Within the Hero’s journey, characters show the story and use emotions through, the journey, symbol’s enhance the stories’ or movies’ meaning. In this instance archetypes are used, archetypes are a recurring of characters and symbols in a study. A movie that consists a hero’s journey within the plot is Avatar written and directed by James Cameron in 2009. Avatar is about a paralyzed marine, Jake Sully, who is sent to Pandora after his twin brother Tommy, is killed. Jake serves as a substitute and is sent where the Na’vi inhabit.
Once, he is on Pandora he meets Grace Augustine, who helps him through the movie. While he is an Avatar, he meets the Omaticaya and Neytiri, and learns their ways. Throughout the movie, he is working for the military, but once he becomes close with the Omaticaya, he turns on them for their mission was going to harm the Na’vi. In the end, Jake becomes one of the Na’vi and lives as one of them as for the rest of his life. Archetypes are addressed throughout the movie by the actual hero himself, his mentors, the journey itself, and the symbols.
These help propel the plot by creating a more complex character and help foreshadow the future plot. The archetypes used in the movie Avatar propel the plot by creating a more developed and understandable story through the characters, symbols, and the hero’s journey. Through the hero’s journey, symbols, are archetypes, and are used not only to enhance the feeling of the plot but by foreshadowing future events. Through the movie, Avatar symbols are used to show a meaning to things and color affects matter too.
Symbols used in the movie that helped propel the plot forward include the illustration of Jake with the wood sprites from the seeds of Eywa. In the movie, the wood sprites float down to Jake and make him look as if he is glowing, making him look like a Christ-like figure like in Rio De Janeiro’s Christ the savior. To quote the movie’s script, “Jake–now a pulsing, glowing, fluttering, mass of light moves one hand slowly not wanting to break the spell. He studies one of the sprites dancing on his palm until…” (Page 43).
The wood sprites propel the plot forward by showing the Christ-like figure by creating an image of him looking and being aglow; this foreshadows the fact that Jake will become the hero or warrior. Furthermore, this happens because this symbol helped approve him to become part of the Omaticaya clan, as outsiders are not allowed to join the clan or they could die as a result of coming to the clan itself. “Jake holds still, knowing he should be afraid– but somehow he’s not. He spreads his arms, hands, body,” (Page 42).
The symbol that has been used symbolizes Christ as in Rio De Janeiro, in turn, symbolizes redeeming because Christ in christianity came to redeem the people of their sins and teach them the ways of God, and Jake becomes the redeemer in Avatar as he protects and helps the Na’vi when the “sky people” threaten the home tree and the tree of souls. Another symbol that impacts the plot of Avatar is the Toruk, and the Toruk symbolizes the last shadow. In Avatar’s script it is written that “Jake dives and we rush down toward the great beast and our own shadow then –” (Page 118).
The Toruk symbolizes the fact that it is the last thing a Na’vi or something is attacking will see as it comes down for its kill or prey. This symbol is used to defeat the “sky people” when they are at war to destroy the tree of souls, which is where all memories and communications are kept. Moreover, the Toruk almost acts as a guardian to the Na’vi, but it is feared for taming reasons because the Toruk has killed a person before as it is very dangerous and hard to create a bond with it.
When the “war” against the sky people is taking place Jake decides to go and redeem himself to the Omaticaya clan. Within the script “Jake’s great flying leonopteryx flairs into its signature crimson X shape just before — K-Wham!! — it knocks a Scorpion tumbling. It coils around the gunship, slashing furiously as they spin together. Jake can barely hang onto the gyrating creature. ” (Page 133). Although the Toruk is hard to tame, it is well worshipped; the Toruk’s symbol is shown through the battle as it attacks and then that is the last thing seen.
The Toruk impacts the plot by foreshadowing that the war with the “sky people” was going to happen and the clans of Na’vi were going to go to war with them and that it was going to take a lot just to take down the “sky people” because they have weapons and machinery, which then leads to the help of the Toruk in the battle. The symbols of the Toruk and the Christ-like figure drive the plot as, the symbol of the bow shows the hierarchy of leadership within the clans. The bow symbolizes the transfer of power from the clan leader to his or her son or daughter; in this case, Eytukan passes the bow to his daughter as a transfer of power.
Daughter — take my bow. Protect the People. In his last living moment, he places his bow in her hands. She collapses over him, her face crumpling in grief,” (Page 110). The symbol of the bow shows that Neytiri, now in command, and the leader of the Omaticaya clan. Once the transfer of power happens the character begins to have to not only provide for themselves, but for the whole clan as they rule as one. Not only does the bow symbolize a transfer of power, but a growth in a character as Neytiri’s father died, she becomes to grow into a mature adult that will strongly lead her clan.
Neytiri is also given the responsibility to protect and ensure the safety of the clan as the leader, and the fact that she is a skilled archer and understands that the earth is very sacred as everything created is part of Eywa. With this transfer of power symbolized with the bow, the plot further shifts into actions. The actions throughout the hero’s journey are seen throughout the movie, the most significant part of the hero’s journey was the trials for Jake Sully not only did the trials propel the plot, but they show the hero, Jake Sully, and his development as a character.
The trials are on the initiates quest, he is challenged both physically and mentally to his or her limits, the tests are shown when he or she has growing and if they will become the hero. This is the most important part of the hero’s journey because they cause Jake to face many tasks including riding a dire horse, a horse that is larger and stronger, and an ikran, a dragon-like creature, but does not breathe fire. “The Banshees [Ikran]. They eye him as he approaches. Several shriek and take flight.
Others flap their wings and yawn, showing rows of fangs, in a threat display. ”(Page 71). Jake is now becoming not only aware, but understanding the world around him on Pandora as an Avatar and is beginning to appreciate the nature around him. This impacts the plot by showing that Jake is ready to be part of the Omaticaya clan and learn how to be a warrior. As well as becoming a warrior Jake becomes a stronger person on the inside and is able to use his whole body again as once he becomes an avatar his limbs that were once paralyzed are now able to be used.
This develops him as a character by showing his strength as a character that he can do anything, and he’ll do anything because he wants to be able to walk again making the trials the most important as Jake works hard to become part of the Omaticaya clan to become one of them and be the person he was before. In learning how to be a warrior, a mentor is used. Mentors who are there to help the hero along the way through their journey, a mentor that is a human that helps Jake understand the Na’vi and act like the Na’vi, Dr. Grace Augustine.
Dr. Grace Augustine helps impact the plot by helping Jake learn the Na’vi ways, traditions, what they worship, and their language. “[Grace] ‘Yeah — you’re gonna go ride a banshee. Or die trying. ’ [Jake] ‘That’s right, Grace. This is what I’ve been working for. ’ [Grace] And this is your check up from the neck up, Marine. You’re getting in way too deep. (she turns away) Trust me, I learned the hard way. ” (Page 67). Grace is trying to talk sense into Jake because at this time Grace and Jake were still on the side of their people, the humans, and not yet on the side of the Na’vi for keeping the home tree alive.
Grace and Jake become part of the Na’vi plot when they seem to notice that the Na’vi are in danger which originally was not the motives of the “sky people”. Once, Grace and Jake change sides for the things that the military was doing Grace and Jake develops a family-like relationship in which they have each other’s backs, and want to keep each other alive and the Na’vi. This provides the fact that Grace had helped Jake understand the way of the Na’vi. Another mentor that eventually turned into the star-crossed lover was Neytiri. She was the character who impacted him the most and helped give action and direction for Jake to rise as the hero.
Neytiri taught Jake the beliefs of the Na’vi and how to ride creatures and find his way around, for example, a bow, riding the dire horse and, the Ikran. Not only did Neytiri do these things, but she pushed him to be the best so that he could become a part of the clan; knowing these survival skills are key to surviving in the area of Pandora that the Omaticaya clan lives. “[Neytiri] (whispering) ‘“Now you choose your ikran. This you must feel — inside. If he also chooses you, move quick, like I showed. You will have one chance. ’ [Jake] ‘How will I know if he chooses me? ’ [Neytiri] ‘He will try to kill you. ”(Page 71).
Neytiri is helping Jake by letting him know how the Ikran will choose him. This propels the plot because it is where Jake becomes fully a part of the Omaticaya clan and understands what he is doing, and ultimately changes his choices as a hero. Neytiri and Jake have their own plot as they are not supposed to be a couple, so to speak, as Eywa has already chosen which clan member will be Neytiri’s mate. In the movie Neytiri gave depth and understanding to the movie because she was a mentor who helped Jake understand and learn how to hunt and be a part of the clan through teaching him.
Neytiri as a mentor had an impact on Jake by not only becoming his love but guiding him be an amazing clan partner as she is a strong warrior herself. The archetypes presented through James Cameron’s Avatar create depth and understanding in the movies plot through the different archetypes found throughout the movie, including the hero’s journey and symbols, which enhance the overall plot and bring the conflict together by creating a more developed plot and characters.
While the plot and symbols enhance and propel the plot, the characters bring the plot together by developing the characters to grow, and take the leadership roles like hero or mentor through the movie itself. However, when symbols are used through the plot, they convey a deeper message and meaning to the story’s such as the wood sprites which conveyed the image of Christ on Jake and the bow which showed the transfer of power among a clan.
The movie Avatar mostly followed the traditional track of a hero’s journey, but it consisted of two different hero’s journeys, the Na’vi and the overall journey itself for Jake. Based on reading novels and stories or watching movies, that consist of a hero’s journey, that plot action cycle grabs the attention of the person or reader. Archetypes used in novels, stories, movies or any literary pieces help give a deeper meaning to the plot and through the hero’s journey and development characters.