Thelma & Louise Analysis

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Thelma & Louise Analysis

Post  Mattia Thillaye-Kerr on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:16 pm

Jungian Analysis for Thelma & Louise
by Mattia

Symbolic Archetype
The overlaying symbolic archetype is Entrapment vs. Freedom. Thelma and Louise both experience entrapment. Thelma experiences being entrapped in an unsatisfactory marriage. She is controlled by her husband, who attempts to squash her considerable spirit. He is uninterested in her in almost all ways, but refuses to give her freedom or show lenience with her. She is an object to be kept in order, and to be ordered around. Louise is entrapped by her own life style. She is very neat and organized and tries to control all aspects of her personal life because of a terrible past experience.
They are freed when Louise kills a man who attempts to rape Thelma in a bar parking lot. After breaking the social norm and committing murder, they no longer feel the constraints of normal life. They hit the road together, bound for Mexico, but not without creating havoc on the way. Thelma has extramarital sex with a hitch hiker and holds up a gas station, and Louise blows up a man’s truck after he makes lewd and unacceptable sexual remarks towards the two women. They are free from husbands, possessions and ultimately, the long arm of the law. Freedom ultimately triumphs over entrapment when Louise and Thelma agree to drive off a cliff into the Grand Canyon instead of turning themselves into the police and going to jail.

Situational Archetype
The most prominent situational archetype in Thelma & Louise is the Fall. Thelma and Louise go from being a repressed, though respectable housewife and a girlfriend and self sufficient waitress respectively, to outlaws whose crimes include murder, robbery, arson and destruction of property. They (especially Thelma) loose innocence but gain freedom. Although they are expelled from the norm and society, they are not ultimately punished. They choose their fate, and so defy it.

Character Archetypes

Thelma:

Thelma is a blend of several character archetypes. She is at once the Damsel in Distress, constantly needing rescue (by Louise) from her mistakes, vulnerable and child-like. She is also the Unfaithful wife, as she meets a handsome hitchhiker and later has sex with him. She is, of course, the Outcast, who has committed crimes against her fellow people (armed robbery and accessory to murder), and drives across the desert in search of freedom. Ultimately, she is the hero who seeks liberation, and dies a mysterious death after driving off the edge of the Grand Canyon, whose symbol is the hill.

Louise:

Louise is also several character archetypes. She is the hero in the same sense as Thelma, outcast from the community and dying a mysterious death at a great height. She is also an Outcast like Thelma but for crimes against her peers (murder and arson). She is also an Outcast because she is a Southern rape victim, and in religious communities, such as her area of Texas, rape victims are often rejected from the community. This distinction (imagined or not) may also cast her as a Scapegoat, whose hardship puts the communal flaws into perspective. She is also the Mentor to Thelma, who she guides and acts as a mother figure to.



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Synopsis of Thelma & Louise

Post  Mattia Thillaye-Kerr on Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:30 am

Thelma & Louise is a story of two women who abandon their regular lives after killing a man in a parking lot. They start out planning to go to a cabin on a fishing trip, and stop at a bar on their way. Thelma meets a man who attempts to rape her in the parking lot, and on discovering them, Louise shoots him. They then embark on a trip to escape the country to Mexico, creating havoc in their wake

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Post  Mr. C on Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:23 am

Mattia - great analysis on a great film. I agree with your choices, especially The Fall. How appropriate that the last moment consists of the two women and their car falling from a great height. I hadn't thought about this film in a long time, and now I'm thinking that perhaps the entire story is a journey into their Shadow...into their "wild side"...which in a partriarchal society many women usually suppress. Is the film saying that a woman who explores her Shadow is unfit for society. Also - do you think that perhaps Thelma and Louise are each others Animus? Hmmmm.....
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