Epic Hero Final

Tommy Tran ttt_42 at mail.utexas.edu
Thu Oct 19 01:13:50 CET 1995

This is the last part of my essay, consisting of two paragraphs (was so close to
the end, I just decided to send both.  The last installment will come tomarrow,
which is the Bibliography, in case any one is interested.
	Joseph Campbell describes the standard path of the mythological hero in 
three parts: separation, initiation, and return (Campbell 30).  Scrooge McDuck 
can truly have been said to undergo this initiation into the exhaled rank of 
hero.  His separation, the push from his ancestors; his initiation, his final 
success as he washes mud from a rock to discover gold; his return is his return 
to Castle McDuck.  Scrooge McDuck has successfully navigated the rites of 
passage required of a hero.  But, a epic hero is different in the respect that 
he must be seen as "representative of his or her culture" (Merchant).  Again, 
Scrooge delivers.  For what can be more capitalistically American than an 
immigrant who starts with a dime to his name, and becomes the richest duck in 
the world.  He represents the best and sometimes the worst of America.  In 
Bark's, "Only a Poor Old Duck", Scrooge explains to his nephews why he loves
money so much:
	"'Well, all this money means something to me! Every coin in here has a 
        story . . . You'd love your money, too, boys, if you got it the way I 
        did -- by thinking a little harder than the other guy -- by jumping a 
        little quicker --" (Barks 35-36)
Scrooge made his money through hard work, and he values it all.  Some would say 
too much, as he only pays his nephew Donald 30 cents an hour to help treasure 
hunt around the world.  At his worst, Scrooge sees all things as an exploit for 
making money.  At times it is evident that Scrooge has a romantic strain in
for as his sits eating his dinner during the Yukon winter:
	"This frontier is like so many others I've known -- unspoiled by the 
        ravages of man, still glorious and unsullied!  A man can face the world 
        on his own terms here!  Enjoy the fruits of his own labor!  Live in a 
        paradise of tranquillity and beauty and . . ." (Rosa 8:16)
Scrooge will never admit to this side of himself, and he continues: "BAH!
Talk!  When I find gold, I'll drain the creek with hydraulic mining, blast the 
mountains apart, and feed the trees to lumber mills"  (8:16).  We might boo 
Scrooge, if we weren't too busy laughing at him.  Sometimes, thought, his good 
side does get the best of him, even if it doesn't seem that way.  In "Back To 
the Klondike", Scrooge seems dead intent on collecting on a one thousand dollar 
debt (compounded daily, totaling 1 billion dollars) from an old acquaintance, 
Glittering Goldie.  Though he gets a faraway look in his eyes when he mentions 
her name, he swear that he is thinking of the billion dollars.  In the end, he 
forces her into a contest to absolve the debt, and loses.  In the last
frame, we 
learn, despite all his indignation, that Scrooge threw the contest ("Back to
Klondike" 7-8).  For some reason or another, people who read Scrooge comics 
can't help an ever so slight sense of awe for a duck who made his money "by 
being tougher than the toughies, and smarter than the smarties!  And I made it 
square" ("Only a Poor Old Man" 1)! Scrooge appeals to the American pioneer 
spirit, and the sense of fair play that the generation that first read him grew 
up with.
	Despite literary comparison and analysis, the true test of an epic is 
its durability in time.  Scrooges mark shows up in many place.  Film director 
George Lucas drew much of inspiration and style from the pages of Carl Bark's 
comics (Cocks 78).  In an excerpt from Paul Preuss' "Starfire" novel, a den is 
describe containing all manner of items including "gold coins framed under
. . . books about crystal, about china, about antique furniture . . . and Uncle 
Scrooge comic books -- about every class of object worth collecting" (Cross
 But the most telling evidence comes from the fans who devotedly write to the 
comic's mail page; from a fan who once told Barks: "I just want to shake your  
hand and tell you that you made my childhood much happier with your stories" 
(Boatner A-57); and of all the parents who fondly remember the comic, and thank 
Carl Barks and Uncle Scrooge for helping their children to start reading all 
those other epics.

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