Monday, August 22, 2005

A Brief Look

When I first began reading the Dark Tower I realized that King was drawing from sources unknown to my twelve year old mind. It would be later on, after studying on my own the works of Joseph Campbell and the religions of the world that I began to see the immensity of the work King was producing. Joseph Campbell, in his work The Hero with a Thousand Faces, that,
"This popular motif gives emphasis to the lesson that the passage of the threshold is a form of self-annihilation...But here, instead of passing outward, beyond the confines of the visible world, the hero goes inward, to be born again."
This quote reflects Roland Deschain, King of Gilead, Last of the Gunslingers of Arthur Eld, Protector of the White. In his long search to see what is in the Dark Tower he forgets that what is most important is not what is inside the Tower, but what he gained outside it. He, in essence, and quite literally, annihilates himself to be born again, thus beginning and ending the Cycle that is the Tower.
Campbell also says that,
"His flowering world becomes a wasteland of dry stones and his life feels meaningless...Whatever house he builds, it will be a house of death..."
Which is what Roland creates inside the Dark Tower, which is the Nexus of all time but also the nexus of our lives. So what he created was death and misery and that is all he sees within the superstructure of the Dark Tower. Because of his choices he is resurrected, not for the first time, God only knows how many times it has been, and what we are given is only one such cycle. Campbell says "The hero has died as a modern man; but as eternal man-perfected, unspecific, universal man-he has been reborn."
Which is where the Gunslinger begins, with Roland being reborn at the true beginning of his journey, in the Mohaine Desert. The land is harsh and so are the choices that, as a reader of the books already knows, Roland will need to make.
Next: The Stories that Connect...


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