Jean Louise to the Dark Tower Came

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Author: Debra Polesiak
Date: Spring-Summer 2016
From: Mythlore(Vol. 34, Issue 2)
Publisher: Mythopoeic Society
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 916 words

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TO BETTER UNDERSTAND HARDER LEE'S Go Set a Watchman (GSAW), one needs to understand Robert Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" and Joseph Campbell's spiritual journey of the hero. Perhaps a better title for Lee's new novel would be Jean Louise to the Dark Tower Came since Browning's poem is referenced five times; however, the biblical connection to the twenty-first chapter of Isaiah is also apparent, representing Jean Louise's conscience into her own identity. Browning and the Bible are clearly intertwined into GSAW that "only God and Robert Browning knew what she [Jean Louise] was likely to say" (Lee 20); however, upon deeper analysis, Joseph Campbell lays the pathway for both pieces of literature.

Robert Browning's poem exemplifies the hero's journey defined by Campbell as the monomyth (separation--initiation--return). The poem reveals the separation of a knight, Childe Roland, on a journey in search of the Dark Tower. Although told by the "hoary cripple" (1.2) which way to go, the narrator feels lied to, but he carries on with the initiation of the journey. He must overcome trials of a disastrous landscape: "As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair/ In leprosy; thin dry blades prick'd the mud/ Which underneath look'd kneaded up with blood" (1.73-75). As Campbell tells us, "Trials and revelations are what it's all about" (126). To help continue with the quest, Roland...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A453915642