had to overcome to get the courage to go onto this journey. And though it is not exactly mentioned in the book, you can tell that Brent had to overcome some type of emotional barrier to get himself to finally go onto this journey.
Quote: What murderous machine had he constructed to set in motion? When his turn finally came to speak, the long apology he'd rehearsed reduced itself to the two words 'I'm sorry,' words he spoke over and over, then wailed miserably through tears..."
(Fleischman, p.39)
The road of trials in the book would have to be building each of the whirligigs, as they were sort of like "missions" he had to do. Throughout the building of the whirligigs, each of them had their own challenges and problems to fix, and there was always a point when Brent got very mad and frustrated. For example, in building the first and second whirligig - being that Brent had barely any experience in shop – it was very challenging for him. With having brought minimal supplies for every project, it was frustrating for Brent having very little to use left or having to get more. These are definitely experiences that tested the perseverance, intelligence, and even strength of Brent, which makes these events the road of trials.
Quote: "It took half an hour to get it right. He tightened the wood down to the table with a clamp, started in with his D-shaped coping saw, and promptly broke the thin blade." (Fleischman, p.50)
The saving experience wasn't just one event, they were little events that were sort of the "saving experience" in Brent's situations. Little "saviors" throughout the book were Brent's harmonica. It helped him relax when we was really stressed and just posed as an object that helped Brent just have some fun. Another object was the book that Emil gave to him called, "Two Years Before the Mast" something that also helped him out just like the harmonica did. These objects were sort of the little saving experiences but the biggest one of all I found was the painter. In the very end she was just that person who really helped Brent out emotionally to just let out his feelings and helped provide some wisdom. She helped Brent let go of that heavy burden of feelings by talking to him. This would have to be the great saving experience.
Quote: "It was the harmonic that saved him. Playing it during breaks and at night..." (Fleischman, p.74)
The transformation would have to be fairly close to the saving experience. The transformation for Brent was actually more tied in with the saving experience. Brent was already transforming when he decided to tell his story to the painter. And really did transform into a different person after talking to the painter, not only that but after his entire journey of building whirligigs. He changed as a person inside and out. He saw the world differently and what he cared about was different too. His habits and hobbies were changing and did change after those trips across the journey. The painter also helped in the transformation because she had helped Brent feel better and talk about his emotions.
Quote: "He smiled in return and sat on the sand. They talked for an hour watching the gulls drop shells onto the rocks to crack them." (Fleischman, p.123)
In the return part of the story Brent didn't really go back to Chicago, where he lived, but I think the return was more of dancing at the diner. I considered this the return because it was almost like Brent finally accepted himself and let himself just be out there dancing. What I mean is that he was more open then he was before, allowing him to "get back into the crowd". He finally returned to the "normal world", he didn't have those emotions sort of dragging him down anymore. Brent also did see life differently after the journey, even if he didn't choose go back home right away.
Quote: "It was a human whirligig, set in motion by music instead of wind. He sank into a hair and watched dance after dance. Suddenly, a young woman rushed up to hum. 'We need one more couple.' She held out her hands. To his great amazement, he agreed." (Fleischman, p.130)
Sharing the gift was, I guess metaphorically, when he traded the book he got from Emil, "Two Years Before the Mast" and got a different book. When he was actually just allowing someone else the chance to read the book, in a way Paul Fleischman was showing how Brent was "sharing" his experience with other people. The book really helped him in the process of building whirligigs to just relax and just as time on the side, so trading to book and leaving it for someone else to read, was like a gesture in sharing the same gift with other people.
Quote: "He placed on the book exchange shelf, aware that he was nudging an invisible gear forward. He wondered who would read it next." (Fleischman, p.133)
*Picture is attached separately.*
Image Credits
Man getting on the bus. Digital image. Bay Area Open Space Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://openspacecouncil.org/blog/our-modern-day-eco-code-warrior/>.
Smith, Robin. Teenage Boy Packing School Bag at Home. Digital image. Getty Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/teenage-boy-packing-school-bag-at-home-high-res-stock-photography/139826612>.
Four corners of the US. Digital image. Go Pet Friendly. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://www.gopetfriendlyblog.com/seeing-the-four-corners/>.
Group of black children. Digital image. Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://rpp.fpg.unc.edu/>.
Emotional barriers. Digital image. ITS. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://www.itseducation.asia/barriers.htm>.
Frustration. Digital image. Music Consultant.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://musicconsultant.com/music-as-a-career/frustration-in-music/#.VkwMwOeKI9Q>.
Two Years Before the Mast book. Digital image. Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/102148723>.
Old woman laughing. Digital image. Kyungbang Vietnam Co., Ltd. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://kyungbangvn.com/20-year-old-male-dating-17-year-old-female/>.
Contradance. Digital image. Framingham Downtown Renaissance. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://www.fdrms.org/news/contradance>.
Book Exchange. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://megwaiteclayton.com/1stbooks/book-exchange/>.
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