Tuesday, April 21, 2009

my final paper

Chloe Bjorklund

Dr. Sexson

English 213


Magic and my heart

When I think of my life, my aspirations and the hopes and dreams I have for my future one thing comes to mind…magic. What is it about this mythological idea of the supernatural that captivates my heart and mind? While reading about metamorphosis: gods and goddesses changing into humans, humans changing into beasts; this idea that the immortal life is somehow intertwined with magic; I thought of what else comes to mind when thinking of this all encompassing word magic? For me there is no other first thought than the fanciful tale of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. But it is not only Harry Potter that comes to mind after a few extra seconds of pondering but also the new teenage craze of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. What is it about this idea of immortality and magic that possesses the stories of the past and of the present? I believe it is a human desire within all of us to discover what is hidden and find a way to reconnect with the stories of the past gods and goddesses of Olympus which are riddled with magic and can only be believed and seen with childhood innocence.

Throughout this class I have wondered what it is that makes each o us fall in love with a tale from the past. Whether it is the moving scenes with Hecuba and the Trojan Women or watching Echo chase after Narcissus or just maybe it is the idea that Persephone is happy in the underworld with her ghostly husband Hades. Whatever story a person identifies with there is always a connection to what has past and what is to come, because in all of the tales there are elements of magic; magic coming from all different sources but coming alive through the worlds on the page none the less. Magic turns king Midas’s ears into asses ears, magic eases Niobe’s pain by turning her into stone and magic definitely helps Hades open the earth when stealing Persephone into the under world. But the question I have is why this magic is important and why do people today still want to be a part of it? Not whether or not these events took place because I know in my heart 100% that they did and continue to occur today, in the age of technology and iron.

Today there are no more stories of gods throwing thunder and goddesses turning women into spiders. No, today the stories are a little different, focusing on the power of humans rather than on the power of the gods. Harry Potter is a series of books that tell the tale of one boy, named Harry, and his journey into a magical world with his friends. When I watch the movies and read the stories it is not the riveting plot that has me coming back for more. Nor is it the exciting relationships between boy and girl, no, it is the idea behind all of it that enthralls my mind. The idea that hidden somewhere close by is a land of make believe. Where castles are something to live in, mermaids are in the back yard lake and magic wands help cast magic spells. I want to believe that my imagination’s desires truly can become my reality if I try hard enough and look deep enough. This is why the tale of Harry Potter has captured the hearts of millions of young children and old adults, because we all want to believe in the make believe.

Twilight is another phenomenon that has recently swept the nation. With records of ticket sales flying off of the charts and a dedicated fan base this vampire filled tale has stolen the hearts of young girls and adults alike. Why is it that another book about vampires, with a story line that has already been told is now making another comeback into popular culture? For some it is the handsome love interest Edward, for other it is the action pact killing of the James, the stories protagonist. However, for the majority of Americans quickly falling in love with the series by Stephenie Meyer it is the ideas behind the plot and characters that is creating such hysteria. There is a wonderful idea of magic behind the eyes of Bella, waiting to become immortal. Her story starting as any other girl’s would, ordinary. However, as the books continues so does Bella’s struggle for immortality which is her way into what has been lost; a world of magical creatures both good and evil. Once again there is the idea of magic transcending the world we all know and are familiar with and forcing us to remember the dreams of our childhood fancies that have somehow been forgetting with age. Exciting and desirable because if we believe that it is true, that someone can metamorphosis into a powerful being then we are allowing our childhood imagination to grow once again. The innocence with which children dream and see reality leaves as people grow into adulthood. As the responsibilities of life, children and families creep into our thoughts; turning laugh lines into worry lines the eyes with which we use to see a sparkly castle with pink princess begin to blur until finally only the cold reality of daylight can be seen. It is the longing for our past selves that make people continue to watch movies and read stories that are riddled with magic. This ideal that, if we believe hard enough along with a pinch of fairy dust, anything is possible. That any idea can become reality if we believe in the magic of our youth. This is why people are drawn to fanciful stories however old and familiar because they remind us of a younger time, a time when reality had a hint of sparkle.

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