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Archetypal Analysis of the Movie - Contact

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Throughout the movie Contact, there are two plot patterns that are clearly displayed. These two plot patterns are romance and irony. There are certain archetypal characters in the movie that have a certain role in relation to the plot patterns and these characters are used to develop the plot and theme. There are also archetypal symbols throughout the movie and they perform the same function as the archetypal characters. The shadow in the movie presents itself within Ellie’s mind and its function is to represent darkness and a unideal world. The persona and the animus also present themselves through Ellie, they help develop the plot of irony and romance.

Firstly, I will talk about the plot pattern of romance and its characteristics in the movie. The movie dwells on the birth and parentage of the lead character Ellie. Ellie is the hero of the movie and she has an origin shrouded in mystery, this can be seen at the start of the movie while she is with her dad playing with a telescope and looking into the sky, she says: “Dad, could we talk to mom?”. This shows that her mom is either dead or gone but we as the audience are not exactly sure what happened to her. Ellie’s true father appears as wise and kind, and his role is to teach Ellie his knowledge of science,radios and the universe. When Ellie is young and before her dad died, he is constantly trying to teach Ellie all of his knowledge so she can grow up to be a intellectual individual. Her dad is always bringing her outside and using their telescope and he explains what she is looking at, for example what planets she sees. He also teaches her how to use a radio and transmit signals. It is clear that her father’s teachings had a large influence on her because she ends up being a scientist whose main passion is directed to finding life somewhere else in the universe beyond Earth and she tries to achieve this by listening to radio waves. The hero for the duration of the film is Ellie and she traverses through the archetypal hero’s quest. She goes through a perilous journey, a crucial struggle and tests in which she proves herself which results in her being extremely proud. Ellie is a brilliant scientist but people think she is wasting her time and talents and they think she is delusional for trying to find another life form. David Drumlin who was Ellie’s boss and who funded her research program pulled the plug on the operation and said to Ellie: “One... there is intelligent life out there, but you'll never contact it in your lifetime, and two... TWO! There's nothing out there but noble gases and carbon compounds, and you're wasting your time. In the meantime, you won't be published, you won't be taken seriously and your career will be over before it's begun”! This is just an example of how even the people who were closest to Ellie and had a part of her research did not believe it was possible for her to achieve her goal. This does not discourage Ellie though and she kept on trying to accomplish the exact same thing as before. Eventually, through tremendous hard work and never giving up even though more and more people started to doubt her, Ellie found a trace of evidence of extraterrestrial life. Ellie’s discovery lead to one of the biggest discoveries in history but more importantly she finally achieved her life’s purpose and proved herself to everyone who didn’t believe in her. This leads to her being extremely happy. Also, during Ellie’s hero’s quest she disappears while the travels to space in the pod. When she comes back, she feels rebirthed due to the fact that she just went through a life changing experience that consisted of her meeting a Alien who took the shape of her father and she talked to this Alien. After this journey her overview on life changes. Ellie goes through the typical romance pattern of progressing towards self fulfillment. Throughout the movie she is progressing towards victory over an enemy and this enemy are the people who doubt her capabilities of a scientist to discover another for of human life. When David Drumlin says Ellie is wasting her life by trying to make this discovery, she responds by saying: “So What! It’s my life”. This shows that she is determined to make this discovery because it would fulfill her life and she won’t stop until she reaches this fulfillment. Ellie is also progressing towards an acquired treasure and the treasure is the fame and the recognition she will receive if she does in fact make the discovery of aliens. After Ellie makes the discovery which fulfills her, this achievement establishes a new social identify for her. After her work is proven and the whole world knows about what she has done, she transforms into a new social identity of the person who is responsible for making the most groundbreaking discovery in history. She went from being a normal person who was just very smart to being a famous scientist that everyone

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