"I'm Spider-Man"

:Or a little armchair literary theory for your Sunday morning.

I have two degrees in textual analysis, based largely on psychoanalytic and structuralist and post-structuralist theories of meaning, which is all bullshit in the end because meaning is always contextual. 

And so, in light of the failure of big words and pseudoscience to explain the human condition, I turn to my favorite source of wisdom: comic books. (Or movies based on them.)

(I've said before that I would rather children learned morals from Marvel than from the Bible, and that remains true. Even if, as JL pointed out, "with great power comes great responsibility" is actually a paraphrase of a Bible passage, the Marvel moral philosophy is not cluttered with teachings that run counter to that lovely sentiment. )

But the quote I'm thinking of this morning is from the end of one of the Toby McGuire Spider-Man movies, though I forget which one. It ends with Peter in English class where his teacher sums up all literature as asking the question, "Who am I?" 

That statement is brilliant and simple and true. All stories, whether comic books or "great literature" come down to asking that question. Who is the protagonist? Whether the plotted events of the story change the hero, or reveal his true nature, or break him, or fail to change him at all, the story is, at its most basic, about who he is. 

Something to keep in mind for this month of marginal, uncommitted participation in #NaNoWriMo.

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