Master of Liberal Studies Research Papers

Date of Award


Document Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)


Critical analyses of major works such as The Grapes of Wrath or To Kill a Mockingbird are legion and easy to find. However, analyzing a literary work of merit that has never been critically interpreted is a challenging task requiring creativity and a deep understanding of the novel. The plot of Angel Fire by Ron Franscell 1998 follows the hero's journey model first explored by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces 1953. Franscell uses that model both as as an overall frame and in stories-within-the-story, incorporating short, widely varying vignettes throughout his overall plot, which ultimately explicates the power of storytelling in our lives. These stories, with their mythic roots, are carefully incorporated into the novel's subtext and combined with numerous intriguing details to make Angel Fire a novel that has a timeless quality. My analysis of Franscell's work breaks down the novel into the stages of Campbell's hero's journey, examines the different stories that Franscell tells in the book and their purpose, and looks at the meanings to be found in the names he uses. I also discuss the book's authenticity, the autobiographical influences to be seen, and the themes to be found in the book. Ultimately, it can be seen that Franscell was successful in achieving his goal of telling a timeless story that is one of merit and one that readers can make personal connections with and enjoy, long after the novel has been finished.


Copyright 2010 Mary Franscell


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