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The Outlaw Josey Wales Essay, Research Paper

Dyin’ ain’t much of a living

The movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales, is an epic tale of a man who lost all that mattered and now seeks revenge on the people that took it. The movie can be viewed as a typical revenge story, however it works at other levels too. After having his first family taken, he searches for something to offer him that comfort again. Josey Wales, the main character travels through the epic cycle of losing everything, but at the end gaining it all back in another form.

In the beginning of the movie we are throw into a horrible scene where renegade Union soldiers kill Wales family and burn down his house. Obviously this is symbolic of his death as a farmer and his current life. We then see him sifting through the charred remains of his house, and lift a silver colored gun out of the black ashes. At this point he is reborn as a vengeful Josey Wales from the ashes of hatred and death. For now his sole purpose in living is to seek revenge on the people that took his pervious life away from him.

Josey still needs a sense of unity, which a family brings. Jamie provided him this feeling of wholeness. However Jamie was shot, and slowly died. Ultimately his death brings Josey back to the beginning of his epic cycle. The period that Josey spends in the wilderness after losing his families is serves as the unconscious part of the cycle. During the dark phase is when most of the fighting occurs. Josey never killed without reason, and for that he kept the image of the hero intact.

Laura Lee serves as the goddess in the epic cycle. Laura is what Josey needs to complete his search for family. By spending the night together, his past is cleaned from his mind. Laura also instills hope and a new credence.

By the end of the movie Josey has found a new family. The fact he did not spit on the floor of the house displays that he respects it as a dwelling place for his new family. In addition to this, the dog is shown helping out. Typically the dog is a symbol of domestication, which in turn deems their new house a true home.

Everyone disires the same fundamental wants. Josey was a man searching for love and family after his original was taken away. By travelling the epic cycle he accomplished this. This is one of the dominate levels of meaning in the movie.


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