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Media and the myth of Diana

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Title:
Media and the myth of Diana
Creator:
Harris, Bridgid O'Neil
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
viii, 86 leaves : ; 29 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Mass media and public opinion ( lcsh )
Mass media -- Influence ( lcsh )
Journalism -- Technique ( lcsh )
Mass media -- Methodology ( lcsh )
Journalism -- Technique ( fast )
Mass media ( fast )
Mass media and public opinion ( fast )
Mass media -- Influence ( fast )
Mass media -- Methodology ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 81-86).
Thesis:
Communication and theatre
Statement of Responsibility:
by Bridgid O'Neil Harris.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
40283088 ( OCLC )
ocm40283088
Classification:
LD1190.L48 1998m .H37 ( lcc )

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Full Text
MEDIA AND THE MYTH OF DIANA
by
Bridgid O' Neil Harris
B.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1991
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
In partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Communication and Theater
1998


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Bridgid O'Neil Harris
has been approved
by
Michael Monsour
H-27-48
Date


Harris, Bridgid O'Neil (M.A., Communication and Theater)
Media and the Myth of Diana
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Michael Monsour
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this thesis is to answer two research
questions: (1) Can the media create new, instant myths?; and (2) If
the media can create new, instant myths, what strategies do they use
to create these myths? The media's coverage after Princess Diana's
death of her life and death were chosen as the data to be analyzed
in answering the research questions. Literature concerning myth was
explored and a new definition of myth proposed. This definition is
composed of two dimensions: form and function. The definition,
briefly stated, is that myth is a "true" story, a heroic story,
occurring outside of normal time and outside of the normal world,
and containing archetypes and archetypal language. Myth fulfills
four functions: a social function, an understanding function, a
personal function, and a mystical function. The requirements of
form and some of the requirements of functions must be met in order
for a story to be judged mythic. Literature about symbolic
convergence was also reviewed and the lens of symbolic convergence
was used to view the development of myth and to evaluate strategies
used by the media in presenting Diana's story.
in


Based on the analysis, I judged the story of Diana to be a
myth. The story of Diana, as presented by the media, was considered
to be a "true" story. The media presented Diana as a hero, from a
feminist perspective. She was also presented as the mother/earth-
goddess archetype. The time of the story was judged to be mythic
because of the media's distortion of normal time, and the locations
where her story occurred, to be mythic based on the symbolic power
associated with them. Symbolic convergence was judged to have
occurred because of the development and use of code words and
because of the world-wide emotional response to Diana's death. The
strategies used by the media in creating the myth of Diana were
determined to be repetition, juxtaposition, word and phrase choice
in the media narration, and world-wide broadcasting of the important
rituals of Diana's life.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's
thesis. I recommend its publication.
Signed
Michael Monsour
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis, with love, to my husband, Gerald, for all of
the help, support, understanding, and encouragement he gave me while
I was writing this.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
My thanks to Michael Monsour, my advisor, for all of his patience,
help, and encouragement during the past several years. And thank
you also to Sonja Foss and Samuel Betty for their help and support.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION.......................................1
Overview of the Analysis........................2
Research Questions...........................2
Artifacts to be Analyzed.....................3
Contribution and Importance of
the Analysis.................................4
Organization of the Thesis...................4
2. DESCRIPTION OF THE ARTIFACTS.......................6
The Artifacts...................................6
The Context for the Artifacts...................6
3. LITERATURE REVIEW..................................8
Myth............................................8
Myth as a Type of Speech.....................9
Review and Analysis of
Myth Based on Rowland's Definition..........13
Functions of Myth...........................13
The Form of Myth............................18
Arguments Against Rowland's
Definition of Myth..........................23
Myth and Narrative..........................25
New Definition of Myth......................27
Symbolic Convergence Theory....................29
vii


General Information........................29
Symbolic Interaction, Fantasy Themes, and
Rhetorical Visions.........................31
Fantasy Chains.............................35
Mass Media and Symbolic Convergence........36
4 ARTIFACT ANALYSIS..................................37
DianaHer Story................................37
Diana's Story as Myth..........................49
Diana as a "True" Story....................49
Diana as a Hero............................50
Time and Location..........................57
Diana as Archetype.........................58
Diana and the Functions of Myth................64
Diana and the Social Function..............65
Diana and the Personal Function............67
Diana the Myth.................................68
The Media and the Myth of Diana................69
Symbolic Convergence and the
Myth of Diana..............................69
Strategies and the Media's
Presentation of Diana......................71
5. SUMMARY.............................................77
BIBLIOGRAPHY..............................................81
viii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Today, when a person hears or reads the word myth, what often
comes to mind are classic Greek myths such as those of Zeus and
Hera; Homer's Iliad and Odyssey; or Native American myths such as
the Navajo myths of the White Shell Woman and the Changing Woman.
Today, the term myth can mean "fiction"myths can be thought of as
"made-up" stories having nothing to do with reason or with
understanding ourselves or our history (Robertson, 1980). However,
all who study myth agree that myth is a powerful force in society.
Malinowski states: "Myth is ... a vital ingredient of human
civilization, it is not an idle tale, but a hard-working active
force" (1954, p. 101) There is an "intimate connection . .
between the word, the mythos, the sacred tales of a tribe . and
their moral deeds, their social organizations, and even their
practical activities" (Malinowski, 1954, p. 96) .
Levi-Strauss (1978) posits that myths make individuals aware
of their roots in and their responsibilities to their society.
Robertson argues that "if we would understand our world, or anyone
else's, we must understand its myths as well asindeed as a part
ofits realities" (1980, p. xvi). He also notes that the "truth"
about America lies both in its myths and its realities. This could
be said about any country, culture, or society. Myths define a
society's customs and help answer its problems (Rowland, 1990a).
1


Myths ground cultures and societies (Campbell, 1991c). A
people's myths are an important part of their culture; myths are a
means of communicating values and creating "realities." The power
and influence of myth on society make myth an exciting and important
process deserving of serious study.
Overview of the Analysis
Research Questions
In this study, I will attempt to answer the following research
questions:
Research Question 1. Can the media create new, instant
myths?
Research Question 2. If the media can create new, instant
myths, what strategies do they use to
create these myths?
The topic chosen to answer the research questions is the media
coverage of the life and death of Diana, Princess of Wales. This
topic was chosen for the study for several reasons. The first
reason is the strong emotional response to the death of Diana,
suggesting that people viewed her as more than "just a person."
This response may be a result of media coverage following the death
of Diana, changing her from a common person into a mythical
creature. The second reason is the time frame related to Diana's
death. Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, or Martin Luther King, Jr.,
for example, all elicited strong emotional responses to their death;
however, quite a number of years have gone by since their deaths, so
2


to judge if the myths were "immediate" or the result of time and
assimilation into the history of the culture would be difficult.
The third reason is that Diana is a woman. Most myths today have
heroes who are men, as in the myths of the men mentioned above, but
there are few current social myths about women.
Symbolic convergence theory was chosen as the lens from which
to view the media coverage of Diana's story. This theory examines
the ways in which individuals' interpretations of signs, events, and
human action can merge to form a social or group interpretation of
the same sign, event, or action. Symbolic convergence theory views
communication from the perspective of humans as storytellers;
because myth is a type of narrative or story, it is an appropriate
theory to use in examining the creation of a myth.
Artifacts to be Analyzed
To answer the research questions, a number of articles about
Diana from Newsweek, Time, and People magazines were analyzed. The
issues examined were published after the death of Princess Diana.
The magazines included regular issues from September 8 and September
15 of 1997 and commemorative or special collector's issues from the
fall of 1997. Photographs in these magazine issues also were
included in the analysis. An official BBC commemorative videotape
provided perspective on the television media's treatment of Diana.
3


Contribution and Importance of the Analysis
Because of the power of myth (Campbell, 1991c; Malinowski,
1948); the importance of myth in societies (Robertson, 1980); the
many functions myths perform (Campbell, 1991b; Rowland, 1990a); and
the influence of the mass media on society, exploring the news
media's ability to create myths is important. If the news media can
create myths, their impact on and ability to influence societies and
cultures may be greater than previously believed. Analysis of the
news media's productions as possible new myths could increase the
ability of communication researchers to understand changes in
society's values, attitudes, and "realities," much as the work of
Rushing (e.g., 1983) and Rushing and Frentz (1995), in mythic movie
analysis, has added to rhetoric's base of knowledge. The study also
will add another view to the debate over the definition of myth
initiated by Rowland with what he referred to as his "narrow,
functional/structural" (1990a, p. 101) definition for myth.
Organization of the Thesis
In this thesis, I first will provide a brief overview of the
artifacts being analyzed. Next, I will review the literature of
myth, provide a definition of myth, and provide a brief review of
symbolic convergence theory. The artifacts will be analyzed, and
the definition of myth, presented in this paper, will be used to
determine if a myth of "Diana" has been created. Next, I will
explore possible ways in which the media created the myth. Finally,
4


I will summarize the analysis and discuss implications for the
future study of myth and the media.
5


CHAPTER 2
DESCRIPTION OF THE ARTIFACTS
The Artifacts
The artifacts analyzed in this study were a number of articles
about Diana, Princess of Wales, from Newsweek, Time, and People
magazines, published after the death of Diana. Photographs from the
same magazines were included in the analysis. In addition to the
print media, an official BBC commemorative videotape provided a
perspective of the television media's treatment of Diana. These
artifacts were chosen for this study because I believe them to be
representative of the type of coverage concerning Diana found in the
print and television media.
The Context for the Artifacts
Diana's death occurred after an adult life spent in the public
eye, not only of England but also of the world. This coverage began
in July of 1980, when she began dating Prince Charles, and
intensified after their official engagement on February 24, 1981.
The July 29, 1981, "fairy tale" wedding, attended by 2,500 guests,
was telecast live and was watched by an estimated 750 million people
around the world (Royal Wedding, 1997). Around 47,000 letters of
congratulations and 10,000 wedding gifts were received (Royal
Wedding, 1997). The media coverage was constant and intense;
6


Diana's relationships, not only with Charles but also with all
members of the royal family, her family, and her friends were
scrutinized. She had no "private life." Her roles as mother, wife,
and royal princess were reviewed and commented about in the world
media. Paparazzi constantly followed her. All of Diana's personal
and marriage problems were broadcast throughout the world. After
her divorce from Charles, the world's attention turned to her
struggle to overcome her problems and her triumphs over them, her
emphasis on her children, and her focus on her work for such causes
as AIDS, poverty, and land mines. The media covered even her style
of clothes. Diana died (or as some believe, was killed by the
paparazzi) at a time when people saw her as "just coming into her
own"she was in a happy relationship with Dodi Fayed, she had
become a spokesperson for several important causes and was beginning
to have a positive worldwide impact on these causes, and she was
spending time with and enjoying her children. In this context, the
artifacts analyzed occurred.
7


CHAPTER 3
LITERATURE REVIEW
The literature review explores two areas. The first area
examined is literature concerning myth. The second area is
literature about symbolic convergence theory.
Myth
Sykes (1970) stated that the mythic whole is greater than the
sum of its parts; it cannot be broken down. He added that "any
attempt to analyze and describe myth must necessarily be inadequate
but the attempt must be made nevertheless (1970, p. 20). My attempt
to define myth will begin with a literature review of myth as a type
of speech. Then I will review and analyze definitions of myth based
on the functions myths perform for the people who believe in them
and will explore the form required for mythic narrative. This
review and analysis will be based on Rowland's (1990a) definition.
Then I will present arguments against Rowland's (1990a) definition
of and standard for the use of myth in rhetorical analysis. A
review of myth and its relationship to narrative will follow.
Finally, I will offer a new definition of myth based upon the
literature review.
8


Myth as a Type of Speech
Saussure and Myth, Saussure, although his work was not
directly related to myths, is important in the study of myth as
language. Sections of his theory have been used in establishing
methods for defining and interpreting myths (e.g., Levi-Strauss,
1963; Barthes, 1972).
Saussure presented the theory of the linguistic sign, defining
it and its components. The linguistic sign is "a two-sided
psychological entity" (Bally & Sechehaye, 1966, p. 66) composed of
the signified and the signifier. The signified is the concept or
mental image the source wants the receiver to understand. The
signifier is the sound image (or written image) of the signified.
The sign is the union of the signified and the signifier (Bally &
Sechehaye, 1966) based on "the associative total of the first two
terms" (Barthes, 1972, p. 113). For example, the signified would be
a mental image of a tree, the signifier would be the spoken word
tree, and the combination of the mental image and the sound image
form the sign that could be understood by a person using the same
linguistic sign system to mean the actual tree itself.
Barthes and Myth. Barthes (1972) contends that myth is a type
of speech, a system of communication, and a manner of signification
that includes but is not limited to oral speech, painting,
photography, and objects. He argues that because of this, myth
should be considered a part of Saussure's science of signs,
semiology. He states that "[m]yth is not defined by . its
message, but by the way in which it utters this message: there are
9


formal limits to myth, there are no substantial ones" (Barthes,
1972, p. 109). Anything can be a myth because what makes it a myth
is the manner in which it is communicated. In other words, the form
makes the myth, not the message being communicated.
Barthes (1972) defines myth as composed of two semiological
systems. The first one, which he calls the language-object, is the
basic language that "speaks things" (p. 144) and that myth uses to
build its second-order semiological system. The second system,
referred to as the metalanguage, "speaks of things" (Barthes, 1972,
p. 144). The sign in the language-object system becomes a signifier
in the mythic or metalanguage system.
The mythic system, like Saussure's linguistic sign, is
composed of three parts: the form (similar to Saussure's
signifier), which is the sign from the language-object system; the
concept (similar to Saussure's signified); and the signification
(similar to Saussure's sign and consisting of the relationship
between form and concept). For example, the sign lion is the form,
the concept is courage, and the signification is the interaction
between courage and lion that causes the lion to become more than
just an animal. In Barthes' words, myth is the sign "laden . .
with a type of social usage which is added to pure matter" (Barthes,
1972, p. 109); the lion itself is the pure matter and the idea of
courage is the social usage of the term lion. Because myth is a
metalanguage, there are always two dimensions to it: there is the
dimension represented by the sign of the language-object, and there
is the dimension represented by the signification. Both of these
10


dimensions are present at all times; there is no contradiction
between them. They are alternative ways of interpretation. It is
the combination of these two dimensions that creates the myth.
Barthes notes that "any semiological system is a system of values;
now the mythic consumer takes the signification for a system of
facts" (1972, p. 131). In other words, the myth becomes a "true"
story.
Levi-Strauss and Myth. Levi-Strauss also viewed myth as a
language "functioning on an especially high level where meaning
succeeds at 'taking off' from the linguistic ground on which it
keeps rolling" (1963, p. 102). He saw myth as a language but,
unlike Barthes, he considered the substance or message of the
language to be an important part of myth and viewed language (or
signs) as a means to express the intangible by means of the
tangible.
Levi-Strauss created a "science of mythology," a method to
analyze myth structurally, and he searched for the "invariant
elements [of myth] among the superficial differences" (Levi-Strauss,
1978, p. 8) in primitive mythologies across the world. In order to
understand myth, he believed, it must be studied based on the
semantic field surrounding it (similar to Barthes' linguistic
system), on the culture of the peoples to whom it belongs, and in
relationship to other myths of the same culture and of other
cultures. A myth, in other words, cannot be studied in isolation.
Levi-Strauss (1969) viewed myths as secondary codes (similar
to Barthes' metalanguage), with the primary codes (Barthes'
11


language-object) being the substance of the language. The secondary
codes are "the best possible system of axioms and postulates
defining the best possible code, capable of conferring a common
significance on unconscious formulations which are the work of minds
[archetypes], societies, and civilizations chosen from among those
most remote from each other" and which "operate in men's minds
without their being aware of the fact" (Levi-Strauss, 1969, p. 12) .
Levi-Strauss posits that myths are composed of constituent
units of two types: gross constituent units, which are the shortest
possible sentences within a myth that consist of a relationship; and
true constituent units that are "bundles of such relationships"
(Levi-Strauss, 1963, p. 211). In order to compare the meaning of
myths from around the world, he broke myths down into their gross
constituent units and arranged these units in order based upon the
type of relationship within the unit. This allowed Levi-Strauss to
locate similar meanings and relationships within myths from
unrelated cultures.
In summary, Barthes considered the structure or form of the
myth as all important. Levi-Strauss, while considering myth a
system of signs, a view similar to Barthes', believed that while
form was important, the content of the myth is just as important.
It aids in determining if a narrative is a myth or "just a story."
Neither Barthes' nor Levi-Strauss' theory of myth, however,
considered the "work" that myths do for people who believe them.
12


Review and Analysis of Myth Based on Rowland's Definition
Rowland proposed a "narrow structural/functional approach to
myth" (1990a, p. 101) and offered a definition of myth based on both
the functions performed by myth and the form of myth. He argued
that the formal characteristics of myth should be used as a standard
for determining if mythic criticism is the appropriate criticism for
a rhetorical artifact. Thus began a debate among a number of
critics (i.e., Brummett, 1990; Osborn, 1990; Rushing, 1990; &
Solomon, 1990), arguing against this proposal. Their arguments will
be presented as part of the literature review. However, Osborn
stated that Rowland's definition promises help "in recognizing the
mythic presence" (1990, p. 121).
Rowland's (1990a) definition of myth will be used as the
"bones" for the literature review. The first section of the review
will cover mythic function, the second mythic form, the third
arguments against Rowland's proposed standard, and the fourth, myth
as a division of narrative. In the fifth section, I will present a
new definition of myth.
Functions of Myth
Rowland (1990a) states that the overall "work" or function
that myths perform is to answer "human problems that cannot be
answered discursively" (p. 102); to "define the good society and
solve problems, not subject to rational solution" (p. 102); and to
"transcend ordinary life and provide meaningful grounding for that
which cannot be supported rationally" (p. 103). Robertson (1980)
13


states that often, the problem solved by a myth is a contradiction,
and a "dramatic retelling [of the myth] provides a catharsis . .
which the participants in the myth take to be an explanation . .
of the original problem" (p. 6), making the problem seem resolved.
Myths provide individuals with concrete and specific examples
of abstract principles that the individual can use to solve problems
(Sykes, 1970). Rushing (1990), however, argues that myths do not
always present solutions for problems; sometimes, they simply
express or reveal problems, contradictions, or paradoxes that are a
part of the "shadow" side of a culture. Rowland (1990a) notes that
great ethos must be generated by a myth to fulfill the function of
solving problems, and the key to generating the power of ethos is in
the form of the myth.
Under this overarching function to answer or solve human
problems, myths work to structure society, make sense of the world,
and help people deal with psychological development and the crises
of life (Rowland, 1990a).
Social Function. Robertson (1980) argues that human societies
are not rational constructs. He states that, "All societies depend
for continuation, for their very existence, on common assumptions
common forms of communication, common referents for thoughts and
ideas, common patterns of behavior and ritual, and a common
inheritance" (Robertson, 1980, p. 17).
Myths help provide these commonalities. Myths create social
meanings (Osborn, 1990), and they support and validate "a certain
social order . [providing] the law of life as it should be in a
14


good society" (Campbell, 1991c, p. 39). Robertson (1980) states
that myths provide justification for a society's past because
society's ideals come from the past, expressed through myth. He
also states that myths provide explanations for "the origin of the
nation, its character, and the cohesiveness of its people"
(Robertson, 1980, p. 56). In order to understand a culture, its
myths need to be understood. Myths make individuals aware of their
roots in society and of their place within the group (Levi-Strauss,
1969), and they enforce moral order by molding the individual to
society's requirements (Campbell, 1991b).
The function of myth in society is not always positive.
Malinowski states that myths may be used "to account for
extraordinary privileges or duties, for greater social inequities,
for severe burdens of rank, whether this be very high or very low"
(1954, p. 84). Myths can function to "further the ends of a
particular person or group . [or] to enhance the power of a
privileged class" (Rushing & Frentz, 1995, p. 46). Also, a myth of
a "chosen people" can weaken or destroy a country or culture because
it divides individuals into the chosen and the unchosen (Campbell,
1988).
In summary, myth has more effects on society than simply to
structure it or to solve its problems. Myths also provide an
understanding of the society; justify its beliefs, ideals, and past;
further aims of groups within a society; and weaken or destroy a
society.
15


Understanding the World. Campbell (1991c) calls the function
of understanding the world the cosmological dimension of myth. It
is the scientific function, concerned with explaining the universe
and nature while maintaining its mystery. Myths provide
explanations for the origins of plants, animals, humans, and the
world (Beane & Doty, 1976). Malinowski (1954) states that myths can
explain natural events such as the movement of the sun or the phases
of the moon. Robertson (1980) suggests "that our belief in reason
and science is our myth" (p. xvi) because we believe in science as
"completely and absolutely" (p. xvi) as others have believed their
myths. Doty states, "Modern science as a worldview rests upon a
foundation (post-Cartesian) mythic story of reality, although this
story is precisely one that claims to be anything but mythical"
(1986, p. 61).
Personal Function. Campbell argues that the most important
function of myth is "to foster the centering and unfolding of the
individual in integrity, in accord with d) himself . c) his
culture . b) the universe . (and] a) that awesome ultimate
mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things"
(1991b, p. 6). Myths hold a mirror up to the "self" and show it as
it actually is (Campbell, 1991b). They show people how to live
their lives under any circumstances (Campbell, 1991c). Austin
states that "myth is the primary ground on which we articulate our
experience of ourselves in our social and natural environment"
(1990, p. 5). Eliade posits that myths provide models for human
behavior and give value and meaning to life (Beane & Doty, 1976).
16


Sykes states that myths can "convey a perception of a
situation (1970, p. 18), along with the values, beliefs, and
attitudes used to analyze it. Myths also communicate the emotions
aroused by the perceptionthe language of myth is emotive, not
scientific (Sykes, 1970).
Myths teach compassion"awakening of the heart from bestial
self-interest to humanity" (Campbell, 1991c, p. 201). Campbell
(1991c) also argues that myth asks people to be individuals who live
life from the heart, from humanity, and not from "programmed
political intentions" (p. 179). Rushing argues that female myths
help women to "get in touch with what they are, with being" (Crable,
1990, pp. 292-93).
Mystical Function. Although Rowland (1990a) does not include
a mystical function for myth, to include it is appropriate because
of the importance of spiritualism and religion to societies and to
individuals. Rushing and Frentz state that "(a] myth's purpose is
. . the communication of spiritual meaning" (1995, p. 46).
Campbell defines this functions as helping individuals to realize
"what a wonder the universe is, and what a wonder you are, and
experiencing awe before this mystery . the universe becomes .
. a holy picture" (1991c, pp. 38-39). Eliade argues that myths
represent genuine religious experiences because "one is seized by
the sacred, exalting power of the events recollected or reenacted"
(Beane & Doty, 1975, p. 6). Myths are considered as sacred and
revered, and represent "a statement of a primeval, greater, and more
17


relevant reality, by which the present life, fates, and activities
of mankind are determined" (Malinowski, 1954, p. 108).
The Form of Myth
In order to fulfill the various functions myths perform and to
produce the power of traditional myths, myths must follow a set of
five defining characteristics (Rowland, 1990a). If the set is not
complete, if "an ingredient is missing, the power of the myth is
diminished" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 103). The five defining
characteristics are, briefly, as follows:
1. Myths are "true" stories.
2. Myths' main characters must be heroic.
3. Myths occur outside of normal time.
4. Myths occur outside of the normal world.
5. Myths rely heavily on archetypal language.
These five characteristics will be individually examined.
"True" Stories. Myths are serious stories considered as
"true" by the people who tell them, although they are not
necessarily true in the historical sense but "'true' in a larger
sense" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 103). The power of the myth will
dissipate if this sense of truth is lost (Rowland, 1990a). The
Norse myths of Thor are examples of such dissipation; they are now
"just stories." Rowland adds, "someone might invent a myth, create
a myth and although it was not accepted as true at that point, this
person is clearly making a truth claim" (Crable, 1990, p. 284), and
this is different from a story told for fun. Rowland's statement
18


regarding "truth claims" allows for the consideration of the
creation of new myths.
Western scholars have accepted myth as a "true story," dealing
with reality, a story that is important, exemplary, and sacred
(Eliade in Beane & Doty, 1976). Malinowski states that myth is not
fiction, not a novel, but "a living reality, believed to have
happened in primeval times, and continuing ever since to influence
the world and human destinies" (1948, p. 100). There is a
difference between objective truth and "other kinds of truth
expressed in the important stories of our time" (Rushing, 1990, p.
139). These "other kinds of truth" can be about things such as how
to live a "good life" and how to fit into society.
Heroes in Myth. "Myths must be heroic in order to fulfill
their function" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 104) of serving as "a model for
social action (p. 104). The greater the evil that must be overcome,
the greater the power of the myth. Rushing (1990) notes that if
some myths function to reveal problems, not solve problems, these
myths require an anti-hero; one example she provides is the monster
in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. Rowland does not address the concept
of anti-heroes or the concept of demons. If there is a hero in a
myth, there is also, as the hero's counterpart, a need for a demon
(Osborn, 1990).
Campbell (1991c) suggests that there may be only one
archetypal hero who has been replicated in many forms throughout
mythology. This hero is usually the founder of somethinga new
age, a new church, a new way of doing things, and the like. In
19


order to do this, the hero must go on a quest, leaving the old and
searching for the new. Moyers notes that the hero's journey is
about overcoming and controlling the "dark passion" (in Campbell,
1990x, p. xiii) within him or herself.
Today, national figures and "superstars" are the heroes in
social myths. They are viewed as "set apart from ordinary human
beings" (Robertson, 1980, p. 7) while, at the same time, serving as
models for social life (Robertson, 1980). Campbell asserts that a
person who is a model "for other people's lives . has moved into
the sphere of being mythological" (1991c, p. 20) and that a "public
hero is sensitive to the needs of his time" (1991c, p. 164).
Solomon argues that not all myths require "heroes conquering
evil." Such a dimension suggests a competitive game, which is not
the way many women approach tasks (Crable, 1990). There is a need
and a place for woman-as-hero in today's mythology.
Time. Myths usually occur "outside of normal historical time"
(Rowland, 1990a, p. 104) or in a time that has been changed into a
mythical time because of the power associated with it, such as the
Revolutionary War and the beginning of the United States. Rowland
has support for this from Eliade, who states: "Myth narrates a
sacred history; it relates an event that took place in . the
fabled time of 'beginnings'" (Beane & Doty, 1976, p. 3) Myths occur
outside of normal time because they require a time of quality and
power not found in normal time (Eliade in Beane & Doty, 1976).
Mythic logic does not follow the normal perception of time.
"Historical time may be telescoped .... [E]vents that actually
20


took place years apart are often juxtaposed and given an
association" (Robertson, 1980, p. 56). Such a juxtaposition could
allow the creation of myths that did occur in historic time by
altering the historic time and creating "mythic time."
Location. "[M]yths usually occur outside of the normal world
or in a real place possessing special symbolic power, such as
Jerusalem" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 104). Although little has been
written about myths occurring outside of the normal world, many
myths do occur in special, symbolic places such as Jerusalem, Mount
Olympus, and sacred sites from Native American mythology. Eliade
asserts that many cultures have sacred places that are believed to
be the "Center of the World," a world created for them by their gods
in the time of "beginnings" (Eliade, 1987).
Archetypes. Myths rely on "archetypal language, functioning
as 'archetypal dreams'" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 104). Rowland states,
"[B]ecause archetypes function as the most powerful symbols in a
society it makes sense that they would be present in myth" (1990a,
p. 104). Jung states that archetypes in myth are only conscious
representations of the primitive characteristics that formed the
original or prehistoric mind of humans. Archetypes are "mental
forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the
individual's own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and
inherited shapes of the human mind" (Jung, von Franz, et al., 1964,
p. 57). They are "unconscious manifestations of the organs of the
body and their powers" (Campbell, 1991c, p. 60) and are inherited in
21


much the same manner as the organs of the body have evolved and the
characteristics are inherited.
The unconscious creates forms from the content of the mind,
and these forms are similar for all minds which may be why many
similarities can be found in myths world-wide (Levi-Strauss, 1963).
Austin (1990) could be considered as supporting the theory of Levi-
Strauss. Austin posits that "imagination, a plastic medium,
receives impressions from archetypal forms of nature, and by an
active force realizes the impressions in its own forms, as images,
symbols, and ideas" (1990, p. 5). Myths become "the ground of the
numinous archetypes" (Austin, 1990, p. 6).
Campbell (1991c) offers for consideration a countertheory of
diffusion to the theory of archetypes for the similarities found in
myths throughout the world. The countertheory suggests that myths
could develop from the way in which cultures relate to the world and
to their means of survival, and would be spread throughout the world
based on migration of individuals or groups. For example, an
agricultural society would develop myths related to the growing of
crops. As individuals from that society migrated, they would carry
their mythology with them. This countertheory, however, would not
account for finding similar mythic structures in a hunting society
(Campbell, 1991c).
Archetypes are expressed in the symbols available to a society
(Rushing, 1990). Cultuietypes are a reflection of archetypes
(Osborn, 1990) and are "culture-specific symbols that resonate
important values" (Osborn, 1990, p. 123). Osborn suggests that
22


archetypes and culturetypes support and complete each other, with
"culturetypes expressing the special values and meanings of a
society [and] archetypes anchoring the cultural system in enduring
meaningfulness" (1990, p. 123), reminding people of their humanity.
Arguments Against Rowland* s Definition of Myth
Rowland (1990a, 1990b) argued for one definition of myth and
the use of that definition as a standard for determining if mythic
criticism should be used to analyze rhetorical artifacts. Only
those artifacts that meet all points in his definition could be
analyzed using myth, thus preventing the powerful form of myth from
becoming common usage (anything could be considered mythic) and from
being misapplied (finding complex interpretations for artifacts
where a simple explanation is enough). Osborn (1990) argues that
Rowland's is a narrow-minded approach that would discourage critics
"from finding a muted yet still important mythic presence in works
that are not predominantly mythic" (p. 124) and would curtail
creative discoveries.
Rushing (1990) argues that to follow Rowland's limited
application would create a "sterile form of criticism" (p. 136) and
would not allow for new myths. She also states that the
believability requirement ignores the role of the unconscious.
Because a myth need not be considered true historically, it could be
believed as true subjectively, stemming from archetypes and the
unconscious. Rushing states that the "real danger [in Rowland's
standard] lies in reducing this infinitely rich field of study to a
23


unidimensional one and in confining critical insight to what is
empirically verifiable" (1990, p. 147).
Brummett (1990) argues that myth as a category for rhetorical
criticism needs to remain flexible, and Rowland's standard would
prevents such flexibility. He adds that Rowland's view implies
"that myth is like religion" (p. 134). Campbell would agree with
Brummett's position; he states, "mythology is very fluid. Most of
the myths are self contradictory . [and] . then theology
comes along and says it has got to be just this way" (1991c, p.
174) .
Solomon (1990) also argues against Rowland, comparing myth to
language and stating that if each word had only one meaning we would
lose "all the richness and subtlety of language and reduce it to the
sterility of mathematics" (p. 117). She states that simplicity is
not always the best interpretation for an artifact; "complex and
sophisticated interpretations can and often do reveal new facets"
(p. 118). Solomon adds that there is no one single meaning to each
text; each person finds her or his own meaning.
Based on the above arguments, a rigid application of a
definition and standard in the field of mythic criticism is very
limiting. However, defining myth and applying that definition
flexibly to artifacts avoids the problems presented above. In
addition, because part of the definition of myth is that it is a
semiological system, which, according to Barthes (1972), means that
anything can be a myth, depending upon how it is communicated and
24


the nature of the interaction between the form and the concept,
mythic criticism can be broadly applied.
Myth and Narrative
In Fisher's (1989) narrative paradigm, human nature is
described as that of the storyteller. He refers to humans as homo
narrans. Inherent in homo narrans is their awareness of narrative
probability and narrative fidelity. Narrative probability is the
ability to judge the coherence of a story. Narrative fidelity is
the ability to judge the truth of the story when compared to other
stories known to be true (Fisher, 1989). Because myth is one type
of narrative, in order to have a myth that endures, it necessarily
would need to be judged to be both coherent and true.
Myth is but one type of narrative and, because the
distinctions among categories of narrative are often blurred, the
categorization of narratives will be explored. Rowland (1990a,
1990b) divides narrative into three categories: mythsstories as
defined by Rowland (1990a); folk talesstories telling of
"fantastic events" but that are not considered "true"; and social
narrativesstories considered true and that lack mythic form as
defined by Rowland.
The problem with Rowland's classification is identified by
Rushing and supported by Fisher's narrative paradigm. Rushing
states that narrative is the "genus from which other species are
derived" (1990, p. 142); therefore, narrative cannot be a class of
narrative. Rushing (1990) divides narratives into the following
25


classifications: archetypal myth, cultural myth, fables, folk
tales, and fairy tales. While I agree with Rushing's divisions, I
think that archetypal and cultural myths can be considered as one
classification with two sub-categories. These classifications of
narrativemyth, fable, folk tales, and fairy talesalong with a
brief description of each classification follow.
Myths are a classification of narrative considered "true"
stories because they concern individuals and cultures directly,
whereas the other classifications do "not alter the human condition"
(Eliade in Beane & Doty, 1976, p. 4). Myths are concerned with the
serious matters of life (Campbell, 1991c). Rushing divides myths
into two types: archetypal myths which are stories "express[ing]
values that are universal to the human race" (Rushing, 1990, p.
143), and cultural myths (similar to what Rowland (1990a) termed
social myths) which are stories "embody[ing] fundamental values"
(Rushing, 1990, p. 143) of the culture.
Fables are stories with a moral and are related to a
particular culture. The fable is similar to what Malinowski (1954)
refers to as a legend which enters "more deeply" into tribal life
than does a tale.
Folk tales are stories that are related to a particular
culture but which have no moral. Campbell (1991c) would disagree
with this definition of folk tale. He states that folk tales are
for the "young people" of a society and are told to socialize them
into the society.
Fairy tales are stories that may be a "decayed and
26


allegorized myth or a more primordial form from which myth is
elaborated" (Rushing, 1990, p. 143). Campbell (1991c) and
Malinowski (1954) state that fairy tales are for entertainment, and
Campbell adds that fairy tales are children's myths.
Bettelheim (1997) would support Campbell's (1991c) view of
fairy tales as children's myths. Bettelheim asserts that finding
meaning in our life and developing inner resources come in small
steps. Fairy tales assist children in these processes by helping
them make "some coherent sense out of the turmoil of [their]
feelings" (1997, p. 5). Bettelheim (1997) states that "fairy tales
carry important messages to the conscious, the preconscious, and the
unconscious mind" (p. 6) and "speak to [the child's] budding ego and
encourage its development, while at the same time relieving
preconscious and unconscious pressures" (p. 6).
New Definition of Myth
The definition of myth I use in this study is very similar to
Rowland's and follows his format of form and function. Unlike
Rowland, however, I believe that myth is a very fluid type of
narrative and is not a rigid concept that must be adhered to or a
rigid standard that must be met. As can be seen in the review of
literature concerning the concept of myth, there are many different
definitions and conceptions of myth, all of which are valid and all
of which add to the richness of meanings for myth in rhetoric.
The new definition of myth I will use for my analysis follows.
Myth is a second-order semiological system, a type of speech, and is
27


based on both the functions it performs and the form that it takes.
The functions of myth are as follows:
1. Myths function in society to: define the good society;
create social meanings and structures; justify society's
beliefs, ideals, values, and past; reveal societal
problems; solve societal problems; and make individuals
aware of their roots in, their place in, and their
responsibilities to society.
2. Myths function to help individuals and societies explain
nature and the universe.
3. Myths perform for individuals the functions of:
teaching individuals how to live their lives in a
variety of situations; providing models for behavior;
giving value and meaning to life; teaching individuals
to overcome their "animal nature"; conveying perceptions
and emotions about situations; and teaching values,
beliefs, and attitudes.
4. Myths function in a mystical sense, communicating
spiritual meaning and the wonder of the universe.
The form myths take is as follows:
1. Myths are "true" storiesnot necessarily objectively
true but true subjectively in the answers they provide
for the functions they fulfill.
2. Myths are heroic, having either larger-than-life heroes-
male or femalewho provide courageous examples of ways
to handle life's situations (situations involving
28


"demons," "great evil" outside of oneself, or the
"shadow" within oneself) or larger-than-life anti-heroes
who point out problems in society but don't solve them.
3. The mythic heroes and anti-heroes are based in
archetypes and culturetypes, and myth relies on
archetypal language.
4. Myths often occur outside of normal time and outside of
the normal world, but normal time and the normal world
can become mythic time and mythic world through the
presentation of the myth and through the symbolism and
power attributed to the time or place.
Symbolic Convergence Theory
The review of symbolic convergence theory will examine major
assumptions of the theory, its basic structure, and the definition
of fantasy. Next, I will look at fantasy themes and rhetorical
visions, followed by a review of fantasy chains. Finally, I will
consider the relationship between symbolic convergence and mass
media.
General Information
Symbolic convergence theory (SCT) is a general communication
theory (Bormann, 1985) that underscores the importance of
imagination and imaginative language in communication (Bormann,
Cragan, & Shielda, 1994). It addresses "the human tendency to
interpret signs, signals, current experience, and human action and
29


invest them with meaning" (Bormann, 1986, p. 221). It accounts for
human communication in relation to homo narranshumans as
storytellers, "explain[ing] the appearance of a group consciousness,
with its implied shared emotions, motives, and meanings ... in
terms of socially shared narrations or fantasies" (Bormann, 1985, p.
128) .
The power of SCT is based on people's tendency to attempt to
understand events by attributing motivations to human actions
(Bormann, 1985). This process allows individuals to assign
responsibility, to love or hate, to assign guilt, and the like when
interpreting events.
Two major assumptions form the basis for SCT (Foss, 1996).
One assumption "is that communication creates reality" (p. 122) by
ordering sensory experiences and "halt[ing] the constant flux of the
contents of consciousness by fixing a substance with a linguistic
symbol" (p. 122) The second assumption is that individuals'
symbolic meaning can "converge to create a shared reality for
participants" (Foss, 1996, p. 122) In other words, symbolic
convergence occurs when "two or more private symbolic worlds incline
toward one another, come more closely together, or even overlap"
(Bormann, 1985, p. 134). This overlapping creates a group
consciousness.
Bormann (1985) states that SCT "has a three part structure"
(p. 129). In part one, the critic looks at repeated patterns and
forms of communication "that indicate the evolution and presence of
a shared group consciousness" (p. 129). In part two, the critic
30


describes the "life-cycle" of group consciousnesses and the effects
group consciousnesses have on communication within the group. In
part three, the critic examines the factors that explain why
fantasies are shared within a group and why fantasies occur when
they do.
The term fantasy in the context of SCT does not follow the
common-usage meaning of "imaginary" or "not reality based." Fantasy
is a technical term in symbolic convergence theory and is defined as
"the creative and imaginative shared interpretation of events that
fulfills a group psychological or rhetorical need" (Bormann, 1986,
p. 221). Although fantasies can include fictitious stories shared
by a group, they "often deal with things that have actually happened
to members of the group or that are reported in authenticated works
of history, [or] in the news media" (Bormann, 1986, p. 221).
Bormann (1994) asserts that evidence supports the extension of
"symbolic convergence theory from small group communication to other
communication contexts" (p. 273). Foss (1996) states that symbolic
convergence theory and its derivative method of criticism, fantasy-
theme analysis, can be applied not just to small group communication
but also to the communication "of social movements, political
campaigns, organizational communication, and other kinds of rhetoric
as well" (p. 121).
Symbolic Interaction, Fantasy Themes, and Rhetorical Visions
A fantasy theme is "the content of the dramatizing message
that sparks the chain of reactions and feeling" (Bormann, 1985, p.
31


131); a dramatizing message is a message "that contains one or more
of the following: a pun or other word play, a double entendre, a
figure of speech, analogy, anecdote, allegory, fable, or narrative"
(Bormann, 1986, p. 224). Fantasy themes are the basic unit of
analysis in symbolic convergence theory (Foss, 1996). There are
three types of fantasy themes, which correspond "to the elements
necessary to create a drama: setting, characters, and actions"
(Foss, 1996, p. 123) .
The setting theme places the action and the characters in a
location and may provide characteristics of that location. In other
words, it provides the context in which the characters appear and
the actions occur. Placing the characters and actions in a
particular context aids the group in defining the personae of the
actors in the drama.
Character themes describe the agents or actors in the drama,
ascribe qualities to them, assign motive to them, and portray them
as having certain characteristics" (Foss, 1996, p. 123) The actors
can be heroes, villains, and a supporting cast. Character themes
can viewed as creating a persona for actual individuals (e.g.,
individuals in the news) who appear in the fantasy. There is,
however, a difference between the actual individual and the
individual's persona (Bormann, et al., 1994). Persona are designed
to slant the portrayal of the actual individual so that audiences
find the persona to be "a living presence to be loved or hated
without ever having any direct personal experience observing or
talking to the [actual] individual" (Bormann, et al., 1994, p. 279).
32


Action themes or plotlines relate the actions in which the
characters are involved (Foss, 1996). The action themes contribute
to the group's judgement of the characters and can slant the group's
assignment of motivation to the characters' actions because the
plotline can indicate why certain actions may have been taken.
Littlejohn (1989) holds a similar view of fantasy themes and
rhetorical vision. He states that fantasy themes "consist of
dramatis personae (characters), a plotline, a scene" (1989, p. 109)
and, he adds to these components, a sanctioning agent. The
"sanctioning agent is a source that legitimizes the story"
(Littlejohn, 1989, p. 109). The source can be an individual or
group in authority that adds credibility to the fantasy or that
authorizes the telling of it. The sanctioning agent can also be an
ideal or "a situation or event that makes telling the story seem
appropriate" (Littlejohn, 1989, p. 109).
Fantasy themes combine to form rhetorical visions. Foss
defines rhetorical vision as "a swirling together of fantasy themes
to provide a credible interpretation of reality" (1996, p. 125).
Rhetorical vision pulls people together and provides them with a
shared reality (Littlejohn, 1989), creating a rhetorical community
(Bormann, 1985). Rhetorical visions, however, "are never told in
their entirety, but are built by sharing associated fantasy themes"
(Littlejohn, 1989, p. 109).
Fantasy themes and rhetorical visions can be referenced or
evoked by code words, key words, or cues that can be the name of a
persona, the name of a place, a slogan, a label, or even a gesture
33


(Bormann, 1985; Littlejohn, 1989). These cues, along with the
"recurrence of dramatizing material such as word play, narratives,
figures, and analogies in a group's meeting" (Bormann, 1985, p.
131), provide evidence of symbolic convergence. Additional evidence
of symbolic convergence is that outsiders to the rhetorical vision
have different emotional responses from insiders and, in addition,
the outsiders will not respond to the cue (Bormann, 1985).
Although life experience is usually chaotic, fantasy themes
are "organized and artistic" (Bormann, 1986, p. 226). They are also
biased and provide groups with rhetorical means to explain the same
events in different ways (Bormann, 1985). In other words, two
different groups can view the same event and yet have opposing
rhetorical fantasies about that event and the characters who
participated in it.
The artistry used to create rhetorical fantasies also can vary
greatly (Bormann, 1985). Some groups or communities "share dramas
in which cardboard characters enact stereotypical melodrama" (p.
135), and others share "a social reality of complexity peopled with
characters of stature enacting high tragedies" (p. 135). Emotional
arousal accompanies fantasizing or dramatizing (Bormann, 1985), and
"group members take pleasure in their joint experience of emotions"
(Fisher & Ellis, 1990, p. 47). Fantasies "always interpret, slant,
suggest, and persuade" (Bormann, 1985, p. 135), functions that are
intensified with emotional arousal.
34


Fantasy Chains
A fantasy chain occurs when a fantasy theme is presented in a
skilled dramatization (Bormann, 1986) It is evident in "an
explosion of symbolic material" (Fisher & Ellis, 1990, p. 47) with
which members of a group become captivated. Foss states that "[a]
fantasy chain in a group is established when a participant
communicates symbols that relate either to the group's here-and-now
problems or to the individual psychodynamics of the participants"
(1979, p. 134), creating fantasies that become increasingly complete
and reflect the group's commonalities.
The chaining causes the group members to empathize, "to
improve on the same theme, or to respond emotionally" (Foss, 1979,
p. 134). Bormann asserts that "the chain is triggered by the first
dramatizing message and then is picked up and elaborated by others"
(1986, p. 231). Additional members of the group then become excited
and involved, "adding their emotional support and often modifying
the ongoing script" (p. 231) Group members do not feel normal
constraints and do feel free to suggest new and creative ideas and
concepts (Bormann, 1986).
Foss notes that the "concept of rhetorical vision . .
extends the fantasy chain to the level of social movements" (1979,
p. 134). In the same manner that fantasy chains create a unique
small-group culture, fantasy themes of social movements chain out to
public audiences and form rhetorical visions (Foss, 1979). Members
of the movement use the rhetorical vision to create media messages
to gain new members' for the movement.
35


Mass Media and Symbolic Convergence
The dramatizing messages of symbolic convergence theory are
concerned with narratives occurring in a setting other than the
"here and now" (Bormann, 1986). Symbolic convergence theory does
not include unfolding realities; in other words, symbolic
convergence does not occur at the time an event is taking place, but
does occur subsequent to the event. Because of this, television
coverage of events happening as they are being broadcast (e.g.,
special news bulletins and on-the-scene shots) do not qualify as a
basis for sharing group fantasies. However, "a structured dramatic
account of the same event after it has taken place" (Bormann, 1985,
p. 131), presented on a later news program or broadcast, would be
considered a dramatizing message. Audience members could share in
the rhetorical vision, developing characters, plotlines, and scenes;
becoming emotionally involved; and achieving symbolic convergence
about the new story (Bormann, 1985).
36


CHAPTER 4
ARTIFACT ANALYSIS
In this chapter, I will present, as the first step in the
analysis of Diana as myth, a brief version of the story of Diana,
dramatized as presented in artifacts. I believe this is necessary
in order to understand her drama. Second, the story of Diana will
be analyzed to determine if it meets the characteristics of the form
of myth (from the new definition of myth presented in Chapter 3).
Third, the story of Diana will be examined to determine if any of
the functions of myth, again from the new definition, are fulfilled.
Additional information and quotes are taken from artifacts and used
as support in this analysis because any myth created about Diana
would be a composite pulled from many sources and not just those
used for the short version of the story presented below. Finally,
the media coverage of the story will be examined to determine how a
rhetorical vision of the myth of Diana was created.
DianaHer Story
McGrath states that, in England, there is "a peculiar division
of labor in public life: it assigns its political leaders the
substance of things while reserving for its monarchs the realm of
the theatrical, the symbolic" (1997, p. 51). Diana, as presented by
the media following her death, became a symbol not only to England
but to the world, beginning with her "fairy-tale" wedding and ending
37


with her tragic death. Diana's life was "enlarged for us all by
unrelenting advertisement, blown up like a fictional drama so that
it is already entering, before our eyes, the realm of myth" (Morris,
1997, p. 50). Morrow states that where the Greeks had stories of
gods and goddesses from Olympus, we now have stories of celebrities
from the "people" column such as the story of Diana with "a fairy-
tale beginning, a troubled middle and a climax of pageant at the sad
end" (1997, p. 77).
In the Beginning. Diana, when the media first introduced her
to the world in 1980, was a kindergarten teacher and a nanny "who
could cross the street without stopping traffic" (Gibbs & Painton,
1997, p. 50). She became famous overnight because of the attention
of Prince Charles and her subsequent engagement to him. Her first
press photograph shows Diana, her head slightly bowed, holding the
hand of one child while carrying another (photographs in Giles,
1997, p. 28 & Reed, 1997c, p. 15). This, as Gibbs and Painton with
Time magazine characterized her, "was 'shy Di,' with the streaked
pageboy and lanky limbs backlighted through the thin flowered skirt"
(1997, p. 50) "stepp[ing] gingerly into the spotlight" (Hallett,
1997, p. 4). From that moment, the press attention was constant.
"The press was dreadful ... it was nonstop. She had no guidance
from palace because they were trying to pretend it didn't exist"
(Chau-Eoan, 1997, p. 68), stated Kay King, headmistress of the Young
England kindergarten where Diana worked.
The world, via the media presentation, learned of her
childhood. Diana was born on July 1, 1961, to Edward John (at that
38


time the Viscount Althorp, later the Earl of Spencer) and his wife,
Frances. They had wanted a son (Reed, 1994a). "Parenting was not a
Spencer priority. Diana and her [younger] brother [Charles] had
only passing contact with their mother and father" (Reed, 1997a, p.
10) .
Diana was six in 1967 when her parents were separated. Her
mother "left her father . for Peter Shand Kydd, a wealthy
businessman" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 43). Following the divorce,
Diana and her brother spent their time between their parents' homes.
Reed, a writer for People magazine, states, "After the divorce, the
bubbly child [Diana] turned inward and 'Shy Di' was born" (1997a, p.
10). She became a "mother" to her little brother, comforting him
when he was afraid.
At the age of nine, Diana began attending her first boarding
school, Riddlesworth Hall, where she was only an average student but
did win an award for "helpfulness and volunteering around school"
(Reed, 1997a, p. 12). When she was 12, she went to West Heath, an
exclusive school in Kent (Kantrowitz, 1997), where, she won "another
award for service" but failed "to pass any exams" (Reed, 1997a, p.
12). At age 16, Diana attended a Swiss finishing school for a few
months. That was the end of her formal education.
Kantrowitz (1997), a writer for Newsweek magazine, presents
Diana as having been considered to be the perfect choice for the
wife of the future king. She was descended from James I, the first
Stuart king, and would be "the first Englishwoman to marry an heir
to the throne in more than 300 years" (Chau-Eoan, Wulf, Kluger,
39


Redman, Van Biema, 1997, p. 35). Her ancestry on her mother's side
included a distant relationship "to seven U.S. Presidents, including
John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, and Franklin D. Roosevelt"
(Reed, 1997a, p. 10). Kantrowitz states, "Just as important [to the
royal family as ancestry], Diana was a virgin; no old lovers would
show up to sell their stories to the tabloids" (1997, p. 43).
Prince Charles, however, had a past that was not so innocent,
having had a long-term relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. In
fact, as presented by writers in Newsweek (Kantrowitz, 1997), People
(Green, 1997a), and Time (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997), Diana had doubts
before the wedding. She and Charles fought about his relationship
with Camilla after Diana discovered, by opening a package
accidentally, that Charles had given Camilla an engraved gold
bracelet to commemorate their relationship. Diana had her sisters
to lunch some time before the wedding to ask them if they thought
she could get out of marrying Charles; "'Your face is on the tea
towels,' they famously replied, 'so it's too late to chicken out
now'" (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p. 36).
The Wedding. The wedding of Charles and Diana was, as noted
by the Archbishop of Canterbury, "the stuff of which fairy tales are
made" (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p. 32). "When Prince Charles and
Lady Diana Frances Spencer married on July 29, 1981, three quarters
of a billion people in 74 countries tuned into a brilliantly
choreographed spectacle, the Wedding of the Century" (Kantrowitz,
1997, p. 40). Elliott, a writer with Newsweek, presented this view:
"Her wedding gown seemed to stretch the length of St. Paul's, and
40


when the bridal couple chastely kissed afterward on the balcony of
Buckingham Palace, millions thrilled to the spectacle" (1997a, p.
27). The live television broadcast of the newlywed's trip to
Buckingham Palace (Carr, 1997) showed Princess Diana and Prince
Charles waving and smiling from a burgundy, red, and gold carriage,
pulled by four white horses, accompanied by liveried footmen and
outriders.
The Marriage. Morton, a writer with Newsweek, reports that
Diana stated, in her first television interview, "I feel my role is
supporting my husband whenever I can, and always being behind him,
encouraging him. And also, most important, being a mother and a
wife. And that's what I try to achieve" (1997, p. 64). Because
her parents were divorced, that her marriage succeed was important
to her (Kantrowitz, 1997).
Charles and Diana had two children, William, in 1982, and
Harry, in 1984, who were referred to as "the heir and the spare"
(Kantrowitz, 1997). Adler and Foote (1997), of Newsweek, stated
that Diana's children were extremely important to her and that she
tried to give them as normal a life as possible. She wanted them to
have the maternal love and support she believed Charles had never
received.
Diana breast fed both of her sons and, breaking with
tradition, insisted on bringing the infant William along on a tour
of Australia (Kantrowitz, 1997). The boys were openly hugged by
Diana and taken out to amusement parks and hamburger stands. A
well-known photograph shows Diana, wearing a red and white checked
41


suit, a huge smile on her face, and her arms outstretched to hug her
two sons (photographs in Ames, 1997, p. 60 & Sanz, 1997, p. 110).
Bradford, with Newsweek, presented Diana as beingunlike the
royalsextremely "unstuffy in her attitudes, with friends from all
walks of life" (1997, p. 53) .
Diana evolved during her marriage "from a somewhat pudgy girl
dressed in frilly blouses to a sleek fashion plate decked out in
designer gowns" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 43), but, more important, she
evolved, as Graham states in an article for Newsweek, into "someone
with a mature heart and interests" (1997, p. 68). Graham goes on to
say that Diana brought to royalty two special behaviors: speaking
frankly and touching people. Diana used these behaviors as she
developed her own causes, "which centered on children and people
with AIDS and cancer" (Graham, 1997, p. 68).
Problems and Charities. Kantrowitz (1997) offers the opinion
that even as Diana's private life disintegrated and she began
suffering from depression and bulimia, she worked for and with and
comforted the people society rejected: battered women, AIDS
patients, and drug addicts. She found "it gave her the will to
carry on" (Morton, 1997, p. 65) .
Diana's increased popularity did not help the marriage
problems. McGrath, with Newsweek, writes that Diana was the one
crowds gathered to see, not Prince Charles; he was assigned the role
of "Mr. Diana" (1997, p. 51). Diana had an instinctive ability to
form connections with people; Charles did not (Kantrowitz, 1997).
Her popularity is evident in the amount of media coverage she
42


received. "If Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand
ships," Alter suggested, "Lady Di launched at least a thousand
covers, and hundreds of millions of newspaper and magazine sales"
(1997a, p. 39). Diana was on the cover of Time magazine eight
times, which is more than any other royal (Hallett, 1997). This
relationship to the media was a love-hate relationship; Cooper
(1997), a writer for Newsweek magazine, presents Diana as wanting
privacy for her children and herself during their private times but
would use the media to draw attention to her charity work.
The Breakup of the Marriage. The "fairy-tale" marriage
eventually was revealed to be "an all-too-modern, deeply troubled
one" (Elliott, 1997a, p. 27). Elliott presents Diana as the
"beautiful princess ... a woman who, in her misery, became
desperately sick" (1997, p. 27). Prince Charles is characterized by
Elliot as "the heir to the throne [who] was not a stoic bulwark and
tutor but a man who could barley conceal his irritation that Diana
did not develop a stiff upper lip and shape up" (p. 27). By the mid
1980s, Prince Charles had returned to his affair with Camilla, after
which Diana began an affair with James Hewitt, a cavalry officer.
Hewitt later collaborated on a tell-all book about their romance
(Kantrowitz, 1997).
As the estrangement between Charles and Diana deepened, it
became very apparent to the public. Kantrowitz writes that Charles
and Diana would "go out of their way to avoid physical contact . .
their body language was chilling" (1997, pp. 44 & 46). This is
evident in photographs taken in Toronto in 1991 (photograph in
43


Green, 1997b, pp. 66 & 67) and in South Korea in 1992 (photograph in
Green, 1997b, p. 57), in which they appear to be deliberately
ignoring each other, not touching and not looking at each other.
During the South Korean tour, the estrangement was so apparent that
reporters nicknamed them "the Glums" (Kantrowitz, 1997).
Charles, in his authorized biography published in 1994, "said
that he had never loved Diana and had married her because of
pressure from his father" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 46). Charles and
Diana officially separated on December 9, 1989, and divorced on
August 28, 1996.
After the Divorce. Elliott states that what happened next was
surprising, and Diana, "a woman who had been contemptuously thought
of as dim was revealed to be rather clever" (1997a, p. 30). Begley
and Dickey, writers with Newsweek, state that after her divorce,
"she could have remade herself as anything from a jet-setting party
girl to the cloistered mother of the future king. But she chose
nothing so one dimensional" (1997, p. 32). Chau-Eoan et al.
presented Diana as emerging from her marriage wounded but taking
control of her own life and immersing herself in "tend[ing] toher
sons, the sick, the war ravaged, [and] her own heart" (1997, p. 32).
The Lord Spencer, Diana's father, and Mohamed al Fayed, Dodi's
father, had had a long-term friendship, so Diana and Dodi had been
indirectly linked prior to their first meeting. That first meeting
had occurred in 1986, when Prince Charles and Dodi had been on
opposing teams in a polo match, but the courtship did not begin
until mid-July of 1997. At that time, Mohamed al Fayed asked Diana
44


and her two sons to vacation with him and his family in St. Tropez
(Chau-Eoan et al., 1997).
Later that month, aboard Dodi's yacht, Kantrowitz, with
Newsweek, wrote, she appeared happy and relaxed and "finally in
control" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 41). Oates reported that Diana
reportedly confided to a friend the day before she died, "For the
first time in my life I can say I am really happy ... I again feel
loved" (1997, p. 58) Thomas and Dickey present the idea that Dodi
"lavished her with the sort of unconditional love that she had never
had from the Windsorsor from her own parents" (1997, p. 41).
Chau-Eoan et al. wrote that "after years of smiling bravely and
brittlely by the side of a man she was no longer in love with, the
princess just may have found one she did love" (1997, p. 34).
The Death of Diana. On August 30, 1997, Dodi and Diana dined
alone in the Imperial Suite at the Paris Ritz Hotel, owned by Dodi's
father. When they left, they took a substitute car and driver,
sending the regular car and driver out as a decoy for the paparazzi,
which had been following them all day. The substitute car, a black
Mercedes S-280 driven by Henri Paul and carrying Diana; Dodi; and
Dodi's bodyguard, Trevor Reese-Jones, left the Ritz to go to Dodi's
luxury apartment near the Champs Elysees (Reed, 1997b). It never
reached its destination.
Begley and Dickey wrote that about one third of the way
through a tunnel, near the Seine, "with a bang and a sickening
squeal of tires audible to tourists strolling along the river, the
car slammed into a pillar" (1997, p. 33). The police estimate the
45


speed of the car to be around 85 miles per hour. The "entire front
of the sedan accordioned into the front seat. The roof collapsed to
the level of the front passenger's knees" (Begley & Dickey, 1997, p.
37). Both Time and Newsweek carried picture layoutsone photograph
highlighting the horror of the wrecked car juxtaposed with a
photograph of Diana emphasizing her beauty and vitality (photographs
in Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, pp. 30& 31; Elliott, 1997a, pp. 26 & 27).
The driver and Dodi were killed instantly. It took rescuers
about an hour to free Diana, who then was rushed to Pitie
Salpetriere Hospital. Doctors tried for two hours to save her,
performing external and, finally, internal heart massage. She was
declared dead at 4:00 a.m. on August 31, but it was not announced
publicly until 6:00 a.m. (Begley & Dickey, 1997). During that two-
hour period between 4:00 and 6:00, Prince Charles told Diana's sons
that she was dead.
Tom Richardson and Joanna Luz, from San Diego, saw the car
enter the tunnel, "feverishly pursued by a swarm of motorcycles and
scooters" (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p. 32); then they heard the
crash. "Francois Levi, who was driving with his family that night,
says he entered the tunnel two cars ahead of Diana and Dodi's"
(Lacayo, 1997, p. 53). He saw one motorcycle appear to cut off the
Mercedes and then "saw a large white flash" (Lacayo, 1997, p. 53),
followed by the crash.
Richardson and Luz ran into the tunnel and saw the wrecked
car, facing the direction from which it had come. In front of the
wreck was a paparazzo, already starting to snap photos (Chau-Eoan et
46


al., 1997). Frederic Mailliez, a French physician who was passing
by, stopped to help; he noted that when he arrived, there were 10 to
15 photographers at work (Lacayo, 1997). Lacayo states that the
whirr and click of paparazzi cameras [sounded] like little
guillotines" (1997, p. 55). Speculation about the relationship
between Diana's death and the paparazzi flourished: "No one is
certain yet whether the two-wheeled stalkerazzi who swarmed Diana
and Dodi's Mercedes . directly caused her death. But they're
getting blamed" (Cooper, 1997, p. 36) .
The Funeral. Tens of millions around the world took part in
the funeral service via television and radio, people "who had never
actually met her feel[ing] that they, too, lost someone close to
them" (I stand, 1997, p.24). The BBC documentary film (Carr, 1997)
presented the picture of hundreds of thousands of peoplestanding
silently, or quietly crying, or with eyes closed, appearing to
prayalong the route the cortege took from Kensington Palace,
Diana's home, to Westminster Abbey, "one of the most hallowed places
in England" (Kantrowitz, Pedersen & McGuire, 1997, p. 32).
Diana's coffin was followed by her two sons; her former
husband, Prince Charles; her former father-in-law, Prince Phillip;
her brother, Charles Spencer; and "five representatives from each of
the 110 charities with which Diana had been associated. A few were
in wheelchairs, a few more on crutches . not the sort of people
ordinarily invited to march in royal processions" (Cover: A mortal,
1997, p. 38). Guests at the funeral included Tom Cruise, Nicole
Kidman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Steven Spielberg,
47


43 members of the royal family, including the 97 year-old Queen
Mother, and 2,000 friends and acquaintances, many of whom Diana had
met through charity work (Kantrowitz, et al., 1997).
The funeral was a mixture of traditional "pomp, circumstance
and pageantry so characteristic of the historic solemnities staged
by the British monarchy" (Cover: A mortal, 1997, p. 38) and the
modern, with Elton John's performance of "Candle in the Wind,"
rewritten for Diana. Martin Neary, Westminster Abbey's director of
music, stated, "there [was] something for everyone, from all walks
of life . the service and music echo[ed] the feeling that she
was truly a 'princess of the people'" (Kantrowitz et al., 1997, p.
33) .
The photographs of hundreds of thousands of flowers placed in
front of Kensington Palace strongly reinforces the idea that Diana
was the "people's princess" (photographs in Cover: A mortal, 1997,
pp. 40 & 41 & Reed, 1997b, p. 79). An article in Time magazine said
that the funeral of Diana "demonstrated . the soothing,
cathartic power of ritual, the way in which ceremony can provide a
shared context for personal grief" (Cover: A mortal, 1997, p. 39)
for those in the Abbey, for the hundreds of thousands who watched on
three mammoth screens outside of the Abbey, and for the tens of
millions who watched or listen around the world.
This is the story of Diana, dramatized and presented in bits
and pieces, over and over again by the media. In order to determine
if it is a myth, I next will examine the form of the story and then
the functions the story fulfills.
48


Diana's Story as Myth
In next section I will analyze Diana's story based on the new
definition of myth presented in Chapter 3. This definition provides
two dimensions for myth: form and function. The five defining
characteristics of the form of myth are as follows: myth is a
"true" story; myths main characters must be heroic; myths occur
outside of normal time; myths occur outside of the normal world;
and, finally, myths contain archetypes and rely on archetypal
language. The functions myths fulfill are the social function, the
understanding function, the personal function, and the mystical
function. I first will analyze Diana's story to determine if it
meets the requirements of form and then I will examine the story to
determine if it fulfills the functions of myth.
Diana as a "True" Story
A myth is serious story believed to be a "true" story, not
necessarily true in an historical or objective sense, but true
subjectively in the answers they provide for the functions they
fulfill. These subjective truths can be about things such as how to
live a "good life" or providing value or meaning to life. Stories
presenting "truth claims" (Rowland in Crable, 1990, p. 284) also can
be accepted as myths.
The life of Diana, as presented by the media, meets the
requirement of myth as a story, a form of narrative, even though the
narrative is expressed by the media in incidents and articles, bits
and pieces, and not'as a complete whole. Each article represents a
49


piece of the myth, not the myth as a whole. Diana's story is
accepted as true because it can be judged by the audience as
coherent (narrative probability, Fisher, 1989) It is accepted as
truthful based on the audience's comparison of the story to other
stories (news items) and also the audience's view of the
relationship between Diana's story and other stories that the
audience considered to be true (narrative fidelity, Fisher, 1989).
In other words, the incidents in the story of Diana form a coherent
whole that fits with other stories of news occurring at the same
time and having a relationship to incidents in Diana's life. In
addition, the story of Diana is "true" because it could be read
about in magazines, e.g., Time and Newsweek, and newspapers,
observed in photographs, and watched on television news. It was not
just a "story" in a book.
Diana as a Hero
Myths are heroic containing either heroes or anti-heroes. The
larger-than-life heroes provide courageous examples of ways in which
to overcome "great evil" outside of oneself or the "shadow" within
oneself. The larger-than-life anti-heroes point out problems in
society but do not solve them.
In exploring Diana as a hero, I will look at the idea of hero
from a feminist perspective. Solomon (in Crable, 1990), as noted
previously, argues that the traditional hero, who goes out and
actively conquers great evil, is not necessarily the way a woman-as-
hero would approach the task. There is a lack of women-as-heroes in
50


today's myths; Diana may fill a part of that need. I will examine
Diana-as-hero in her role of coping with personal problems"shadow"
evils that existed within herselfproblems with which many women
can identify. These problems are as follows: eating disorders,
non-acceptance as a member of her husband's family, shyness, her job
as a public figure, the press, her husband's affair with Camilla,
and divorce from Charles.
Gibbs and Painton, with Time magazine, offer a dramatized view
of her "shadows":
She began as a feminine icon, not a feminist one, abiding by
history's [and the Windsors'] demands; producing heirs,
cutting ribbons, walking a conspicuous three paces behind the
times. A few years and a thousand talk shows later, she
became the Princess Victim, bulimic, suicidal, betrayed by a
caddish paramour with a tell-all book, trapped in a loveless
marriage. (1997, p. 50)
Diana and Bulimia. The media presented Diana's self-doubt and
insecurities as having led her to begin abusing her body. "Pre-
wedding nervesalong with a casual comment from Charles about her
'chubbiness'" (Green, 1997a, p. 36) resulted in a pre-wedding crash
diet. Green (1997a), with People magazine, offered the suggestion
that tension and stress caused bingeing followed by purges,
behaviors that were accompanied by mood swings. Green wrote that in
the fall of 1981, "Diana was purging up to five times a day" (1997a,
p. 36) and was only "skin and bones." Chau-Eoan et al. (1997)
suggested that postpartum depression after William's 1982 birth
added to her bulimia. They also report that Diana had told friends
that her son "was the only joy in her life" (1997, p. 36).
51


When Charles renewed his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles,
Diana's bulimia increased, and her life became more difficult. An
article in Time magazine reported that Diana had said, "Friends on
my husband's side were indicating that I was . unstable, sick
and should be put in a home of some sort in order to get better. I
was almost an embarrassment" (Chau-Eoan, 1997, p. 73). She referred
to the early 1990s as her "dark ages" (Morton, 1997, p. 64) and,
during this period, felt frustrated and powerless.
The media offered a picture of Diana as a woman who, despite
her own problems, began to speak out about bulimia, exchanging "'war
stories' with other women who suffered from eating disorders"
(Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 44). Chau-Eoan, with Time magazine, presented
the following statement by Diana:
Many would like to believe that eating disorders are merely an
expression of female vanity . and the consequent
frustrations. Eating disorders . show how individuals can
turn nourishment of the body into a painful attack on
themselves, and they have at their core a far deeper problem
than mere vanity. (1997, p. 74)
As presented by the media, Diana, in speaking out publicly, began to
gain control over her shadow and to provide an example for other
suffering from the same disorder.
Diana and the Windsors. Diana's problem with the royal family
can be considered, from a feminist perspective, as an internal evil
or "shadow." Her response to their behavior toward her was based on
changing her attitudes about herself and not, as a male hero might
have tried, in changing their behavior. This is true also in her
problem with Charles.
52


Morris, with Time magazine, presented the idea that many
Britons consider the royal family to be the villains"stuffy and
reactionary guardians of an old order into which Diana came as a
lovely catalyst" (1997, p. 50). Brooks-Baker, with Newsweek, wrote
that the public saw a princess sacrificed on the altar of an
arranged, loveless marriage, misunderstood and humiliated by stuffy
palace protocol" (1997, p. 57). Oates, in an article for Time,
offered the idea that "Princess Diana had been a virgin cynically
used by the so-called 'royal family' of Britain, of whom her husband
Prince Charles was the most manipulative" (1997, p. 58). Kantrowitz
presented the suggestion that there was an immense contrast between
her public and her private life; the people loved her and would wait
hours to meet her but, at home, "she felt so unloved that she
repeatedly tried to harm herself" (1997, p. 40) .
Prince Charles himself complained about "his 'remote' mother
and critical father" (Bradford, 1997, p. 53). Sanz wrote that put
off by the chilly reserve of the royal family, Diana fought to make
sure her sons would be "a new breed of royalwarm and
unpretentious, openly compassionate and grounded in the world
outside of the royal gates" (1997, p. 100).
Another problem that resulted in estrangement between Diana
and the Windsors was the result of Diana's ability to touch and care
for the people. The narrator in the official BBC documentary film
about Diana's life stated, "Members of the royal family were patrons
of charities before, but Diana altered the concept, breaking down
barriers, touching people, without any of the formality of previous
53


royal visits" (Carr, 1997). The results of one poll, as presented
by McGrath in Newsweek, "found only one out of five Britons believed
the family was 'concerned with people in real need'" (1997, p. 51),
and McGrath suggests that Diana's natural behavior drew attention to
what Britons perceived as the Windsors' lack of concern. Gibbs and
Painton wrote of Diana, "all along, she seemed to be saying that
true royal behaviorcourage and gracewas a gift possessed by
outsiders" (1997, p. 50), not by the royal family. Diana worked at
"breaking free" from the rules of royal life and thereby maintained
a sense of normalcy (Kantrowitz, 1997).
The media representation of Diana was of a woman who worked
hard both to overcome her attitudes that resulted in a sense of
rejection and to build her sense of self-esteem. Oates wrote that
"by refusing to live a lie for the sake of patriarchal order,
Princess Diana exposed the hypocrisy of the Establishment to the
glare of commoners" (1997, p. 58). Chau-Eoan et al. (1997)
suggested that she became the new symbol of Britain full of youth,
vigor, and charm. Elliott, with Newsweek, suggested that Diana
symbolized a new Britain to the British:
you didn't need to smell of wet dogs and warm beer, you could
wear Versace and drink champagne. You didn't have to keep
your emotions buttoned under the obligatory stiff upper lip;
you could talk about them openly. You didn't have to be
ironic; you could be passionately committed to causes. You
could evena really subversive thoughtbe British and be a
sex symbol. (1997b, p. 37)
Diana, Shyness, Duties, and the Media. People magazine
reported that Diana, when younger, was "so timid that she once
agreed to be in a school Christmas pageant only if she didn't have
54


to speak" (Royal, 1997, p. 24). It was this "Shy Di" who married
Prince Charles and wanted "to be a good wife and mother and serve
her country as the future queen" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 42).
However, as Chau-Eoan et al. reported, she was "being plunged into a
role for which she had never been prepared and from which there
appeared to be no escape" (1997, p. 36). The BBC film (Carr, 1997)
suggested that the royal life with which she was confronted must
have been "daunting in the extreme for a shy, twenty year old girl,"
with its formal rituals of state and glittering displays of wealth
and status. She was forced to cope, with "little support from her
husband or the rest of the royal family (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p.
36) .
Diana was a main target of the paparazzi. Alter wrote,
"instead of three or four photographers trailing a celebrity, it
could, in her case, be 30 or 40, each hoping for that six-figure
shot" (1997a, p. 39). Diana was quoted by Cooper, in Newsweek, as
saying, "The press is ferocious. It pardons nothing. It only hunts
for mistakes" (1997, p. 35). A celebrity photographer from Los
Angeles, Scott Downie, provided the following answer when asked the
difference between unacceptable and acceptable paparazzi behavior:
"With royalty, there is no line" (Cooper, 1997, p. 37).
The media presented Diana as a woman who fought with her
shyness and won, wanting only some privacy for herself and her sons
but willing to accept the price of fame and its responsibilities.
She chose, Gibbs and Painton wrote, "to continue with her duties
55


[not hide from them], to go where she was needed and drag the
spotlight with her" (1997, p. 50).
Diana, Her Husband's Affair and Their Divorce. Charles'
return to his affair with Camilla in the mid-1980s (Kantrowitz,
1997) exasperated the problems between Charles and Diana.
Kantrowitz (1997) represented Diana as fighting back by having an
affair with James Hewitt. In June of 1994, during an interview,
Charles admitted being unfaithful and, later, in his authorized
biography, admitted that he never had loved Diana (Kantrowitz,
1997) .
Oates, in Time magazine, presented Diana's innocence by
quoting one of Diana's former classmates, who said of Diana, "She
was a complete romantic, and she was saving herself for the love of
her life, which she knew would come one day" (1997, p. 58) .
Kantrowitz (1997) offered the idea that Diana wanted her marriage to
work, she wanted to share everything with him (Prince Charles).
Chau-Eoan writing in Time magazine, quoted Diana (from a 1995
interview on BBC television) as saying, "I think, like any marriage,
especially when you've had divorced parents like myself, you'd want
to try even harder to make it work ... I desperately wanted it to
work" (1997, p. 69).
The media presented Diana as a woman who had worked hard to
save her marriage but, when it failed, she moved on. She had
"embraced the American notion that marriage is more about self-
fulfillment than sacrifice or lines of succession" (Gibbs & Painton,
1997. P. 50). After the separation and divorce she became, an
56


article in Time stated, "a work in progress, an inspiration to every
woman anywhere who faced the trauma and challenge of sudden
independence" (Cover: A mortal, 1997, p. 40).
Time and Location
Myths occur "outside of normal historical time" (Rowland,
1990a, p. 104). Normal time can be changed into mythic time because
of the power associated with that time, such as the Revolutionary
War. Another way in which normal time can be altered is presenting
events that actually occurred years apart as occurring in close
proximity. Telescoping the events alters the historic time and
creates mythic time. Myths also occur "outside of the normal world
or in a real place possessing special symbolic power" (Rowland,
1990a, p. 56).
Diana's life can be considered as occurring outside of normal
time and outside of the normal world or as in a mythic time and
mythic place. The time can be considered mythic because people's
perception of time in Diana's story is through the medium of the
media. The media did not present a "realistic" or normal-world view
of time because the presentation of events was intermittent, not
continuous, and because the presentation occurred after Diana's
death, resulting in a compressed view of her life. This is
consistent with the argument, presented in the literature review of
time and myth, that mythic logic does not follow the normal
perception of time. As Robertson (1980) notes, events occurring
years apart can be "juxtaposed and given an association" (p. 56).
57


When knowledge of events is presented through intermittent accounts,
while it can be made into a coherent narrative, the time involved
would not necessarily be normal time. It has the ability to be
expanded or compressed to create a more coherent or interesting
narrative.
The locations for the story of Diana easily can be identified
as mythic. She was married in St. Paul's Cathedral in London by the
Archbishop of Canterbury. She lived in Kensington Palace and
Balmoral Palace. She dined with kings, queens, and heads of state.
She was the wife of Prince Charles, the future King of England. She
was the mother of Prince William, another future King of England.
She traveled the globe surrounded by bodyguards. At her death, her
funeral was held at Westminster Abbey, one of England's most
hallowed places (Kantrowitz, et al., 1997). The places of her life
and the people with which she associated were all representative of
symbolic power.
Diana as Archetype
Archetypes in myths are the conscious representations of the
primitive characteristics that formed the original mind of humans
(Jung, von Franz, et al., 1964). Archetypes are the most powerful
symbols in a society or culture and anchor the "cultural system in
enduring meaningfulness" (Osborn, 1990, p. 123).
The media presentation was of Diana as an archetype of the
mother/earth goddess. This archetype is evident in the articles
about her care of her children and about her nurturing of and aid to
58


those rejected by societye.g., AIDS and HIV patients, the
homeless, and victims of land mines. I first will examine her role
as mother to her children and then her role as nurturer to the rest
of the world.
Diana and Her Sons. Van Boven, in an article for Newsweek
wrote, "Diana's single-minded devotion and affection [to her sons]
were something even her most vituperative critics could not fault"
(1997, p. 44); she attempted to protect them from the paparazzi "and
the domineering Windsors" (1997, p. 44) and to show them the world.
Linda Macks, a friend, of Diana's, was quoted by Sanz as reporting,
"Her whole life revolved around Prince William and Prince Harry.
She would drop everything whenever her boys would come home from
school" (1997, p. 100) Chau-Eoan presented Diana from the
viewpoint of Mary Robertson, who had employed Diana as a nanny;
Robertson said Diana had told her, "They [her sons] are my life"
(1997, p. 73). Visitors to her Kensington Palace apartment found
rooms "overflowing with pictures of the young princes" (Gleick,
1997, p. 47).
The media presented Diana as attempting to provide her sons
with a normal childhood, unlike those of her husband and herself
each of them having been raised primarily by nannies. Sanz reported
that "Diana, who breast fed both boys, reveled in being a hands-on
mom" (1997, p. 100) Bradford (1997) wrote that Diana set standards
for her children that were less restrictive than those traditionally
set for royal children. "As everyone knows, she played a
humanizing, normalizing role in their lives, seeking to introduce
59


them to as many of the experiences of ordinary life as she could,"
reported Graham in Newsweek (1997, p. 68). She put them "in touch
with ordinary people and . life outside the royal enclave"
(Bradford, 1997, p. 53).
The media covered Diana as she took her sons white-water
rafting in Colorado, to the Caribbean, to amusement parks where they
rode water slides and bumper cars, to the latest movies at local
theaters, and to McDonald's (Bradford, 1997; Gleick, 1997; Sanz,
1997; & Thomas & Dickey, 1997). One widely published photograph
showed Diana and her two sons after a water ride in Thorpe Park near
London; they were all soaking wet and laughing (photographs in Ames,
1997, p. 58 & Sanz, 1997, p. 110).
Sanz, with People magazine, reported that while Diana wanted
her sons to have fun, to laugh, and to enjoy life, there were also
"workdays, when . [Diana] said, they 'had to dress properly,
shake hands and forget any thoughts of selfishness'" (1997, p. 103).
She taught them to write letters and thank-you notes to family and
friends. To teach them the value of money, when they were young,
she put them on a small weekly allowance (Sanz, 1997).
Graham wrote that Diana had said she wanted her sons to know
"there are poor people as well as palaces" (1997, p. 68). Gleick, a
writer for Time, reported that Diana took her sons out into the real
world to visit those less fortunate (1997). For example, during the
night she took them to a homeless shelter, Diana was quoted by
Gleick as saying, "I want them to have an understanding of people's
60


emotions, of people's insecurities, of people's distress, [and] of
their hopes and dreams" (1997, p. 47) .
A dramatic example of the difference in parenting styles of
Charles and Diana was reported by Kantrowitz in Newsweek (1997). In
1991, William was accidentally struck by a golf club while at school
and suffered a concussion. Diana stayed by his side in the hospital
for two days; Charles stopped by once on his way to a night of
opera. Charles, raised to keep his emotions under control, was
surprised at the criticism his actions drew.
Diana as Mother to the World. Prime Minister Tony Blair said
about Diana on the day of her death, "Her own life was touched with
tragedy, but she touched the lives of so many others in Britain and
throughout the world with joy and comfort" (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997,
p. 38). Diana "told the BBC that she 'found an affinity' with
people rejected by society" (Queen, 1997, p. 117) because of her own
unhappiness. An article in Time magazine presented her as
transforming her pain "into a genuine desire to comfort the
suffering of otherspeople afflicted with AIDS and leprosy and
breast cancer, the mutilated victims of land mines" (Cover: A
mortal, 1997, p. 123). Her brother, Charles, in his eulogy for
Diana, provided an example of her caring; it was her birthday, but
instead of celebrating with friends, she attended a fund-raising
event as the guest of honor (I stand, 1997).
The media presented Diana as having a sense of the
responsibility her status created. Chau-Eoan et al. offered this
quote from Diana: "Being permanently in the public eye gives me a
61


special responsibilityto use the impact of photographs to get a
message across, to make the world aware of an important cause, to
stand up for certain values" (1997, p. 36). Graham, in her article
for Newsweek, said of Diana, she believed that if she were going to
represent a cause, she needed to see the problem for her self and
only take on causes "where her presence could make a difference"
(1997, p. 68) .
The media also presented the view of Diana as mother to the
world through their reporting of her work with AIDS and HIV patients
and her crusade against land mines: "For 10 years she was deeply
committed to her work for AIDS patients and had an ease with the gay
men she met" (Elliott, 1997b, p. 37). Elliott (1997a), with
Newsweek, reported that Diana hugged AIDS babies before AIDS became
a fashionable cause. People magazine reported that Gary Aldridge,
an HIV-positive charity worker, said of Diana, "When you shook her
hand, she zapped you with a friendly tonic" (Queen, 1997, p. 117).
Graham offered that Diana "related to the larger issues in a
very personal way" (1997, p. 68), and Graham provided the following
example. While visiting Martha's Vineyard, Diana learned that
Elizabeth Glaser, an AIDS patient with whom she had corresponded,
was on the island. Diana canceled her social plans for the day so
that she could have a long visit with her (Graham, 1997).
Diana's campaign against land mines symbolized her "global
resonance," stated Morton in an article for Newsweek (1997 p. 65).
In June of 1997, she visited Washington, D.C., to extend her
campaign against land mines (Kantrowitz, 1997). In August, Diana
62


went to Bosnia on a humanitarian mission to emphasize the need to
ban land mines. She visited with mine survivors and their families
in both Tuzla and Sarajevo and mourned those who had not survived
land mines during a visit to a cemetery (Kantrowitz, 1997). Elliott
reported that Diana had the ability to change people's attitudes:
"Until Diana no more than a few hundred Britons cared two figs for
land minesbut the abolition of these weapons has become one of the
country's most fiercely held causes" (Elliott, 1997a, p. 30)
The media presented Diana's interests as extending to the
homeless, to those with cancer, and to others who just needed
someone to care. Solomon, a two-year resident of Centrepoint, a
homeless shelter Diana supported, said, "She gave people hope . .
When she came to visit Centrepoint, I think she helped people feel
that it was worth living because there was someone out there who
cared about them" (Begley & Dickey, 1997, p. 35) .
Chau-Eoan (1997) reported that Diana, in 1996, traveled to
Pakistan after seeing a film about a cancer center located there;
Imran Khan, who founded the center, said she had come to see if she
could help. While she was there, Khan said, "There was a young boy
who had a tumor on his face. That tumor was festering. It smelled
... I was sitting 4 ft. away and I could smell it. She picked him
up. She held him oblivious to everything" (Chau-Eoan, 1997, p. 74).
She continued to hold him throughout the party the center had for
her.
Much of Diana's personalized goodwill was unobserved by the
media but was reported to the media and presented by the media after
63


her death, adding to the media's various personae for Diana. One
example is her unannounced hospital visit to Shaun, son of Bridget
Bradford, a cleaning woman from the Spencer estate. Shaun was dying
of cystic fibrosis. Bridget said later: "It [Diana's visit] made
his world" (Queen, 1997, p. 117). Wilson, a writer for Time
magazine, expressed Diana's caring this way, "Diana's star quality
was that she made us all believe, in our fantasy life, that she knew
all about us. It's as simple and personal as that" (1997, p. 42).
People magazine reported that Diana considered Mother Teresa
to be a mentor (Queen, 1997) and that they spent time together
whenever their paths crossed. The narrator in the BBC documentary
film (Carr, 1997) suggested that Diana shared a quality with Mother
Teresathe ability to change the lives of people she met. The
implicit suggestion offered by media reports is that at the time of
her death, Diana had barely begun what, with encouragement from
people such as Mother Teresa, could have been a lifetime of service
to important causes.
Diana and the Functions of Myth
As demonstrated through the information presented above, the
story of Diana meets the requirements for the form of myth. It also
meets the requirements for the function of myth. In this section, I
will present Diana's story in relation to the functions that myths
perform, first, looking at the social function of myth and then the
personal function. The functions of understanding the world and the
64


mystic function, however, do not seem to be served by the story of
Diana.
Diana and the Social Function
Myths function in society to create social meanings and
structures. They provide a definition of a "good society," and they
reveal and solve societal problems. Myths also make individuals
aware of their responsibilities to their society.
Defining the "Good Society" and Individual Responsibilities.
Diana's brother, Charles said of her in his eulogy: "Diana was the
very essence of compassion, of duty . All over the world she was
a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard bearer for the rights of
the truly downtrodden" (I stand, 1997, p. 24). The media
presentation of Diana and of her work with over 100 charities,
especially those associated with helping people with AIDS, HIV, and
cancer, and the homeless, demonstrated both a definition for a "good
society"a world without these problemsand an example of an
individual's responsibility to work toward making that society a
possibility.
Diana also defined the "good society" by, as Trevor Phillips,
a black British television executive noted, '"embracing the modern,
multicultural, multiethnic Britain without reservation'" (Elliott,
1997b, p. 37). Elliott, with Newsweek, offered the view that with
Diana, "you could be British and black, Asian, or gayand . .
[she] wouldn't even notice" (Elliott, 1997b, p. 37).
65


Elliott posited that Diana's embracing of all cultures and
ethnicities was evident both in her work with gay men and in her
choice of Dodi Fayed as a boyfriend. In her work with gay men,
through her AIDS and HIV charities and through her personal
attention to those with AIDS, she demonstrated an ease with gay men.
Elliott quoted Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terrence
Higgins Trust, Britain's leading advocacy organization for HIV/AIDS,
as saying that this ease "went unremarked . but among gay men,
it did not go unnoticed" (1997b, p. 37). Elliott continued with
this view, "She died with a Muslim boyfriend; don't think that meant
nothing in a nation where 700,000 people attend mosques each week
(not many fewer than the 1 million who worship at the Church of
England)" (1997b, p. 37).
The Diana that the media presented demonstrated, through her
care of her sons, the responsibilities of a parent in a "good
society." These responsibilities are to be a "good parent" for his
or her childrencaring for them, loving them, setting limits for
them, and providing them with a sense of security from which to
explore the world, and to be a "good parent" for societyraising
children who would become productive members of that society.
Revealing and Solving Societal Problems. Part of defining a
"good society" is revealing problems. Diana's brother, Charles,
pointed out some of the problems she had revealed when he stated,
during the eulogy, "Without your God-given sensitivity we would be
immersed in greater ignorance at the anguish of AIDS and HIV
sufferers, the plight of the homeless, the isolation of the lepers,
66


the random destruction of land mines" (I stand, 1997, p. 25). Not
only did she draw attention to these problems, but she also worked
to solve them. Alter states, "just as Kennedy's memorial was the
Civil Rights Act, Diana's could be ratification of a treaty banning
land mines, not just in Britain (where her focus on the issue
achieved results before her death) but in the United States" (1997a,
p. 39).
Diana and the Personal Function
According to Campbell, the personal function of myth is the
"most vital, most critical function of a mythology" (1991b, p. 6).
Myths teach individuals how to live their lives in a variety of
situations and provide models for behavior. Myths teach values,
beliefs, and attitudes and teach individuals how to overcome their
"animal nature." Myths also give value and meaning to life.
The personal functions of myth fulfilled by the story of Diana
were directed mainly toward women. Oates, in her article for Time
magazine, stated, "in her ordeals, in the courage, stubbornness and
idealism of her attempt to reinvent herself as an independent woman,
women have found a model for themselves" (1997, p. 58). Morton
noted that, after his book, Diana: Her True Story, was published,
he received many letter, "mainly from American women, who sensed in
Diana echoes of their own struggles" (1997, p. 65).
The media presented Diana as teaching women, through her own
struggles with her problems, not only how to live their lives in
many situationswith bulimia and other eating disorders,
67


insecurities, low self-esteem, uncaring husbands and familiesbut
also how to overcome these situations and then "rejoice in being a
'strong woman'" (Elliott, 1997a, p. 30), a woman who "create[d] life
on her own term" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 47). Reagan noted that Diana
also touched young people "who identified with, or at least
understood her struggles" (1997, p. 65) .
Diana taught, through examples as presented by the media, the
value of a social conscience. She demonstrated that to solve
society's problems, people need to do more than give money to a
cause. They need to take a personal interest in individuals (Alter,
1997b), visit the homeless, talk with victims of AIDS, find out what
life is like for the victims of land minestake these people into
one's life and enter into theirs.
Diana the Myth
As demonstrated throughout the analysis of the artifacts, the
story of Diana is a narrative and can be considered a "true story"
with a woman-as-hero. It does occur outside of normal time and in
places associated with symbolic power and it does contain archetypal
symbols-mother/earth goddess. The story of Diana also fulfills
several functions of myth: defining the "good society"; making
individuals aware of the responsibilities to that society; revealing
and solving or revealing and working to solve social problems;
teaching women how to live life in a variety of situations; and
providing a model for women of strength, independence, compassion,
68


grace, and responsibility. Based upon the artifact analysis, the
story of Diana is, indeed, a myth.
The Media and the Myth of Diana
In this section, I will use the lens of symbolic convergence
theory to explore strategies used by the media to create the myth of
Diana. I need to note that I do not believe the media deliberately
sought to create a myth through a strategy but that through the
strategies used in presenting Diana's life story, a myth in fact,
was created. The creation of the myth was due to symbolic
convergence with regard to Diana's story which, occurred as the
result of the strategies. First, I will offer evidence that
symbolic convergence did occur. Then I will explore the strategies
that caused symbolic convergence, resulting in fantasy themes about
Diana and the rhetorical vision of the myth of Diana.
Symbolic Convergence and the Myth of Diana
The media presentation of the story of Diana, following her
death, created the myth of Diana through symbolic convergence. The
evidence of symbolic convergence is found both in the evocation of
fantasy themes and rhetorical vision caused by use of code words or
cues and in the emotional responsethe outpouring of grief from
around the worldfollowing her death.
Code words or cues evoking fantasy themes and rhetorical
visions included the names Diana, Dodi Fayed, and Prince Charles and
the terms the people's princess, Shy Di, fairy-tale wedding, and the
69


death of Diana. As noted in Chapter 3, fantasy themes, Littlejohn
states, "consist of dramatis personae, a plotline, a scene" (1989,
p. 109), and a sanctioning agent. The use of any of the above
mentioned cues can bring forth, in the minds of many individuals the
world over, fantasy themes about Diana, such as: the fantasy theme
of the young, innocent, romantic bride (character) having been wooed
(plotline) by her Prince Charming (character), saying their vows in
St. Paul's Cathedral (setting), driving through crowds of thousands
of well-wishers (setting) and finally kissing on the balcony at
Buckingham Palace (setting); all events been covered by the world
wide media (sanctioning agent).
Foss, also as noted in Chapter 3, defines rhetorical vision as
"a swirling together of fantasy themes to provide a credible
interpretation of reality (1996, p. 125). The above cues also can
evoke a rhetorical visionthe mythic narrative of Diana's life,
composed of multiple fantasy themes.
Emotional arousal accompanies fantasizing or dramatizing
(Bormann, 1985). Fisher and Ellis state that "insiders" or "group
members take pleasure in their joint experience of emotions" (1990,
p. 47). The emotional evidence of the occurrence of symbolic
convergence regarding Diana can be found in the following: the
extensive number of flowers, cards, and other tributes left in front
of not only Kensington Palace but also at other sites such as the
British embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Spencer estate; the
numbers of people who stood in line for hours to sign a condolence
book; the purchase of every type of Diana memorabilia from the
70


recording of "Candle in the Wind" to stamps, dolls, plates, and even
copies of her will; the "hundreds of thousands of messages left on
Internet Web pages, chat rooms and bulletin boards by the late
princess's admirers from all corners of the earth" (Levy, 1997, p.
66) ; and the numbers of contributions flowing into the charity fund
established in Diana's name. The myth of Diana is a rhetorical
vision"a social reality of complexity, peopled with characters of
stature enacting high tragedies" (Bormann, 1985, p. 135).
Strategies and the Media's Presentation of Diana
Following her death, the media presentation of Diana created
various personae for her, which were slanted in such a way that the
audiences could love, admire, and respect her. The audiences
believed they truly knew who she was even though they had not known
or even met her in person. The media used several strategies in
presenting Diana: repetition, juxtaposition, choice of and emphasis
on certain words and phrases, and world-wide coverage of the
important rituals of Diana's life.
Repetition. One way these personae were created by the media
was through repetition of the same or at least similar stories (or
fantasy themes) about Diana, across the media. For example, the
persona of Diana, the protective, loving motherfighting tradition,
her husband, and her husband's family to raise her sons to be
normal, loving, caring, and responsible adults was presented
repeatedly. There were photographs of her and her sons laughing,
embracing, and enjoying life. There were multiple stories of their
71


vacations together and multiple stories of their trips to homeless
shelters and visits to patients with AIDS.
Juxtaposition. Another strategy used by the media to create
and to strengthen the various personae for Diana was to juxtapose
Diana's personae with the personae of the "villains" in the myth.
For example, one media persona for Diana, following her death, was
that of the shy, romantic virgin, in love with her husband, wanting
the marriage to succeed. The media persona presented for Prince
Charles is that of a villaina sophisticated, worldly man, who
married out of a sense of duty but who never loved his bride and
proceeded to reestablish his long-term relationship with Camilla, a
married woman. The media persona was of Diana, the innocent, used
by Prince Charles to meet his obligations. Diana's affair with
Hewitt was presented as a means of "fighting back" against the
"villain."
Another juxtaposition was that of the media persona Diana, the
loving, open person who cared deeply about "regular" people and
those society has forgotten such as AIDS patients and the homeless,
with the Windsors. This heroic persona of Diana was set against the
persona of the Windsors (seen as one entity or character). The
media presentation of the Windsor persona was that of a cold, stiff,
remote, and uncaring family. Diana was presented campaigning to
change the conditions in which the "forgotten" live and to do away
with evils of war, such as land mines. She was presented in
photographs cradling sick children or inspecting land mine sites
wearing a flak jacket and helmet with a protective face mask (Carr,
72


1997). In addition, stories (untold by the media before her death),
were presented by the media after her death. Stories about Diana
helping others, not just as a "cause" but on a one-to-one basis,
also were presented by the media. One such example was Diana's
visit to the bedside of young Shaun Bradford, who was dying of
cystic fibrosis.
The Windsors, however, were presented by the media as
concerned with themselves. Prince Charles, for example was shown,
during trips to Scotland, posing for photographers dressed in kilts
and fishing. Other members of the royal family were shown at
required social functions, waving to crowds from a distance. Not
much information was presented about their contributions to charity,
at least not in the media presentation following Diana's death.
The repetitions of fantasy themes about the various personae
and the juxtaposition of Diana's personae with the villain's
personae created for the audience part of the form required for the
myth of DianaDiana as hero and Diana as archetype.
Word and Phrase Choice in the Media Narration. The choice of
words used to present the story of Diana increased the dramatization
of the story and made it more "real" and more memorable. For
example, the repeated use of the term fairy-tale wedding brings to
mind the characters of Cinderella and Prince Charming, relating
Diana and Charles to previously formed images. The media's emphasis
on "Shy Di" and "Diana, the kindergarten teacher," created a
different perspective than would be created by an emphasis on "Lady
73


Diana Spenser," a woman used to a wealthy life-style (although this
was mentioned, it was not emphasized).
The media description of behavior, that had occurred during
the breakup of the marriage involved phrases such as "their body
language was chilling" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 46). Such language is
much more dramatic than presenting it as "they didn't touch very
much." And Thomas and Dickey's assessment of Dodi "lavish[ing] her
with the sort of unconditional love* that she had never had from the
Windsorsor from her own parents" (1997, p. 4) was more dramatic
than saying, "Dodi seemed to provide her with the love she had been
missing."
The dramatizing also was evident in descriptions of both the
accident and the actions of the paparazzi. Instead of stating, "The
car collided with a pillar," it was reported that "with a bang and a
sickening squeal of tires . the car slammed into a pillar"
(Begley & Dickey, 1997, p. 33) Comments presented by the media
such as, the Mercedes was "feverishly perused by a swarm of
motorcycles" (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p. 32) and (after the crash)
"the whirr and click of paparazzi cameras [sounded] like little
guillotines" (Lacayo, 1997, p. 55) provided images that evoked much
emotion. They provided the audience with a more vivid picture of
the event than would statements such as "the car was followed by
several motorcycles" or "the photographers were busy taking pictures
of the crash site."
Each of the above examples demonstrates that the media's
choice of words and phrases and repeated emphasis on certain words
74


increased the dramatization of the myth of Diana, contributing to
the emergence of a rhetorical vision.
Participation in Rituals. Another element that contributed to
the myth of Diana was the media's live, world-wide coverage of the
major rituals of her lifeDiana's marriage to Prince Charles in St.
Paul's Cathedral and her funeral at Westminster Abbey. Such
coverage contributed to the audience's feeling that it was a part of
her life and increased the perception that it "knew" who she was and
what she was like. One does not normally attend weddings and
funerals of people they do not know.
Moyers quotes Campbell as saying (of Kennedy's funeral):
Here was an enormous nation, made those four days into a
unanimous community, all of us participating in the same way,
simultaneously, in a single symbolic event. . the first
and only thing of its kind in peacetime that has ever given me
the sense of being a member of this whole national community,
engaged as a unit in the observance of a deeply significant
rite. (Campbell, 1991c, p. xii)
As Moyers interprets Campbell, a ritual "evoke[s] mythological
themes rooted in human need" (in Campbell, 1991c, p. xii). This
also could be said of the world, its coming together as a unanimous
community, and participating in the rituals of Diana's life.
Mythological and archetypal themes were evoked by the rituals and by
the world-wide participation in them.
The strategies used by the media in presenting Diana's life
following her death were repetition, juxtaposition, choice of and
emphasis on certain words and phrases, and the world-wide broadcast
of the important rituals of her life. The use of these strategies
75


created symbolic convergence with regard to Diana's story and
resulted in the creation of the myth of Diana.
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CHAPTER 5
SUMMARY
The purpose of this analysis was to answer the following
research questions:
Research Question 1. Can the media create new, instant
myths ?
Research Question 2. If the media can create new, instant
myths, what strategies do they use to
create these myths?
The media's coverage after Diana's death of her life and death
was chosen as the data to be analyzed in answering the research
questions. The first step to answering these questions was to
explore the literature concerning myth in order to provide a
definition for myth. This new definition of myth, briefly stated,
is as follows:
1. Myth is a second-order semiological system, a type of
speech.
2. Myth is based on both the functions it performs and the
form that it takes.
3. Myth fulfills four functions: a social function, a
natural knowledge function, a personal function, and a
mystical function.
4. Myth takes the form of a "true" story, a heroic story,
with archetypes and culturetypes. Myth relies on
archetypal language and myths often take place outside of
normal time and outside of the normal world, in mythic time
and in a mythic place.
This definition was used in the analysis to determine if the story
of Diana had become a myth. Next, the literature concerning
77


symbolic convergence theory was explored to provide a lens from
which to view the development of a myth.
The analysis revealed that the answer to the first research
question is that the media, indeed, can create new, instant myths.
A new, instant myth has been created about Diana. Diana's story, as
presented by the media, is considered to be "true." Diana is
considered, from a feminist perspective, to be heroic in the manner
in which she faced her personal "shadows," managed them, and,
finally overcame them.
Diana's life can be considered as occurring in a mythic time
because of the time distortion created by the media presentation of
her life. Diana's life can be considered as occurring in mythic
places, places of symbolic power. Through the media's presentation
of Diana, she is seen as an archetype of the mother/earth goddess.
This archetype is apparent both in the love of and care for her
children and in her nurturing of and aid to those rejected by
society. One person, interviewed on the BBC commemorative film,
when asked about Diana, stated, "She loved everyone" (Carr, 1997).
Another stated, "She bring[s] the light to the world" (Carr, 1997),
demonstrating the concept of Diana being thought of as mother/earth
goddess.
The media's presentation of Diana's life showed Diana as
fulfilling two of the functions of myth: the social function and
the personal function. The social function was fulfilled through
the media's presentation both of her compassion for those in need
and of her work to change their lives. This presentation
78


demonstrates the definition of a "good society"one that cares for
those who cannot care for themselvesand it demonstrates the
individual's responsibility to work toward that type of society.
The personal function of myth is fulfilled in the media's
presentation of Diana's triumph over her personal "shadows" or
evils. This presentation of Diana created, especially for women, a
model of how to live their lives while managing problems that
threaten to overcome them.
The media's presentation of Diana's life, occurring after her
death, created the myth of Diana. The strategies used to create
this myth were: repetition, juxtaposition, choice of and emphasis
on certain words and phrases, and world-wide broadcasting of the
major rituals associated with her life.
This analysis demonstrates that new myths can be created by
the media. Because of the power of myth in societies and the
media's ability to create myths, the media can exert great influence
on society. The media can have an impact on how a society views
itself and other societies. The beliefs, values, ideals, and
structure of a society are shaped by myth. Myths reveal problems of
a society and present solutions for these problems. Myths make
individuals aware of their roots in, their role in, and their
responsibilities to their society. In short, myths create a
society's reality. This is evident through the social function that
myth performs.
The personal function served by myths also demonstrates the
impact of myths. Myths teach individuals how to live their lives,
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providing models for behavior, and giving value and meaning to life.
Myths convey perceptions and emotions about situations. Myths teach
individuals to overcome their "animal nature" and exhibit compassion
for others.
This analysis suggests that further research about the media
and the strategies used to create myths is an area deserving more
attention. Because of the media's ability to create or generate new
myths and because of the impact myths have on societies and
individuals, the study of the creation of new myths is an important
and exciting area of research for rhetorical criticism.
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Full Text

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MEDIA AND THE MYTH OF DIANA by Bridgid O'Neil Harris B.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1991 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Communication and Theater 1998

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Bridgid O'Neil Harris has been approved by Michael Monsour Date

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Harris, Bridgid O'Neil (M.A., Communication and Theater) Media and the Myth of Diana Thesis directed by Associate Professor Michael Monsour ABSTRACT The purpose of this thesis is to answer two research questions: (1) Can the media create new, instant myths?; and (2) If the media can create new, instant myths, what strategies do they use to create these myths? The media's coverage after Princess Diana's death of her life and death were chosen as the data to be analyzed in answering the research questions. Literature concerning myth was explored and a new definition of myth proposed. This definition is composed of two dimensions: form and function. The definition, briefly stated, is that myth is a "true" story, a heroic story, occurring outside of normal time and outside of the normal world, and containing archetypes and archetypal language. Myth fulfills four functions: a social function, an understanding function, a personal function, and a mystical function. The requirements of form and some of the requirements of functions must be met in order for a story to be judged mythic. Literature about symbolic convergence was also reviewed and the lens of symbolic convergence was used to view the development of myth and to evaluate strategies used by the media in presenting Diana's story. iii

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Based on the analysis, I judged the story of Diana to be a myth. The story of Diana, as presented by the media, was considered to be a "true" story. The media presented Diana as a hero, from a feminist perspective. She was also presented as the mother/earth-goddess archetype. The time of the story was judged to be mythic because of the media's distortion of normal time, and the locations where her story occurred, to be mythic based on the symbolic power associated with them. Symbolic convergence was judged to have occurred because of the development and use of code words and because of the world-wide emotional response to Diana's death. The strategies used by the media in creating the myth of Diana were determined to be repetition, juxtaposition, word and phrase choice in the media narration, and world-wide broadcasting of the important rituals of life. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed Michael Monsour iv

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DEDICATION I dedicate this thesis, with love, to my husband, Gerald, for all of the help, support, understanding, and encouragement he gave me while I was writing this.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT My thanks to Michael Monsour, my advisor, for all of his patience, help, and encouragement during the past several years. And thank you also to Sonja Foss and Samuel Betty for their help and support.

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CONTENTS CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION .................................. 1 Overview of the Analysis ..................... 2 Research Questions ................ 2 Artifacts to be Analyzed .................... 3 Contribution and Importance of the Analysis ............................ 4 Organization of the Thesis ................. 4 2. DESCRIPTION OF THE ARTIFACTS .......... 6 The Artifacts ........................... 6 The Context for the Artifacts ................ 6 3. LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ 8 Myth ........................................ 8 Myth as a Type of Speech ............... 9 Review and Analysis of Myth Based on Rowland's Definition ......... 13 Functions of Myth ......................... 13 The Form of Myth ....................... 18 Arguments Against Rowland's Definition of Myth ............. 23 Myth and Narrative .................... 25 New Definition of Myth ................... 27 Symbolic Convergence Theory .................. 29 vii

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General Infor.mation ........... 29 Symbolic Interaction, Fantasy Themes, and Rhetorical Visions .......... 31 Fantasy Chains ......................... 35 Mass Media and Symbolic Convergence ....... 36 4. ARTIFACT ANALYSIS ......................... 37 Diana--Her Story ..................... 37 Diana's Story as Myth ................... 49 Diana as a "True" Story .............. 49 Diana as a Hero ....................... 50 Time and Location ................... 57 Diana as Archetype .................. 58 Diana and the Functions of Myth .......... 64 Diana and the Social Function ............. 65 Diana and the Personal Function ........... 67 Diana the Myth ............... 68 The Media and the Myth of Diana ........... 69 Symbolic Convergence and the Myth of Diana ..................... 69 Strategies and the Media's Presentation of Diana ................ 71 5. SUMMARY .................................. 77 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................ 81 viii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Today, when a person hears or reads the word myth, what often comes to mind are classic Greek myths such as those of Zeus and Hera; Horner's Iliad and Odyssey; or Native American myths such as the Navajo myths of the White Shell Woman and the Changing Woman. Today, the term myth can mean "fiction"--rnyths can be thought of as "made-up" stories having nothing to do with reason or with understanding ourselves or our history (Robertson, 1980). However, all who study myth agree that myth is a powerful force in society. Malinowski states: "Myth is .. a vital ingredient of human civilization, it is not an idle tale, but a hard-working active force" (1954, p. 101). There is an "intimate connection between the word, the mythos, the sacred tales of a tribe . and their moral deeds, their social organizations, and even their practical activities" (Malinowski, 1954, p. 96). Levi-Strauss (1978) posits that myths make individuals aware of their roots in and their responsibilities to their society. Robertson argues that "if we would understand our world, or anyone else's, we must understand its myths as well as--indeed as a part of--its realities" (1980, p. xvi). He also notes that the "truth" about America lies both in its myths and its realities. This could be said about any country, culture, or society. Myths define a society's customs and help answer its problems (Rowland, 1990a).

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Myths ground cultures and societies (Campbell, 1991c). A people's myths are an important part of their culture; myths are a means of communicating values and creating "realities." The power and influence of myth on society make myth an exciting and important process deserving of serious study. Overview of the Analysis Research Questions In this study, I will attempt to answer the following research questions: Research Question 1. Research Question 2. Can the media create new, instant myths? If the media can create new, instant myths, what strategies do they use to create these myths? The topic chosen to answer the research questions is the media coverage of the life and death of Diana, Princess of Wales. This topic was chosen for the study for several reasons. The first reason is the strong emotional response to the death of suggesting that people viewed her as more than "just a person." This response may be a result of media coverage following the death of Diana, changing her from a common person into a mythical creature. The second reason is the time frame related to Diana's death. Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, or Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, all elicited strong emotional responses to their death; however, quite a number of years have gone by since their deaths, so 2

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to judge if the myths were "immediate" or the result of time and assimilation into the history of the culture would be difficult. The third reason is that Diana is a woman. Most myths today have heroes who are men, as in the myths of the men mentioned above, but there are few current social myths about women. Symbolic convergence theory was chosen as the lens from which to view the media coverage of Diana's story. This theory examines the ways in which individuals' interpretations of signs, events, and human action can merge to form a social or group interpretation of the same sign, event, or action. Symbolic convergence theory views communication from the perspective of humans as storytellers; because myth is a type of narrative or story, it is an appropriate theory to use in examining the creation of a myth. Artifacts to be Analyzed To answer the research questions, a number of articles about Diana from Newsweek, Time, and People magazines were analyzed. The issues examined were published after the death of Princess Diana. The magazines included regular issues from September 8 and September 15 of 1997 and commemorative or special collector's issues from the fall of 1997. Photographs in these magazine issues also were included in the analysis. An official BBC commemorative videotape provided perspective on the television media's treatment of Diana. 3

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Contribution and Importance of the Analysis Because of the power of myth (Campbell, 1991c; Malinowski, 1948); the importance of myth in societies (Robertson, 1980); the many functions myths perform (Campbell, 1991b; Rowland, 1990a); and the influence of the mass media on society, exploring the news media's ability to create myths is important. If the news media can create myths, their impact on and ability to influence societies and cultures may be greater than previously believed. Analysis of the news media's productions as possible new myths could increase the ability of communication researchers to understand changes in society's values, attitudes, and "realities," much as the work of Rushing (e.g., 1983) and Rushing and Frentz (1995), in mythic movie analysis, has added to rhetoric's base of knowledge. The study also will add another view to the debate over the definition of myth initiated by Rowland with what he referred to as his "narrow, functional/structural" (1990a, p. 101) definition for myth. Organization of the Thesis In this thesis, I first will provide a brief overview of the artifacts being analyzed. Next, I will review the literature of myth, provide a definition of myth, and provide a brief review of symbolic convergence theory. The artifacts will be analyzed, and the definition of myth, presented in this paper, will be used to determine if a myth of "Diana" has been created. Next, I will explore possible ways in which the media created the myth. Finally, 4

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I will summarize the analysis and discuss implications for the future study of myth and the media. 5

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CHAPTER 2 DESCRIPTION OF THE ARTIFACTS The Artifacts The artifacts analyzed in this study were a number of articles about Diana, Princess of Wales, from Newsweek, Time, and People magazines, published after the death of Diana. Photographs from the same magazines were included in the analysis. In addition to the print media, an official BBC commemorative videotape provided a perspective of the television media's treatment of Diana. These artifacts were chosen for this study because I believe them to be representative of the type of coverage concerning Diana found in the print and television media. The Context for the Artifacts Diana's death occurred after an adult life spent in the public eye, not only of England but also of the world. This coverage began in July of 1980, when she began dating Prince Charles, and intensified after their official engagement on February 24, 1981. The July 29, 1981, nfairy tale" wedding, attended by 2,500 guests, was telecast live and was watched by an estimated 750 million people around the world (Royal Wedding, 1997). Around 47,000 letters of congratulations and 10,000 wedding gifts were received (Royal Wedding, 1997). The media coverage was constant and intense; 6

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Diana's relationships, not only with Charles but also with all members of the royal family, her family, and her friends were scrutinized. She had no "private life." Her roles as mother, wife, and royal princess were reviewed and commented about in the world media. Paparazzi constantly followed her. All of Diana's personal and marriage problems were broadcast throughout the world. After her divorce from Charles, the world's attention turned to her struggle to overcome her problems and her triumphs over them, her emphasis on her children, and her focus on her work for such causes as AIDS, poverty, and land mines. The media covered even her style of clothes. Diana died (or as some believe, was killed by the paparazzi) at a time when people saw her as "just corning into her own"-she was in a happy relationship with Dodi Fayed, she had become a spokesperson for several important causes and was beginning to have a positive worldwide impact on these causes, and she was spending time with and enjoying her children. In this context, the artifacts analyzed occurred. 7

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CHAPTER 3 LITERATURE REVIEW The literature review explores two areas. The first area examined is literature concerning myth. The second area is literature about symbolic convergence theory. Myth Sykes (1970) stated that the mythic whole is greater than the sum of its parts; it cannot be broken down. He added that "any attempt to analyze and describe myth must necessarily be inadequate but the attempt must be made nevertheless (1970, p. 20). My attempt to define myth will begin with a literature review of myth as a type of speech. Then I will review and analyze definitions of myth based on the functions myths perform for the people who believe in them and will explore the form required for mythic narrative. This review and analysis will be based on Rowland's (1990a) definition. Then I will present arguments against Rowland's (1990a) definition of and standard for the use of myth in rhetorical analysis. A review of myth and its relationship to narrative will follow. Finally, I will offer a new definition of myth based upon the literature review. 8

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Myth as a Type of Speech Saussure and Myth. Saussure, although his work was not directly related to myths, is important in the study of myth as language. Sections of his theory have been used in establishing methods for defining and interpreting myths (e.g., Levi-Strauss, 1963; Barthes, 1972). Saussure presented the theory of the linguistic sign, defining it and its components. The linguistic sign is "a two-sided psychological entity" (Bally & Sechehaye, 1966, p. 66) composed of the signified and the signifier. The signified is the concept or mental image the source wants the receiver to understand. The signifier is the sound image (or written image) of the signified. The sign is the union of the signified and the signifier (Bally & Sechehaye, 1966) based on "the associative total of the first two terms" (Barthes, 1972, p. 113). For example, the signified would be a mental image of a tree, the signifier would be the spoken word-tree, and the combination of the mental image and the sound image form the sign that could be understood by a person using the same linguistic sign system to mean the actual tree itself. Barthes and Myth. Barthes (1972) contends that myth is a type of speech, a system of communication, and a manner of signification that includes but is not limited to oral speech, painting, photography, and objects. He argues that because of this, myth should be considered a part of Saussure's science of signs, semiology. He states that "[m]yth is not defined by its message, but by the way in which it utters this message: there are 9

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formal limits to myth, there are no substantial ones" (Barthes, 1972, p. 109) Anything can be a myth because what makes it a myth is the manner in which it is communicated. In other words, the form makes the myth, not the message being communicated. Barthes (1972) defines myth as composed of two semiological systems. The first one, which he calls the language-object, is the basic language that "speaks things" (p. 144) and that myth uses to build its second-order semiological system. The second system, referred to as the metalanguage, "speaks of things" (Barthes, 1972, p. 144). The sign in the language-object system becomes a signifier in the mythic or metalanguage system. The mythic system, like Saussure's linguistic sign, is composed of three parts: the form (similar to Saussure's signifier), which is the sign from the language-object system; the concept (similar to Saussure's signified); and the signification (similar to Saussure's sign and consisting of the relationship between form and concept). For example, the sign lion is the form, the concept is courage, and the signification is the interaction between courage and lion that causes the lion to become more than just an animal. In Barthes' words, myth is the sign "laden . with a type of social usage which is added to pure matter" (Barthes, 1972, p. 109); the lion itself is the pure matter and the idea of courage is the social usage of the term lion. Because myth is a metalanguage, there are always two dimensions to it: there is the dimension represented by the sign of the language-object, and there is the dimension represented by the signification. Both of these 10

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dimensions are present at all times; there is no contradiction between them. They are alternative ways of interpretation. It is the combination of these two dimensions that creates the myth. Barthes notes that semiological system is a system of values; now the mythic consumer takes the signification for a system of facts" (1972, p. 131). In other words, the myth becomes a story. Levi-Strauss and Myth. Levi-Strauss also viewed myth as a language nfunctioning on an especially high level where meaning succeeds at 'taking off' from the linguistic ground on which it keeps rolling" (1963, p. 102). He saw myth as a language but, unlike Barthes, he considered the substance or message of the language to be an important part of myth and viewed language (or signs) as a means to express the intangible by means of the tangible. Levi-Strauss created a nscience of mythology," a method to analyze myth structurally, and he searched for the elements [of myth] among the superficial differences" (Levi-Strauss, 1978, p. 8) in primitive mythologies across the world. In order to understand myth, he believed, it must be studied based on the semantic field surrounding it (similar to Barthes' linguistic system), on the culture of the peoples to whom it belongs, and in relationship to other myths of the same culture and of other cultures. A myth, in other words, cannot be studied in isolation. Levi-Strauss (1969) viewed myths as secondary codes (similar to Barthes' metalanguage), with the primary codes {Barthes' 11

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language-object) being the substance of the language. The secondary codes are "the best possible system of axioms and postulates defining the best possible code, capable of conferring a common significance on unconscious formulations which are the work of minds [archetypes], societies, and civilizations chosen from among those most remote from each other" and which "operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact" (Levi-Strauss, 1969, p. 12). Levi-Strauss posits that myths are composed of constituent units of two types: gross constituent units, which are the shortest possible sentences within a myth that consist of a relationship; and true constituent units that are "bundles of such relationships" (Levi-Strauss, 1963, p. 211). In order to compare the meaning of myths from around the world, he broke myths down into their gross constituent units and arranged these units in order based upon the type of relationship within the unit. This allowed Levi-Strauss to locate similar meanings and relationships within myths from unrelated cultures. In summary, Barthes considered the structure or form of the myth as all important. Levi-Strauss, while considering myth a system of signs, a view similar to Barthes', believed that while form was important, the content of the myth is just as important. It aids in determining if a narrative is a myth or "just a story." Neither Barthes' nor Levi-Strauss' theory of myth, however, considered the "work" that myths do for people who believe them. 12

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Review and Analysis of Myth Based on Rowland's Definition Rowland proposed a "narrow structural/functional approach to mythn (1990a, p. 101) and offered a definition of myth based on both the functions performed by myth and the form of myth. He argued that the formal characteristics of myth should be used as a standard for determining if mythic criticism is the appropriate criticism for a rhetorical artifact. Thus began a debate among a number of critics (i.e., Brummett, 1990; Osborn, 1990; Rushing, 1990; & Solomon, 1990), arguing against this proposal. Their arguments will be presented as part of the literature review. However, Osborn stated that Rowland's definition promises help "in recognizing the mythic presence" (1990, p. 121). Rowland's (1990a) definition of myth will be used as the "bones" for the literature review. The first section of the review will cover mythic function, the second mythic form, the third arguments against Rowland's proposed standard, and the fourth, myth as a division of narrative. new definition of myth. Functions of Myth In the fifth section, I will present a Rowland (1990a) states that the overall "work" or function that myths perform is to answer "human problems that cannot be answered discursively" (p. 102); to "define the good society and solve problems, not subject to rational solution" (p. 102); and to "transcend ordinary life and provide meaningful grounding for that which cannot be supported rationally" (p. 103). Robertson (1980) 13

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states that often, the problem solved by a myth is a contradiction, and a retelling [of the myth] provides a catharsis which the participants in the myth take to be an explanation of the original problem" (p. 6), making the problem seem resolved. Myths provide individuals with concrete and specific examples of abstract principles that the individual can use to solve problems (Sykes, 1970). Rushing (1990), however, argues that myths do not always present solutions for problems; sometimes, they simply express or reveal problems, contradictions, or paradoxes that are a part of the side of a culture. Rowland (1990a) notes that great ethos must be generated by a myth to fulfill the function of solving problems, and the key to generating the power of ethos is in the form of the myth. Under this overarching function to answer or solve human problems, myths work to structure society, make sense of the world, and help people deal with psychological development and the crises of life (Rowland, 1990a). Social Function. Robertson (1980) argues that human societies are not rational constructs. He states that, societies depend for continuation, for their very existence, on common assumptions common forms of communication, common referents for thoughts and ideas, common patterns of behavior and ritual, and a common inheritance" (Robertson, 1980, p. 17). Myths help provide these commonalities. Myths create social meanings (Osborn, 1990), and they support and validate certain social order . [providing] the law of life as it should be in a 14

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good society" (Campbell, 1991c, p. 39). Robertson (1980) states that myths provide justification for a society's past because society's ideals come from the past, expressed through myth. He also states that myths provide explanations for "the origin of the nation, its character, and the cohesiveness of its people" (Robertson, 1980, p. 56). In order to understand a culture, its myths need to be understood. Myths make individuals aware of their roots in society and of their place within the group (Levi-Strauss, 1969), and they enforce moral order by molding the individual to society's requirements (Campbell, 1991b). The function of myth in society is not always positive. Malinowski states that myths may be used "to account for extraordinary privileges or duties, for greater social inequities, for severe burdens of rank, whether this be very high or very low" (1954, p. 84). Myths can function to "further the ends of a particular person or group . [or) to enhance the power of a privileged class" (Rushing & Frentz, 1995, p. 46). Also, a myth of a "chosen people" can weaken or destroy a country or culture because it divides individuals into the chosen and the unchosen (Campbell, 1988). In summary, myth has more effects on society than simply to structure it or to solve its problems. Myths also provide an understanding of the society; justify its beliefs, ideals, and past; further aims of groups within a society; and weaken or destroy a society. IS

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Understanding the World. Campbell (1991c) calls the function of understanding the world the cosmological dimension of myth. It is the scientific function, concerned with explaining the universe and nature while maintaining its mystery. Myths provide explanations for the origins of plants, animals, humans, and the world (Beane & Doty, 1976). Malinowski (1954) states that myths can explain natural events such as the movement of the sun or the phases of the moon. Robertson (1980) suggests our belief in reason and science is our myth" (p. xvi) because we believe in science as "completely and absolutely" (p. xvi) as others have believed their myths. Doty states, "Modern science as a worldview rests upon a foundation (post-Cartesian) mythic story of reality, although this story is precisely one that claims to be anything but mythical" (1986, p. 61). Personal Function. Campbell argues that the most important function of myth is foster the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity, in accord with d) himself . c) his culture b) the universe ... [and] a) that awesome ultimate mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things" (1991b, p. 6). Myths hold a mirror up to the and show it as it actually is (Campbell, 1991b). They show people how to live their lives under any circumstances (Campbell, 1991c). Austin states that is the primary ground on which we articulate our experience of ourselves in our social and natural environment" (1990, p. 5). Eliade posits that myths provide models for human behavior and give value and meaning to life (Beane & Doty, 1976). 16

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Sykes states that myths can "convey a perception of a situation (1970, p. 18), along with the values, beliefs, and attitudes used to analyze it. Myths also communicate the emotions aroused by the perception--the language of myth is emotive, not scientific (Sykes, 1970). Myths teach compassion--"awakening of the heart from bestial self-interest to humanity" (Campbell, 1991c, p. 201). Campbell (1991c) also argues that myth asks people to be individuals who live life from the heart, from humanity, and not from "programmed political intentions" (p. 179). Rushing argues that female myths help women to "get in touch with what they are, with being" (Crable, 1990, pp. 292-93) Mystical Function. Although Rowland (1990a) does not include a mystical function for myth, to include it is appropriate because of the importance of spiritualism and religion to societies and to individuals. Rushing and Frentz state that "[a] myth's purpose is . the communication of spiritual meaning" (1995, p. 46) Campbell defines this functions as helping individuals to realize "what a wonder the universe is, and what a wonder you are, and experiencing awe before this mystery . the universe becomes a holy picture" (1991c, pp. 38-39). Eliade argues that myths represent genuine religious experiences because "one is seized by the sacred, exalting power of the events recollected or reenacted" (Beane & Doty, 1975, p. 6). Myths are considered as sacred and revered, and represent "a statement of a primeval, greater, and more 17

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relevant reality, by which the present life, fates, and activities of mankind are determined" (Malinowski, 1954, p. 108). The Form of Myth In order to fulfill the various functions myths perform and to produce the power of traditional myths, myths must follow a set of five defining characteristics (Rowland, 1990a). If the set is not complete, if "an ingredient is missing, the power of the myth is diminished" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 103). The five defining characteristics are, briefly, as follows: 1. Myths are "true" stories. 2. Myths' main characters must be heroic. 3. Myths occur outside of normal time. 4. Myths occur outside of the normal world. 5. Myths rely heavily on archetypal language. These five characteristics will be individually examined. "True" Stories. Myths are serious stories considered as "true" by the people who tell them, although they are not necessarily true in the historical sense but "'true' in a larger sense" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 103). The power of the myth will dissipate if this sense of truth is lost (Rowland, 1990a). The Norse myths of Thor are examples of such dissipation; they are now "just stories." Rowland adds, "someone might invent a myth, create a myth and although it was not accepted as true at that point, this person is clearly making a truth claim" (Crable, 1990, p. 284), and this is different from a story told for fun. Rowland's statement 18

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regarding "truth claims" allows for the consideration of the creation of new myths. Western scholars have accepted myth as a "true story," dealing with reality, a story that is important, exemplary, and sacred (Eliade in Beane & Doty, 1976) Malinowski states that myth is not fiction, not a novel, but "a living reality, believed to have happened in primeval times, and continuing ever since to influence the world and human destinies" (1948, p. 100). There is a difference between objective truth and "other kinds of truth expressed in the important stories of our time" (Rushing, 1990, p. 139) These "other kinds of truth" can be about things such as how to live a "good life" and how to fit into society. Heroes in Myth. "Myths must be heroic in order to fulfill their function" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 104) of serving as "a model for social action (p. 104). The greater the evil that must be overcome, the greater the power of the myth. Rushing (1990) notes that if some myths function to reveal problems, not solve problems, these myths require an anti-hero; one example she provides is the monster in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. Rowland does not address the concept of anti-heroes or the concept of demons. If there is a hero in a myth, there is also, as the hero's counterpart, a need for a demon (Osborn, 1990) Campbell (1991c) suggests that there may be only one archetypal hero who has been replicated in many forms throughout mythology. This hero is usually the founder of something--a new age, a new church, a new way of doing things, and the like. In 19

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order to do this, the hero must go on a quest, leaving the old and searching for the new. Moyers notes that the hero's journey is about overcoming and controlling the "dark passion" (in Campbell, 1990x, p. xiii) within him or herself. Today, national figures and "superstars" are the heroes in social myths. They are viewed as "set apart from ordinary human beings" (Robertson, 1980, p. 7) while, at the same time, serving as models for social life (Robertson, 1980) Campbell asserts that a person who is a model "for other people's lives .. has moved into the sphere of being mythological" (199lc, p. 20) and that a "public hero is sensitive to the needs of his time" (1991c, p. 164). Solomon argues that not all myths require "heroes conquering evil." Such a dimension suggests a competitive game, which is not the way many women approach tasks (Crable, 1990). There is a need and a place for woman-as-hero in today's mythology. Time. Myths usually occur "outside of normal historical time" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 104) or in a time that has been changed into a mythical time because of the power associated with it, such as the Revolutionary War and the beginning of the United States. Rowland has support for this from Eliade, who states: "Myth narrates a sacred history; it relates an event that took place in . the fabled time of 'beginnings'" (Beane & Doty, 1976, p. 3) Myths occur outside of normal time because they require a time of quality and power not found in normal time (Eliade in Beane & Doty, 1976). Mythic logic does not follow the normal perception of time "Historical time may be telescoped [E]vents that actually 20

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took place years apart are often juxtaposed and given an association" (Robertson, 1980, p. 56). Such a juxtaposition could allow the creation of myths that did occur in historic time by altering the historic time and creating "mythic time." Location. usually occur outside of the normal world or in a real place possessing special symbolic power, such as Jerusalem" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 104). Although little has been written about myths occurring outside of the normal world, many myths do occur in special, symbolic places such as Jerusalem, Mount Olympus, and sacred sites from Native American mythology. Eliade asserts that many cultures have sacred places that are believed to be the of the World," a world created for them by their gods in the time of (Eliade, 1987). Archetypes. Myths rely on language, functioning as 'archetypal dreams'" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 104). Rowland states, "[B]ecause archetypes function as the most powerful symbols in a society it makes sense that they would be present in myth" (1990a, p. 104). Jung states that archetypes in myth are only conscious representations of the primitive characteristics that formed the original or prehistoric mind of humans. Archetypes are "mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual's own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind" (Jung, von Franz, et al., 1964, p. 57). They are "unconscious manifestations of the organs of the body and their powers" (Campbell, 1991c, p. 60) and are inherited in 21

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much the same manner as the organs of the body have evolved and the characteristics are inherited. The unconscious creates forms from the content of the mind, and these forms are similar for all minds which may be why many similarities can be found in myths world-wide (Levi-Strauss, 1963). Austin (1990) could be considered as supporting the theory of LeviStrauss. Austin posits that "imagination, a plastic medium, receives impressions from archetypal forms of nature, and by an active force realizes the impressions in its own forms, as images, symbols, and ideas" (1990, p. 5). Myths become "the ground of the numinous archetypes" (Austin, 1990, p. 6). Campbell (1991c) offers for consideration a countertheory of diffusion to the theory of archetypes for the similarities found in myths throughout the world. The countertheory suggests that myths could develop from the way in which cultures relate to the world and to their means of survival, and would be spread throughout the world based on migration of individuals or groups. For example, an agricultural society would develop myths related to the growing of crops. As individuals from that society migrated, they would carry their mythology with them. This countertheory, however, would not account for finding similar mythic structures in a hunting society (Campbell, 1991c) Archetypes are expressed in the symbols available to a society (Rushing, 1990). Culturetypes are a reflection of archetypes (Osborn, 1990) and are "culture-specific symbols that resonate important values" (Osborn, 1990, p. 123). Osborn suggests that 22

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archetypes and culturetypes support and complete each other, with expressing the special values and meanings of a society [and] archetypes anchoring the cultural system in enduring meaningfulness" (1990, p. 123), reminding people of their humanity. Arguments Against Rowland's Definition of Myth Rowland (1990a, 1990b) argued for one definition of myth and the use of that definition as a standard for determining if mythic criticism should be used to analyze rhetorical artifacts. Only those artifacts that meet all points in his definition could be analyzed using myth, thus preventing the powerful form of myth from becoming common usage (anything could be considered mythic) and from being misapplied (finding complex interpretations for artifacts where a simple explanation is enough) Osborn (1990) argues that Rowland's is a narrow-minded approach that would discourage critics "from finding a muted yet still important mythic presence in works that are not predominantly mythic" (p. 124) and would curtail creative discoveries. Rushing (1990) argues that to follow Rowland's limited application would create a usterile form of criticism" (p. 136) and would not allow for new myths. She also states that the believability requirement ignores the role of the unconscious. Because a myth need not be considered true historically, it could be believed as true subjectively, stemming from archetypes and the unconscious. Rushing states that the "real danger [in Rowland's standard] lies in reducing this infinitely rich field of study to a 23

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unidimensional one and in confining critical insight to what is empirically verifiable" {1990, p. 147). Brummett (1990) argues that myth as a category for rhetorical criticism needs to remain flexible, and Rowland's standard would prevents such flexibility. He adds that Rowland's view implies "that myth is like religion" (p. 134). Campbell would agree with Brummett's position; he states, "mythology is very fluid. Most of the myths are self contradictory . [and] . then theology comes along and says it has got to be just this way" (1991c, p. 174). Solomon (1990) also argues against Rowland, comparing myth to language and stating that if each word had only one meaning we would lose "all the richness and subtlety of language and reduce it to the sterility of mathematics" {p. 117). She states that simplicity is not always the best interpretation for an artifact; "complex and sophisticated interpretations can and often do reveal new facets" (p. 118). Solomon adds that there is no one single meaning to each text; each person finds her or his own meaning. Based on the above arguments, a rigid application of a definition and standard in the field of mythic criticism is very limiting. However, defining myth and applying that definition flexibly to artifacts avoids the problems presented above. In addition, because part of the definition of myth is that it is a semiological system, which, according to Barthes (1972), means that anything can be a myth, depending upon how it is communicated and 24

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the nature of the interaction between the form and the concept, mythic criticism can be broadly applied. Myth and Narrative In Fisher's (1989) narrative paradigm, human nature is described as that of the storyteller. He refers to humans as homo narrans. Inherent in homo narrans is their awareness of narrative probability and narrative fidelity. Narrative probability is the to judge the coherence of a story. Narrative fidelity is the ability to judge the truth of the story when compared to other stories known to be true (Fisher, 1989). Because myth is one type narrative, in order to have a myth that endures, it necessarily need to be judged to be both coherent and true. Myth is but one type of narrative and, because the distinctions among categories of narrative are often blurred, the =ategorization of narratives will be explored. Rowland (1990a, 1990b) divides narrative into three categories: myths--stories as defined by Rowland (1990a); folk tales--stories telling of "fantastic events" but that are not considered "true"; and social narratives--stories considered true and that lack mythic form as defined by Rowland. The problem with Rowland's classification is identified by Rushing and supported by Fisher's narrative paradigm. Rushing states that narrative is the "genus from which other species are derived" (1990, p. 142); therefore, narrative cannot be a class of narrative. Rushing (1990) divides narratives into the following 25

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classifications: archetypal myth, cultural myth, fables, folk tales, and fairy tales. While I agree with Rushing's divisions, I think that archetypal and cultural myths can be considered as one classification with two sub-categories. These classifications of narrative--myth, fable, folk tales, and fairy tales--along with a brief description of each classification follow. Myths are a classification of narrative considered "true" stories because they concern individuals and cultures directly, whereas the other classifications do "not alter the human condition" (Eliade in Beane & Doty, 1976, p. 4). Myths are concerned with the serious matters of life (Campbell, 1991c). Rushing divides myths into two types: archetypal myths which are stories "express[ing] values that are universal to the human race" (Rushing, 1990, p. 143), and cultural myths (similar to what Rowland (1990a) termed social myths) which are stories "ernbody[ing] fundamental values" (Rushing, 1990, p. 143) of the culture. Fables are stories with a moral and are related to a particular culture. The fable is similar to what Malinowski (1954) refers to as a legend which enters "more deeply" into tribal life than does a tale. Folk tales are stories that are related to a particular culture but which have no moral. Campbell (1991c) would disagree with this definition of folk tale. He states that folk tales are for the "young people" of a society and are told to socialize them into the society. Fairy tales are stories that may be a "decayed and 26

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allegorized myth or a more primordial form from which myth is elaborated" (Rushing, 1990, p. 143). Campbell (1991c) and Malinowski (1954) state that fairy tales are for entertainment, and Campbell adds that fairy tales are children's myths. Bettelheim (1997) would support Campbell's (199lc) view of fairy tales as children's myths. Bettelheim asserts that finding meaning in our life and developing inner resources come in small steps. Fairy tales assist children in these processes by helping them make nsome coherent sense out of the turmoil of [their] feelings" (1997, p. 5). Bettelheim (1997) states that nfairy tales carry important messages to the conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious mind" (p. 6) and nspeak to [the child's] budding ego and encourage its development, while at the same time relieving preconscious and unconscious pressures" (p. 6). New Definition of Myth The definition of myth I use in this study is very similar to Rowland's and follows his format of form and function. Unlike Rowland, however, I believe that myth is a very fluid type of narrative and is not a rigid concept that must be adhered to or a rigid standard that must be met. As can be seen in the review of literature concerning the concept of myth, there are many different definitions and conceptions of myth, all of which are valid and all of which add to the richness of meanings for myth in rhetoric. The new definition of myth I will use for my analysis follows. Myth is a second-order semiological system, a type of speech, and is 27

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based on both the functions it performs and the form that it takes. The functions of myth are as follows: 1. Myths function in society to: define the good society; create social meanings and structures; justify society's beliefs, ideals, values, and past; reveal societal problems; solve societal problems; and make individuals aware of their roots in, their place in, and their responsibilities to society. 2. Myths function to help individuals and societies explain nature and the universe. 3. Myths perform for individuals the functions of: teaching individuals how to live their lives in a variety of situations; providing models for behavior; giving value and meaning to life; teaching individuals to overcome their "animal nature"; conveying perceptions and emotions about situations; and teaching values, beliefs, and attitudes. 4. Myths function in a mystical sense, communicating spiritual meaning and the wonder of the universe. The form myths take is as follows: 1. Myths are "true" stories--not necessarily objectively true but true subjectively in the answers they provide for the functions they fulfill. 2. Myths are heroic, having either larger-than-life heroes-male or female--who provide courageous examples of ways to handle life's situations (situations involving 28

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"demons," "great evil" outside of oneself, or the "shadow" within oneself) or larger-than-life anti-heroes who point out problems in society but don't solve them. 3. The mythic heroes and anti-heroes are based in archetypes and culturetypes, and myth relies on archetypal language. 4. Myths often occur outside of normal time and outside of the normal world, but normal time and the normal world can become mythic time and mythic world through the presentation of the myth and through the symbolism and power attributed to the time or place. Symbolic Convergence Theory The review of symbolic convergence theory will examine major assumptions of the theory, its basic structure, and the definition of fantasy. Next, I will look at fantasy themes and rhetorical visions, followed by a review of fantasy chains. Finally, I will consider the relationship between symbolic convergence and mass media. General Information Symbolic convergence theory (SCT) is a general communication theory (Bormann, 1985) that underscores the importance of imagination and imaginative language in communication (Bormann, Cragan, & Shielda, 1994). It addresses "the human tendency to interpret signs, signals, current experience, and human action and 29

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invest them with meaning" (Bormann, 1986, p. 221). It accounts for human communication in relation to homo narrans--humans as storytellers, "explain[ing] the appearance of a group consciousness, with its implied shared emotions, motives, and meanings . in terms of socially shared narrations or fantasies" (Bormann, 1985, p. 128). The power of SCT is based on people's tendency to attempt to understand events by attributing motivations to human actions (Bormann, 1985). This process allows individuals to assign responsibility, to love or hate, to assign guilt, and the like when interpreting events. Two major assumptions form the basis for SCT (Foss, 1996). One assumption "is that communication creates reality" (p. 122) by ordering sensory experiences and "halt[ing] the constant flux of the contents of consciousness by fixing a substance with a linguistic symbol" (p. 122). The second assumption is that individuals' symbolic meaning can "converge to create a shared reality for participants" (Foss, 1996, p. 122). In other words, symbolic convergence occurs when "two or more private symbolic worlds incline toward one another, come more closely together, or even overlap" (Bormann, 1985, p. 134). This overlapping creates a group consciousness. Bormann (1985) states that SCT "has a three part structure" (p. 129). In part one, the critic looks at repeated patterns and forms of communication "that indicate the evolution and presence of a shared group consciousness" (p. 129). In part two, the critic 30

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describes the "life-cycle" of group consciousnesses and the effects group consciousnesses have on communication within the group. In part three, the critic examines the factors that explain why fantasies are shared within a group and why fantasies occur when they do. The term fantasy in the context of SCT does not follow the common-usage meaning of "imaginary" or "not reality based." Fantasy is a technical term in symbolic convergence theory and is defined as "the creative and imaginative shared interpretation of events that fulfills a group psychological or rhetorical need" (Bormann, 1986, p. 221). Although fantasies can include fictitious stories shared by a group, they "often deal with things that have actually happened to members of the group or that are reported in authenticated works of history, [or] in the news media" (Bormann, 1986, p. 221). Bormann (1994) asserts that evidence supports the extension of "symbolic convergence theory from small group communication to other communication contexts" (p. 273). Foss (1996) states that symbolic convergence theory and its derivative method of criticism, fantasytheme analysis, can be applied not just to small group communication but also to the communication "of social movements, political campaigns, organizational communication, and other kinds of rhetoric as well" (p. 121). Symbolic Interaction, Fantasy Themes, and Rhetorical Visions A fantasy theme is "the content of the dramatizing message that sparks the chain of reactions and feeling" (Bormann, 1985, p. 31

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131); a dramatizing message is a message "that contains one or more of the following: a pun or other word play, a double entendre, a figure of speech, analogy, anecdote, allegory, fable, or narrative" (Bormann, 1986, p. 224). Fantasy themes are the basic unit of analysis in symbolic convergence theory (Foss, 1996) There are three types of fantasy themes, which correspond "to the elements necessary to create a drama: setting, characters, and actions" (Foss, 1996, p. 123). The setting theme places the action and the characters in a location and may provide characteristics of that location. In other words, it provides the context in which the characters appear and the actions occur. Placing the characters and actions in a particular context aids the group in defining the personae of the actors in the drama. Character themes describe the agents or actors in the drama, ascribe qualities to them, assign motive to them, and portray them as having certain characteristics" (Foss, 1996, p. 123). The actors can be heroes, villains, and a supporting cast. Character themes can viewed as creating a persona for actual individuals (e.g., individuals in the news) who appear in the fantasy. There is, however, a difference between the actual individual and the individual's persona (Bormann, et al., 1994). Persona are designed to slant the portrayal of the actual individual so that audiences find the persona to be "a living presence to be loved or hated without ever having any direct personal experience observing or talking to the [actual] individual" (Bormann, et al., 1994, p. 279). 32

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Action themes or plotlines relate the actions in which the characters are involved (Foss, 1996). The action themes contribute to the group's judgement of the characters and can slant the group's assignment of motivation to the characters' actions because the plotline can indicate why certain actions may have been taken. Littlejohn (1989) holds a similar view of fantasy themes and rhetorical vision. He states that fantasy themes "consist of dramatis personae (characters), a plotline, a scene" {1989, p. 109) and, he adds to these components, a sanctioning agent. The "sanctioning agent is a source that legitimizes the story" (Littlejohn, 1989, p. 109). The source can be an individual or group in authority that adds credibility to the fantasy or that authorizes the telling of it. The sanctioning agent can also be an ideal or "a situation or event that makes telling the story seem appropriate" (Littlejohn, 1989, p. 109). Fantasy themes combine to form rhetorical visions. Foss defines rhetorical vision as "a swirling together of fantasy themes to provide a credible interpretation of reality" (1996, p. 125). Rhetorical vision pulls people together and provides them with a shared reality (Littlejohn, 1989), creating a rhetorical community (Bormann, 1985). Rhetorical visions, however, "are never told in their entirety, but are built by sharing associated fantasy themes" (Littlejohn, 1989, p. 109). Fantasy themes and rhetorical visions can be referenced or evoked by code words, key words, or cues that can be the name of a persona, the name of a place, a slogan, a label, or even a gesture 33

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(Bormann, 1985; Littlejohn, 1989). These cues, along with the "recurrence of dramatizing material such as word play, narratives, figures, and analogies in a group's meeting" (Bormann, 1985, p. 131), provide evidence of symbolic convergence. Additional evidence of symbolic convergence is that outsiders to the rhetorical vision have different emotional responses from insiders and, in addition, the outsiders will not respond to the cue (Bormann, 1985) Although life experience is usually chaotic, fantasy themes are "organized and artistic" (Bormann, 1986, p. 226). They are also biased and provide groups with rhetorical means to explain the same events in different ways (Bormann, 1985). In other words, two different groups can view the same event and yet have opposing rhetorical fantasies about that event and the characters who participated in it. The artistry used to create rhetorical fantasies also can vary greatly (Bormann, 1985). Some groups or communities "share dramas in which cardboard characters enact stereotypical melodrama" (p. 135), and others share "a social reality of complexity peopled with characters of stature enacting high tragedies" (p. 135). Emotional arousal accompanies fantasizing or dramatizing (Bormann, 1985), and "group members take pleasure in their joint experience of emotions" (Fisher & Ellis, 1990, p. 47). Fantasies "always interpret, slant, suggest, and persuade" (Bormann, 1985, p. 135), functions that are intensified with emotional arousal. 34

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Fantasy Chains A fantasy chain occurs when a fantasy theme is presented in a skilled dramatization (Bormann, 1986). It is evident in "an explosion of symbolic material" (Fisher & Ellis, 1990, p. 47) with which members of a group become captivated. Foss states that "[a] fantasy chain in a group is established when a participant communicates symbols that relate either to the group's here-and-now problems or to the individual psychodynamics of the participants" (1979, p. 134), creating fantasies that become increasingly complete and reflect the group's commonalities. The chaining causes the group members to empathize, "to improve on the same theme, or to respond emotionally" (Foss, 1979, p. 134). Bormann asserts that "the chain is triggered by the first dramatizing message and then is picked up and elaborated by others" (1986, p. 231). Additional members of the group then become excited and involved, "adding their emotional support and often modifying the ongoing script" (p. 231). Group members do not feel normal constraints and do feel free to suggest new and creative ideas and concepts (Bormann, 1986) Foss notes that the "concept of rhetorical vision extends the fantasy chain to the level of social movements" (19.79, p. 134). In the same manner that fantasy chains create a unique small-group culture, fantasy themes of social movements chain out to public audiences and form rhetorical visions {Foss, 1979). Members of the movement use the rhetorical vision to create media messages to gain new members for the movement. 35

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Mass Media and Symbolic Convergence The dramatizing messages of symbolic convergence theory are concerned with narratives occurring in a setting other than the "here and now" (Bormann, 1986) Symbolic convergence theory does not include unfolding realities; in other words, symbolic convergence does not occur at the time an event is taking place, but does occur subsequent to the event. Because of this, television coverage of events happening as they are being broadcast (e.g., special news bulletins and on-the-scene shots) do not qualify as a basis for sharing group fantasies. However, "a structured dramatic account of the same event after it has taken place" (Bormann, 1985, p. 131), presented on a later news program or broadcast, would be considered a dramatizing message. Audience members could share in the rhetorical vision, developing characters, plotlines, and scenes; becoming emotionally involved; and achieving symbolic convergence about the new story (Bormann, 1985). 36

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CHAPTER 4 ARTIFACT ANALYSIS In this chapter, I will present, as the first step in the analysis of Diana as myth, a brief version of the story of Diana, dramatized as presented in artifacts. I believe this is necessary in order to understand her drama. Second, the story of Diana will be analyzed to determine if it meets the characteristics of the form of myth (from the new definition of myth presented in Chapter 3). Third, the story of Diana will be examined to determine if any of the functions of myth, again from the new definition, are fulfilled. Additional information and quotes are taken from artifacts and used as support in this analysis because any myth created about Diana would be a composite pulled from many sources and not just those used for the short version of the story presented below. Finally, the media coverage of the story will be examined to determine how a rhetorical vision of the myth of Diana was created. Diana-Her Story McGrath states that, in England, there is "a peculiar division of labor in public life: it assigns its political leaders the substance of things while reserving for its monarchs the realm of the theatrical, the symbolic" (1997, p. 51). Diana, as presented by the media following her death, became a symbol not only to England but to the world, beginning with her "fairy-tale" wedding and ending 37

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with her tragic death. Diana's life was "enlarged for us all by unrelenting advertisement, blown up like a fictional drama so that it is already entering, before our eyes, the realm of myth" (Morris, 1997, p. 50). Morrow states that where the Greeks had stories of gods and goddesses from Olympus, we now have stories of celebrities from the "people" column such as the story of Diana with "a fairytale beginning, a troubled middle and a climax of pageant at the sad end" (1997, p. 77). In the Beginning. Diana, when the media first introduced her to the world in 1980, was a kindergarten teacher and a nanny "who could cross the street without stopping traffic" (Gibbs & Painton, 1997, p. 50). She became famous overnight because of the attention of Prince Charles and her subsequent engagement to him. Her first press photograph shows Diana, her head slightly bowed, holding the hand of one child while carrying another (photographs in Giles, 1997, p. 28 & Reed, 1997c, p. 15). This, as Gibbs and Painton with Time magazine characterized her, "was 'shy Di,' with the streaked pageboy and lanky limbs backlighted through the thin flowered skirt" (1997, p. 50) "stepp[ing] gingerly into the spotlight" (Hallett, 1997, p. 4). From that moment, the press attention was constant. "The press was dreadful it was nonstop. She had no guidance from palace because they were trying to pretend it didn't exist" (Chau-Eoan, 1997, p. 68), stated Kay King, headmistress of the Young England kindergarten where Diana worked. The world, via the media presentation, learned of her childhood. Diana was born on July 1, 1961, to Edward John (at that 38

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time the Viscount Althorp, later the Earl of Spencer) and his wife, Frances. They had wanted a son (Reed, 1994a). was not a Spencer priority. Diana and her [younger] brother [Charles] had only passing contact with their mother and father" (Reed, 1997a, p. 10). Diana was six in 1967 when her parents were separated. Her mother "left her father . for Peter Shand Kydd, a wealthy businessman" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 43). Following the divorce, Diana and her brother spent their time between their parents' homes. Reed, a writer for People magazine, states, the divorce, the bubbly child [Diana] turned inward and 'Shy Di' was born" (1997a, p. 10). She became a to her little brother, comforting him when he was afraid. At the age of nine, Diana began attending her first boarding school, Riddlesworth Hall, where she was only an average student but did win an award for "helpfulness and volunteering around school" (Reed, 1997a, p. 12). When she was 12, she went to West Heath, an exclusive school in Kent (Kantrowitz, 1997), where, she won "another award for service" but failed "to pass any exams" (Reed, 1997a, p. 12). At age 16, Diana attended a Swiss finishing school for a few months. That was the end of her formal education. Kantrowitz (1997), a writer for Newsweek magazine, presents Diana as having been considered to be the perfect choice for the wife of the future king. She was descended from James I, the first Stuart king, and would be "the first Englishwoman to marry an heir to the throne in more than 300 years" (Chau-Eoan, Wulf, Kluger, 39

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Redman, Van Biema, 1997, p. 35). Her ancestry on her mother's side included a distant relationship seven U.S. Presidents, including John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, and Franklin D. Roosevelt" (Reed, 1997a, p. 10). Kantrowitz states, "Just as important [to the royal family as ancestry], Diana was a virgin; no old lovers would show up to sell their stories to the tabloids" (1997, p. 43). Prince Charles, however, had a past that was not so innocent, having had a long-term relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. In fact, as presented by writers in Newsweek (Kantrowitz, 1997), People (Green, 1997a), and Time (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997), Diana had doubts before the wedding. She and Charles fought about his relationship with Camilla after Diana discovered, by opening a package accidentally, that Charles had given Camilla an engraved gold bracelet to commemorate their relationship. Diana had her sisters to lunch some time before the wedding to ask them if they thought she could get out of marrying Charles; "'Your face is on the tea towels,' they famously replied, 'so it's too late to chicken out now"' (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p. 36). The Wedding. The wedding of Charles and Diana was, as noted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, "the stuff of which fairy tales are made" (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p. 32). "When Prince Charles and Lady Diana Frances Spencer married on July 29, 1981, three quarters of a billion people in 74 countries tuned into a brilliantly choreographed spectacle, the Wedding of the Century" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 40). Elliott, a writer with Newsweek, presented this view: "Her wedding gown seemed to stretch the length of St. Paul's, and 40

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when the bridal couple chastely kissed afterward on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, millions thrilled to the spectacle" (1997a, p. 27). The live television broadcast of the newlywed's trip to Buckingham Palace (Carr, 1997) showed Princess Diana and Prince Charles waving and smiling from a burgundy, red, and gold carriage, pulled by four white horses, accompanied by liveried footmen and outriders. The Marriage. Morton, a writer with Newsweek, reports that Diana stated, in her first television interview, feel my role is supporting my husband whenever I can, and always being behind him, encouraging him. And also, most important, being a mother and a wife. And that's what I try to achieve" (1997, p. 64). Because her parents were divorced, that her marriage succeed was important to her (Kantrowitz, 1997). Charles and Diana had two children, William, in 1982, and Harry, in 1984, who were referred to as heir and the spare" (Kantrowitz, 1997). Adler and Foote (1997), of Newsweek, stated that Diana's children were extremely important to her and that she tried to give them as normal a life as possible. She wanted them to have the maternal love and support she believed Charles had never received. Diana breast fed both of her sons and, breaking with tradition, insisted on bringing the infant William along on a tour of Australia (Kantrowitz, 1997). The boys were openly hugged by Diana and taken out to amusement parks and hamburger stands. A well-known photograph shows Diana, wearing a red and white checked 41

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suit, a huge smile on her face, and her arms outstretched to hug her two sons (photographs in Ames, 1997, p. 60 & Sanz, 1997, p. 110). Bradford, with Newsweek, presented Diana as being--unlike the royals--extremely in her attitudes, with friends from all walks of life" (1997, p. 53). Diana evolved during her marriage a somewhat pudgy girl dressed in frilly blouses to a sleek fashion plate decked out in designer gowns" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 43), but, more important, she evolved, as Graham states in an article for Newsweek, into with a mature heart and interests" (1997, p. 68). Graham goes on to say that Diana brought to royalty two special behaviors: speaking frankly and touching people. Diana used these behaviors as she developed her own causes, "which centered on children and people with AIDS and cancer" (Graham, 1997, p. 68). Problems and Charities. Kantrowitz (1997) offers the opinion that even as Diana's private life disintegrated and she began suffering from depression and bulimia, she worked for and with and comforted the people society rejected: battered women, AIDS patients, and drug addicts. She found "it gave her the will to carry on" (Morton, 1997, p. 65). Diana's increased popularity did not help the marriage problems. McGrath, with Newsweek, writes that Diana was the one crowds gathered to see, not Prince Charles; he was assigned the role of Diana" (1997, p. 51). Diana had an instinctive ability to form connections with people; Charles did not (Kantrowitz, 1997). Her popularity is evident in the amount of media coverage she 42

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received. Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships," Alter suggested, Di launched at least a thousand covers, and hundreds of millions of newspaper and magazine sales" (1997a, p. 39). Diana was on the cover of Time magazine eight times, which is more than any other royal (Hallett, 1997). This relationship to the media was a love-hate relationship; Cooper (1997), a writer for Newsweek magazine, presents Diana as wanting privacy for her children and herself during their private times but would use the media to draw attention to her charity work. The Breakup of the Marriage. The marriage eventually was revealed to be all-too-modern, deeply troubled one" (Elliott, 1997a, p. 27). Elliott presents Diana as the princess . a woman who, in her misery, became desperately sick" (1997, p. 27). Prince Charles is characterized by Elliot as heir to the throne [who] was not a stoic bulwark and tutor but a man who could barley conceal his irritation that Diana did not develop a stiff upper lip and shape up" (p. 27). By the mid 1980s, Prince Charles had returned to his affair with Camilla, after which Diana began an affair with James Hewitt, a cavalry officer. Hewitt later collaborated on a tell-all book about their romance (Kantrowitz, 1997) As the estrangement between Charles and Diana deepened, it became very apparent to the public. Kantrowitz writes that Charles and Diana would out of their way to avoid physical contact their body language was chilling" (1997, pp. 44 & 46). This is evident in photographs taken in Toronto in 1991 (photograph in 43

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Green, 1997b, pp. 66 & 67) and in South Korea in 1992 (photograph in Green, 1997b, p. 57), in which they appear to be deliberately ignoring each other, not touching and not looking at each other. During the South Korean tour, the estrangement was so apparent that reporters nicknamed them "the Glums" (Kantrowitz, 1997). Charles, in his authorized biography published in 1994, "said that he had never loved Diana and had married her because of pressure from his father" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 46). Charles and Diana officially separated on December 9, 1989, and divorced on August 28, 1996. After the Divorce. Elliott states that what happened next was surprising, and Diana, "a woman who had been contemptuously thought of as dim was revealed to be rather clever" (1997a, p. 30). Begley and Dickey, writers with Newsweek, state that after her divorce, "she could have remade herself as anything from a jet-setting party girl to the cloistered mother of the future king. But she chose nothing so one dimensional" (1997, p. 32). Chau-Eoan et al. presented Diana as emerging from her marriage wounded but taking control of her own life and immersing herself in "tend[ing] to--her sons, the sick, the war ravaged, [and] her own heart" (1997, p. 32). The Lord Spencer, Diana's father, and Mohamed al Fayed, Dodi's father, had had a long-term friendship, so Diana and Dodi had been indirectly linked prior to their first meeting. That first meeting had occurred in 1986, when Prince Charles and Dodi had been on opposing teams in a polo match, but the courtship did not begin until mid-July of 1997. At that time, Mohamed al Fayed asked Diana 44

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and her two sons to vacation with him and his family in St. Tropez (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997). Later that month, aboard Dodi's yacht, Kantrowitz, with Newsweek, wrote, she appeared happy and relaxed and in control" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 41). Oates reported that Diana reportedly confided to a friend the day before she died, the first time in my life I can say I am really happy . I again feel loved" (1997, p. 58). Thomas and Dickey present the idea that Dodi her with the sort of unconditional love that she had never had from the Windsors--or from her own parents" (1997, p. 41). Chau-Eoan et al. wrote that years of smiling bravely and brittlely by the side of a man she was no longer in love with, the princess just may have found one she did love" (1997, p. 34). The Death of Diana. On August 30, 1997, Dodi and Diana dined alone in the Imperial Suite at the Paris Ritz Hotel, owned by Dodi's father. When they left, they took a substitute car and driver, sending the regular car and driver out as a decoy for the paparazzi, which had been following them all day. The substitute car, a black Mercedes S-280 driven by Henri Paul and carrying Diana; Dodi; and Dodi's bodyguard, Trevor Reese-Jones, left the Ritz to go to Dodi's luxury apartment near the Champs E1ysees (Reed, 1997b). It never reached its destination. Begley and Dickey wrote that about one third of the way through a tunnel, near the Seine, "with a bang and a sickening squeal of tires audible to tourists strolling along the river, the car slammed into a pillar" (1997, p. 33). The police estimate the 45

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speed of the car to be around 85 miles per hour. The "entire front of the sedan accordioned into the front seat. The roof collapsed to the level of the front passenger's knees" (Begley & Dickey, 1997, p. 37). Both Time and Newsweek carried picture layouts--one photograph highlighting the horror of the wrecked car juxtaposed with a photograph of Diana emphasizing her beauty and vitality (photographs in Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, pp. 30& 31; Elliott, 1997a, pp. 26 & 27). The driver and Dodi were killed instantly. It took rescuers about an hour to free Diana, who then was rushed to Pitie Salpetriere Hospital. Doctors tried for two hours to save her, performing external and, finally, internal heart massage. She was declared dead at 4:00 a.m. on August 31, but it was not announced publicly until 6:00 a.m. (Begley & Dickey, 1997). During that twohour period between 4:00 and 6:00, Prince Charles told Diana's sons that she was dead. Torn Richardson and Joanna Luz, from San Diego, saw the car enter the tunnel, "feverishly pursued by a swarm of motorcycles and scooters" (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p. 32); then they heard the crash. "Francois Levi, who was driving with his family that night, says he entered the tunnel two cars ahead of Diana and Dedi's" (Lacayo, 1997, p. 53). He saw one motorcycle appear to cut off the Mercedes and then "saw a large white flash" (Lacayo, 1997, p. 53), followed by the crash. Richardson and Luz ran into the tunnel and saw the wrecked car, facing the direction from which it had come. In front of the wreck was a paparazzo, already starting to snap photos (Chau-Eoan et 46

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al., 1997). Frederic Mailliez, a French physician who was passing by, stopped to help; he noted that when he arrived, there were 10 to 15 photographers at work (Lacayo, 1997). Lacayo states that the whirr and click of paparazzi cameras [sounded] like little guillotines" (1997, p. 55). Speculation about the relationship between Diana's death and the paparazzi flourished: "No one is certain yet whether the two-wheeled stalkerazzi who swarmed Diana and Dodi's Mercedes directly caused her death. But they're getting blamed" (Cooper, 1997, p. 36). The Funeral. Tens of millions around the world took part in the funeral service via television and radio, people "who had never actually met her feel[ing] that they, too, lost someone close to them" (I stand, 1997, p.24). The BBC documentary film (Carr, 1997) presented the picture of hundreds of thousands of people--standing silently, or quietly crying, or with eyes closed, appearing to pray--along the route the cortege took from Kensington Palace, Diana's home, to Westminster Abbey, "one of the most hallowed places in England" (Kantrowitz, Pedersen & McGuire, 1997, p. 32). Diana's coffin was followed by her two sons; her former husband, Prince Charles; her former father-in-law, Prince Phillip; her brother, Charles Spencer; and "five representatives from each of the 110 charities with which Diana had been associated. A few were in wheelchairs, a few more on crutches . not the sort of people ordinarily invited to march in royal processions" (Cover: A mortal, 1997, p. 38). Guests at the funeral included Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Steven Spielberg, 47

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43 members of the royal family, including the 97 year-old Queen Mother, and 2,000 friends and acquaintances, many of whom Diana had met through charity work (Kantrowitz, et al., 1997). The funeral was a mixture of traditional npomp, circumstance and pageantry so characteristic of the historic solemnities staged by the British monarchy" (Cover: A mortal, 1997, p. 38) and the modern, with Elton John's performance of ncandle in the Wind," rewritten for Diana. Martin Neary, Westminster Abbey's director of music, stated, "there [was] something for everyone, from all walks of life . the service and music echo[ed] the feeling that she was truly a 'princess of the people'" (Kantrowitz et al., 1997, p. 33). The photographs of hundreds of thousands of flowers placed in front of Kensington Palace strongly reinforces the idea that Diana was the "people's princess" (photographs in Cover: A mortal, 1997, pp. 40 & 41 & Reed, 1997b, p. 79). An article in Time magazine said that the funeral of Diana "demonstrated ... the soothing, cathartic power of ritual, the way in which ceremony can provide a shared context for personal grief" (Cover: A mortal, 1997, p. 39) for those in the Abbey, for the hundreds of thousands who watched on three mammoth screens outside of the Abbey, and for the tens of millions who watched or listen around the world. This is the story of Diana, dramatized and presented in bits and pieces, over and over again by the media. In order to determine if it is a myth, I next will examine the form of the story and then the functions the story fulfills. 48

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Diana's Story as Myth In next section I will analyze Diana's story based on the new definition of myth presented in Chapter 3. This definition provides two dimensions for myth: form and function. The five defining characteristics of the form of myth are as follows: myth is a "true" story; myths main characters must be heroic; myths occur outside of normal time; myths occur outside of the normal world; and, finally, myths contain archetypes and rely on archetypal language. The functions myths fulfill are the social function, the understanding function, the personal function, and the mystical function. I first will analyze Diana's story to determine if it meets the requirements of form and then I will examine the story to determine if it fulfills the functions of myth. Diana as a "True" Story A myth is serious story believed to be a "true" story, not necessarily true in an historical or objective sense, but true subjectively in the answers they provide for the functions they fulfill. These subjective truths can be about things such as how to live a "good life" or providing value or meaning to life. Stories presenting "truth claims" (Rowland in Crable, 1990, p. 284) also can be accepted as myths. The life of Diana, as presented by the media, meets the requirement of myth as a story, a form of narrative, even though the narrative is expressed by the media in incidents and articles, bits and pieces, and notas a complete whole. Each article represents a 49

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piece of the myth, not the myth as a whole. Diana's story is accepted as true because it can be judged by the audience as coherent (narrative probability, Fisher, 1989). It is accepted as truthful based on the audience's comparison of the story to other stories (news items) and also the audience's view of the relationship between Diana's story and other stories that the audience considered to be true (narrative fidelity, Fisher, 1989). In other words, the incidents in the story of Diana form a coherent whole that fits with other stories of news occurring at the same time and having a relationship to incidents in Diana's life. In addition, the story of Diana is because it could be read about in magazines, e.g., Time and Newsweek, and newspapers, observed in photographs, and watched on television news. It was not just a in a book. Diana as a Hero Myths are heroic containing either heroes or anti-heroes. The larger-than-life heroes provide courageous examples of ways in which to overcome evil" outside of oneself or the within oneself. The larger-than-life anti-heroes point out problems in society but do not solve them. In exploring Diana as a hero, I will look at the idea of hero from a feminist perspective. Solomon (in Crable, 1990), as noted previously, argues that the traditional hero, who goes out and actively conquers great evil, is not necessarily the way a woman-ashero would approach the task. There is a lack of women-as-heroes in 50

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today's myths; Diana may fill a part of that need. I will examine Diana-as-hero in her role of coping with personal problems--"shadow" evils that existed within herself--problems with which many women can identify. These problems are as follows: eating disorders, non-acceptance as a member of her husband's family, shyness, her job as a public figure, the press, her husband's affair with Camilla, and divorce from Charles. Gibbs and Painton, with Time magazine, offer a dramatized view of her "shadows": She began as a feminine icon, not a feminist one, abiding by history's [and the Windsors'] demands; producing heirs, cutting ribbons, walking a conspicuous three paces behind the times. A few years and a thousand talk shows later, she became the Princess Victim, bulimic, suicidal, betrayed by a caddish paramour with a tell-all book, trapped in a loveless marriage. (1997, p. 50) Diana and Bulimia. The media presented Diana's self-doubt and insecurities as having led her to begin abusing her body. "Prewedding nerves--along with a casual comment from Charles about her 'chubbiness'" (Green, 1997a, p. 36) resulted in a pre-wedding crash diet. Green (1997a), with People magazine, offered the suggestion that tension and stress caused bingeing followed by purges, behaviors that were accompanied by mood swings. Green wrote that in the fall of 1981, "Diana was purging up to five times a day" (1997a, p. 36) and was only "skin and bones." Chau-Eoan et al. (1997) suggested that postpartum depression after William's 1982 birth added to her bulimia. They also report that Diana had told friends that her son "was the only joy in her life" (1997, p. 36). 51

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When Charles renewed his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, Diana's bulimia increased, and her life became more difficult. An article in Time magazine reported that Diana had said, "Friends on my husband's side were indicating that I was unstable, sick and should be put in a home of some sort in order to get better. I was almost an embarrassment" (Chau-Eoan, 1997, p. 73). She referred to the early 1990s as her "dark ages" (Morton, 1997, p. 64) and, during this period, felt frustrated and powerless. The media offered a picture of Diana as a woman who, despite her own problems, began to speak out about bulimia, exchanging "'war stories' with other women who suffered from eating disorders" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 44). Chau-Eoan, with Time magazine, presented the following statement by Diana: Many would like to believe that eating disorders are merely an expression of female vanity . and the consequent frustrations. Eating disorders .. show how individuals can turn nourishment of the body into a painful attack on themselves, and they have at their core a far deeper problem than mere vanity. (1997, p. 74) As presented by the media, Diana, in speaking out publicly, began to gain control over her shadow and to provide an example for other suffering from the same disorder. Diana and the Windsors. Diana's problem with the royal family can be considered, from a feminist perspective, as an internal evil or "shadow." Her response to their behavior toward her was based on changing her attitudes about herself and not, as a male hero might have tried, in changing their behavior. This is true also in her problem with Charles. 52

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Morris, with Time magazine, presented the idea that many Britons consider the royal family to be the villains--"stuffy and reactionary guardians of an old order into which Diana came as a lovely catalyst" (1997, p. 50). Brooks-Baker, with Newsweek, wrote that the public saw a princess sacrificed on the altar of an arranged, loveless marriage, misunderstood and humiliated by stuffy palace protocol" (1997, p. 57). Oates, in an article for Time, offered the idea that "Princess Diana had been a virgin cynically used by the so-called 'royal family' of Britain, of whom her husband Prince Charles was the most manipulative" (1997, p. 58). Kantrowitz presented the suggestion that there was an immense contrast between her public and her private life; the people loved her and would wait hours to meet her but, at horne, "she felt so unloved that she repeatedly tried to harm herself" (1997, p. 40). Prince Charles himself complained about "his 'remote' mother and critical father" (Bradford, 1997, p. 53). Sanz wrote that put off by the chilly reserve of the royal family, Diana fought to make sure her sons would be "a new breed of royal--warm and unpretentious, openly compassionate and grounded in the world outside of the royal gates" (1997, p. 100). Another problem that resulted in estrangement between Diana and the Windsors was the result of Diana's ability to touch and care for the people. The narrator in the official BBC documentary film about Diana's life stated, "Members of the royal family were patrons of charities before, but Diana altered the concept, breaking down barriers, touching people, without any of the formality of previous 53

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royal visits" (Carr, 1997). The results of one poll, as presented by McGrath in Newsweek, "found only one out of five Britons believed the family was 'concerned with people in real need'" (1997, p. 51), and McGrath suggests that Diana's natural behavior drew attention to what Britons perceived as the Windsors' lack of concern. Gibbs and Painton wrote of Diana, "all along, she seemed to be saying that true royal behavior--courage and grace--was a gift possessed by outsiders" (1997, p. 50), not by the royal family. Diana worked at "breaking free" from the rules of royal life and thereby maintained a sense of normalcy (Kantrowitz, 1997) The media representation of Diana was of a woman who worked hard both to overcome her attitudes that resulted in a sense of rejection and to build her sense of self-esteem. Oates wrote that "by refusing to live a lie for the sake of patriarchal order, Princess Diana exposed the hypocrisy of the Establishment to the glare of commoners" (1997, p. 58). Chau-Eoan et al. (1997) suggested that she became the new symbol of Britain full of youth, vigor, and charm. Elliott, with Newsweek, suggested that Diana symbolized a new Britain to the British: you didn't need to smell of wet dogs and warm beer, you could wear Versace and drink champagne. You didn't have to keep your emotions buttoned under the obligatory stiff upper lip; you could talk about them openly. You didn't have to be ironic; you could be passionately committed to causes. You could even--a really subversive thought--be British and be a sex symbol. (1997b, p. 37) Diana, Shyness, Duties, and the Media. People magazine reported that Diana, when younger, was "so timid that she once agreed to be in a school Christmas pageant only if she didn't have 54

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to speak" (Royal, 1997, p. 24). It was this "Shy Di" who married Prince Charles and wanted "to be a good wife and mother and serve her country as the future queen" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 42). However, as Chau-Eoan et al. reported, she was "being plunged into a role for which she had never been prepared and from which there appeared to be no escape" (1997, p. 36). The BBC film (Carr, 1997) suggested that the royal life with which she was confronted must have been "daunting in the extreme for a shy, twenty year old girl," with its formal rituals of state and glittering displays of wealth and status. She was forced to cope, with "little support from her husband or the rest of the royal family (Chau-Eoan et a1., 1997, p. 36). Diana was a main target of the paparazzi. Alter wrote, "instead of three or four photographers trailing a celebrity, it could, in her case, be 30 or 40, each hoping for that six-figure shot" (1997a, p. 39). Diana was quoted by Cooper, in Newsweek, as saying, "The press is ferocious. It pardons nothing. It only hunts for mistakes" (1997, p. 35). A celebrity photographer from Los Angeles, Scott Downie, provided the following answer when asked the difference between unacceptable and acceptable paparazzi behavior: "With royalty, there is no line" (Cooper, 1997, p. 37). The media presented Diana as a woman who fought with her shyness and won, wanting only some privacy for herself and her sons but willing to accept the price of fame and its responsibilities. She chose, Gibbs and Painton wrote, "to continue with her duties 55

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[not hide from them], to go where she was needed and drag the spotlight with her" (1997, p. 50). Diana, Her Husband's Affair and Their Divorce. Charles' return to his affair with Camilla in the mid-1980s (Kantrowitz, 1997) exasperated the problems between Charles and Diana. Kantrowitz (1997) represented Diana as fighting back by having an affair with James Hewitt. In June of 1994, during an interview, Charles admitted being unfaithful and, later, in his authorized biography, admitted that he never had loved Diana (Kantrowitz, 1997). Oates, in Time magazine, presented Diana's innocence by quoting one of Diana's former classmates, who said of Diana, was a complete romantic, and she was saving herself for the love of her life, which she knew would come one day" (1997, p. 58). Kantrowitz (1997) offered the idea that Diana wanted her marriage to work, she wanted to share everything with him (Prince Charles). Chau-Eoan writing in Time magazine, quoted Diana (from a 1995 interview on BBC television) as saying, think, like any marriage, especially when you've had divorced parents like myself, you'd want to try even harder to make it work . I desperately wanted it to work" (1997, p. 69). The media presented Diana as a woman who had worked hard to save her marriage but, when it failed, she moved on. She had "embraced the American notion that marriage is more about selffulfillment than sacrifice or lines of succession" (Gibbs & Painton, 1997. P. 50). After the separation and divorce she became, an 56

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article in Time stated, "a work in progress, an inspiration to every woman anywhere who faced the trauma and challenge of sudden independence" (Cover: A mortal, 1997, p. 40). Time and Location Myths occur "outside of normal historical time" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 104). Normal time can be changed into mythic time because of the power associated with that time, such as the Revolutionary War. Another way in which normal time can be altered is presenting events that actually occurred years apart as occurring in close proximity. Telescoping the events alters the historic time and creates mythic time. Myths also occur "outside of the normal world or in a real place possessing special symbolic power" (Rowland, 1990a, p. 56). Diana's life can be considered as occurring outside of normal time and outside of the normal world or as in a mythic time and mythic place. The time can be considered mythic because people's perception of time in Diana's story is through the medium of the media. The media did not present a "realistic" or normal-world view of time because the presentation of events was intermittent, not continuous, and because the presentation occurred after Diana's death, resulting in a compressed view of her life. This is consistent with the argument, presented in the literature review of time and myth, that mythic logic does not follow the normal perception of time. As Robertson (1980) notes, events occurring years apart can be "juxtaposed and given an association" (p. 56). 57

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When knowledge of events is presented through intermittent accounts, while it can be made into a coherent narrative, the time involved would not necessarily be normal time. It has the ability to be expanded or compressed to create a more coherent or interesting narrative. The locations for the story of Diana easily can be identified as mythic. She was married in St. Paul's Cathedral in London by the Archbishop of Canterbury. She lived in Kensington Palace and Balmoral Palace. She dined with kings, queens, and heads of state. She was the wife of Prince Charles, the future King of England. She was the mother of Prince William, another future King of England. She traveled the globe surrounded by bodyguards. At her death, her funeral was held at Westminster Abbey, one of England's most hallowed places (Kantrowitz, et al., 1997). The places of her life and the people with which she associated were all representative of symbolic power. Diana as Archetype Archetypes in myths are the conscious representations of the primitive characteristics that formed the original mind of humans (Jung, von Franz, et al., 1964). Archetypes are the most powerful symbols in a society or culture and anchor the system in enduring meaningfulness" (Osborn, 1990, p. 123) The media presentation was of Diana as an archetype of the mother/earth goddess. This archetype is evident in the articles about her care of her children and about her nurturing of and aid to 58

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those rejected by society--e.g., AIDS and HIV patients, the homeless, and victims of land mines. I first will examine her role as mother to her children and then her role as nurturer to the rest of the world. Diana and Her Sons. Van Boven, in an article for Newsweek wrote, "Diana's single-minded devotion and affection [to her sons] were something even her most vituperative critics could not fault" (1997, p. 44); she attempted to protect them from the paparazzi "and the domineering Windsors" (1997, p. 44) and to show them the world. Linda Macks, a friend of Diana's, was quoted by Sanz as reporting, "Her whole life revolved around Prince William and Prince Harry. She would drop everything whenever her boys would come home from school" (1997, p. 100). Chau-Eoan presented Diana from the viewpoint of Mary Robertson, who had employed Diana as a nanny; Robertson said Diana had told her, "They [her sons] are my life" (1997, p. 73). Visitors to her Kensington Palace apartment found rooms "overflowing with pictures of the young princes" (Gleick, 1997, p. 47). The media presented Diana as attempting to provide her sons with a normal childhood, unlike those of her husband and herself-each of them having been raised primarily by nannies. Sanz reported that "Diana, who breast fed both boys, reveled in being a hands-on mom" (1997, p. 100). Bradford (1997) wrote that Diana set standards for her children that were less restrictive than those traditionally set for royal children. "As everyone knows, she played a humanizing, normalizing role in their lives, seeking to introduce 59

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them to as many of the experiences of ordinary life as she could," reported Graham in Newsweek (1997, p. 68). She put them "in touch with ordinary people and . life outside the royal enclave" (Bradford, 1997, p. 53). The media covered Diana as she took her sons white-water rafting in Colorado, to the Caribbean, to amusement parks where they rode water slides and bumper cars, to the latest movies at local theaters, and to McDonald's (Bradford, 1997; Gleick, 1997; Sanz, 1997; & Thomas & Dickey, 1997). One widely published photograph showed Diana and her two sons after a water ride in Thorpe Park near London; they were all soaking wet and laughing (photographs in Ames, 1997, p. 58 & Sanz, 1997, p. 110). Sanz, with People magazine, reported that while Diana wanted her sons to have fun, to laugh, and to enjoy life, there were also "workdays, when [Diana] said, they 'had to dress properly, shake hands and forget any thoughts of selfishness'" (1997, p. 103). She taught them to write letters and thank-you notes to family and friends. To teach them the value of money, when they were young, she put them on a small weekly allowance (Sanz, 1997). Graham wrote that Diana had said she wanted her sons to know "there are poor people as well as palaces" (1997, p. 68). Gleick, a writer for Time, reported that Diana took her sons out into the real world to visit those less fortunate (1997). For example, during the night she took them to a homeless shelter, Diana was quoted by Gleick as saying, "I want them to have an understanding of people's 60

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emotions, of people's insecurities, of people's distress, [and] of their hopes and dreams" (1997, p. 47). A dramatic example of the difference in parenting styles of Charles and Diana was reported by Kantrowitz in Newsweek (1997). In 1991, William was accidentally struck by a golf club while at school and suffered a concussion. Diana stayed by his side in the hospital for two days; Charles stopped by once on his way to a night of opera. Charles, raised to keep his emotions under control, was surprised at the criticism his actions drew. Diana as Mother to the World. Prime Minister Tony Blair said about Diana on the day of her death, "Her own life was touched with tragedy, but she touched the lives of so many others in Britain and throughout the world with joy and comfort" (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p. 38). Diana "told the BBC that she 'found an affinity' with people rejected by society" (Queen, 1997, p. 117) because of her own unhappiness. An article in Time magazine presented her as transforming her pain "into a genuine desire to comfort the suffering of others--people afflicted with AIDS and leprosy and breast cancer, the mutilated victims of land mines" (Cover: A mortal, 1997, p. 123). Her brother, Charles, in his eulogy for Diana, provided an example of her caring; it was her birthday, but instead of celebrating with friends, she attended a fund-raising event as the guest of honor (I stand, 1997). The media presented Diana as having a sense of the responsibility her status created. Chau-Eoan et al. offered this quote from Diana: "Being permanently in the public eye gives me a 61

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special responsibility--to use the impact of photographs to get a message across, to make the world aware of an important cause, to stand up for certain values" (1997, p. 36). Graham, in her article for Newsweek, said of Diana, she believed that if she were going to represent a cause, she needed to see the problem for her self and only take on causes "where her presence could make a difference" (1997' p. 68). The media also presented the view of Diana as mother to the world through their reporting of her work with AIDS and HIV patients and her crusade against land mines: "For 10 years she was deeply committed to her work for AIDS patients and had an ease with the gay men she met" (Elliott, 1997b, p. 37). Elliott (1997a), with Newsweek, reported that Diana hugged AIDS babies before AIDS became a fashionable cause. People magazine reported that Gary Aldridge, an HIV-positive charity worker, said of Diana, "When you shook her hand, she zapped you with a friendly tonic" (Queen, 1997, p. 117). Graham offered that Diana "related to the larger issues in a very personal way" (1997, p. 68), and Graham provided the following example. While visiting Martha's Vineyard, Diana learned that Elizabeth Glaser, an AIDS patient with whom she had corresponded, was on the island. Diana canceled her social plans for the day so that she could have a long visit with her (Graham, 1997). Diana's campaign against land mines symbolized her "global resonance," stated Morton in an article for Newsweek (1997 p. 65). In June of 1997, she visited Washington, D.C., to extend her campaign against land mines (Kantrowitz, 1997). In August, Diana 62

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went to Bosnia on a humanitarian mission to emphasize the need to ban land mines. She visited with mine survivors and their families in both Tuzla and Sarajevo and mourned those who had not survived land mines during a visit to a cemetery (Kantrowitz, 1997). Elliott reported that Diana had the ability to change people's attitudes: "Until Diana no more than a few hundred Britons cared two figs for land mines--but the abolition of these weapons has become one of the country's most fiercely held causes" (Elliott, 1997a, p. 30) The media presented Diana's interests as extending to the homeless, to those with cancer, and to others who just needed someone to care. Solomon, a two-year resident of Centrepoint, a homeless shelter Diana supported, said, "She gave people hope When she came to visit Centrepoint, I think she helped people feel that it was worth living because there was someone out there who cared about them" (Begley & Dickey, 1997, p. 35). Chau-Eoan (1997) reported that Diana, in 1996, traveled to Pakistan after seeing a film about a cancer center located there; Imran Khan, who founded the center, said she had come to see if she could help. While she was there, Khan said, "There was a young boy who had a tumor on his face. That tumor was festering. It smelled I was sitting 4 ft. away and I could smell it. She picked him up. She held him oblivious to everything" (Chau-Eoan, 1997, p. 74). 'she continued to hold him throughout the party the center had for her. Much of Diana's personalized goodwill was unobserved by the media but was reported to the media and presented by the media after 63

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her death, adding to the media's various personae for Diana. One example is her unannounced hospital visit to Shaun, son of Bridget Bradford, a cleaning woman from the Spencer estate. Shaun was dying of cystic fibrosis. Bridget said later: [Diana's visit] made his world" (Queen, 1997, p. 117). Wilson, a writer for Time magazine, expressed Diana's caring this way, star quality was that she made us all believe, in our fantasy life, that she knew all about us. It's as simple and personal as that" (1997, p. 42). People magazine reported that Diana considered Mother Teresa to be a mentor (Queen, 1997) and that they spent time together whenever their paths crossed. The narrator in the BBC documentary film (Carr, 1997) suggested that Diana shared a quality with Mother Teresa--the ability to change the lives of people she met. The implicit suggestion offered by media reports is that at the time of her death, Diana had barely begun what, with encouragement from people such as Mother Teresa, could have been a lifetime of service to important causes. Diana and the Functions of Myth As demonstrated through the information presented above, the story of Diana meets the requirements for the form of myth. It also meets the requirements for the function of myth. In this section, I will present Diana's story in relation to the functions that myths perform, first, looking at the social function of myth and then the personal function. The functions of understanding the world and the

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mystic function, however, do not seem to be served by the story of Diana. Diana and the Social Function Myths function in society to create social meanings and structures. They provide a definition of a "good society," and they reveal and solve societal problems. Myths also make individuals aware of their responsibilities to their society. Defining the "Good Society" and Individual Responsibilities. Diana's brother, Charles said of her in his eulogy: "Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty . All over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden" (I stand, 1997, p. 24). The media presentation of Diana and of her work with over 100 charities, especially those associated with helping people with AIDS, HIV, and cancer, and the homeless, demonstrated both a definition for a "good society"--a world without these problems--and an example of an individual's responsibility to work toward making that society a possibility. Diana also defined the "good society" by, as Trevor Phillips, a black British television executive noted, "'embracing the modern, multicultural, multiethnic Britain without reservation'" (Elliott, 1997b, p. 37). Elliott, with Newsweek, offered the view that with Diana, "you could be British and black, Asian, or gay-and [she] wouldn't even notice" (Elliott, 1997b, p. 37). 65

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Elliott posited that Diana's embracing of all cultures and ethnicities was evident both in her work with gay men and in her choice of Dodi Fayed as a boyfriend. In her work with gay men, through her AIDS and HIV charities and through her personal attention to those with AIDS, she demonstrated an ease with gay men. Elliott quoted Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, Britain's leading advocacy organization for HIV/AIDS, as saying that this ease "went unremarked . but among gay men, it did not go unnoticed" {1997b, p. 37). Elliott continued with this view, "She died with a Muslim boyfriend; don't think that meant nothing in a nation where 700,000 people attend mosques each week (not many fewer than the 1 million who worship at the Church of England)" (1997b, p. 37). The Diana that the media presented demonstrated, through her care of her sons, the responsibilities of a parent in a "good society." These responsibilities are to be a "good parent" for his or her children--caring for them, loving them, setting limits for them, and providing them with a sense of security from which to explore the world, and to be a "good parent" for society--raising children who would become productive members of that society. Revealing and Solving Societal Problems. Part of defining a "good society" is revealing problems. Diana's brother, Charles, pointed out some of the problems she had revealed when he stated, during the eulogy, "Without your God-given sensitivity we would be immersed in greater ignorance at the anguish of AIDS and HIV sufferers, the plight of the homeless, the isolation of the lepers, 66

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the random destruction of land minesn (I stand, 1997, p. 25). Not only did she draw attention to these problems, but she also worked to solve them. Alter states, "just as Kennedy's memorial was the Civil Rights Act, Diana's could be ratification of a treaty banning land mines, not just in Britain (where her focus on the issue achieved results before her death) but in the United Statesn (1997a, p. 39). Diana and the Personal Function According to Campbell, the personal function of myth is the "most vital, most critical function of a mythologyn (1991b, p. 6). Myths teach individuals how to live their lives in a variety of situations and provide models for behavior. Myths teach values, beliefs, and attitudes and teach individuals how to overcome their "animal nature." Myths also give value and meaning to life. The personal functions of myth fulfilled by the story of Diana were directed mainly toward women. Oates, in her article for Time magazine, stated, "in her ordeals, in the courage, stubbornness and idealism of her attempt to reinvent herself as an independent woman, women have found a model for themselvesn (1997, p. 58). Morton noted that, after his book, Diana: Her True Story, was published, he received many letter, "mainly from American women, who sensed in Diana echoes of their own struggles" (1997, p. 65). The media presented Diana as teaching women, through her own struggles with her problems, not only how to live their lives in many situations--with bulimia and other eating disorders, 67

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insecurities, low self-esteem, uncaring husbands and families--but also how to overcome these situations and then "rejoice in being a 'strong woman'" (Elliott, 1997a, p. 30), a woman who "create[d] life on her own term, (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 47). Reagan noted that Diana also touched young people "who identified with, or at least understood her struggles" (1997, p. 65). Diana taught, through examples as presented by the media, the value of a social conscience. She demonstrated that to solve society's problems, people need to do more than give money to a cause. They need to take a personal interest in individuals (Alter, 1997b), visit the homeless, talk with victims of AIDS, find out what life is like for the victims of land mines--take these people into one's life and enter into theirs. Diana the Myth As demonstrated throughout the analysis of the artifacts, the story of Diana is a narrative and can be considered a "true story" with a woman-as-hero. It does occur outside of normal time and in places associated with symbolic power and it does contain archetypal symbols-mother/earth goddess. The story of Diana also fulfills several functions of myth: defining the "good society,; making individuals aware of the responsibilities to that society; revealing and solving or revealing and working to solve social problems; teaching women how to live life in a variety of situations; and providing a model for women of strength, independence, compassion, 68

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grace, and responsibility. Based upon the artifact analysis, the story of Diana is, indeed, a myth. The Media and the Myth of Diana In this section, I will use the lens of symbolic convergence theory to explore strategies used by the media to create the myth of Diana. I need to note that I do not believe the media deliberately sought to create a myth through a strategy but that through the strategies used in presenting Diana's life story, a myth in fact, was created. The creation of the myth was due to symbolic convergence with regard to Diana's story which, occurred as the result of the strategies. First, I will offer evidence that symbolic convergence did occur. Then I will explore the strategies that caused symbolic convergence, resulting in fantasy themes about Diana and the rhetorical vision of the myth of Diana. Symbolic Convergence and the Myth of Diana The media presentation of the story of Diana, following her death, created the myth of Diana through symbolic convergence. The evidence of symbolic convergence is found both in the evocation of fantasy themes and rhetorical vision caused by use of code words or cues and in the emotional response--the outpouring of grief from around the world--following her death. Code words or cues evoking fantasy themes and rhetorical visions included the names Diana, Dodi Fayed, and Prince Charles and the terms the people's princess, Shy Di, fairy-tale wedding, and the 69

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death of Diana. As noted in Chapter 3, fantasy themes, Littlejohn states, "consist of dramatis personae, a plotline, a scene" (1989, p. 109), and a sanctioning agent. The use of any of the above mentioned cues can bring forth, in the minds of many individuals the world over, fantasy themes about Diana, such as: the fantasy theme of the young, innocent, romantic bride (character) having been wooed (plotline) by her Prince Charming (character), saying their vows in St. Paul's Cathedral (setting), driving through crowds of thousands of well-wishers (setting) and finally kissing on the balcony at Buckingham Palace (setting); all events been covered by the world wide media (sanctioning agent). Foss, also as noted in Chapter 3, defines rhetorical vision as "a swirling together of fantasy themes to provide a credible interpretation of reality (1996, p. 125). The above cues also can evoke a rhetorical vision-the mythic narrative of Diana's life, composed of multiple fantasy themes. Emotional arousal accompanies fantasizing or dramatizing (Bormann, 1985). Fisher and Ellis state that "insiders" or "group members take pleasure in their joint experience of emotions" (1990, p. 47). The emotional evidence of the occurrence of symbolic convergence regarding Diana can be found in the following: the extensive number of flowers, cards, and other tributes left in front of not only Kensington Palace but also at other sites such as the British embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Spencer estate; the numbers of people who stood in line for hours to sign a condolence book; the purchase of every type of Diana memorabilia from the 70

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recording of "Candle in the Wind" to stamps, dolls, plates, and even copies of her will; the "hundreds of thousands of messages left on Internet Web pages, chat rooms and bulletin boards by the late princess's admirers from all corners of the earth" (Levy, 1997, p. 66); and the numbers of contributions flowing into the charity fund established in Diana's name. The myth of Diana is a rhetorical vision--"a social reality of complexity, peopled with characters of stature enacting high tragedies" (Bormann, 1985, p. 135). Strategies and the Media's Presentation of Diana Following her death, the media presentation of Diana created various personae for her, which were slanted in such a way that the audiences could love, admire, and respect her. The audiences believed they truly knew who she was even though they had not known or even met her in person. The media used several strategies in presenting Diana: repetition, juxtaposition, choice of and emphasis on certain words and phrases, and world-wide coverage of the important rituals of Diana's life. Repetition. One way these personae were created by the media was through repetition of the same or at least similar stories (or fantasy themes) about Diana, across the media. For example, the persona of Diana, the protective, loving mother--fighting tradition, her husband, and her husband's family to raise her sons to be normal, loving, caring, and responsible adults was presented repeatedly. There were photographs of her and her sons laughing, embracing, and enjoying life. There were multiple stories of their 71

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vacations together and multiple stories of their trips to homeless shelters and visits to patients with AIDS. Juxtaposition. Another strategy used by the media to create and to strengthen the various personae for Diana was to juxtapose Diana's personae with the personae of the "villains" in the myth. For example, one media persona for Diana, following her death, was that of the shy, romantic virgin, in love with her husband, wanting the marriage to succeed. The media persona presented for Prince Charles is that of a villain--a sophisticated, worldly man, who married out of a sense of duty but who never loved his bride and proceeded to reestablish his long-term relationship with Camilla, a married woman. The media persona was of Diana, the innocent, used by Prince Charles to meet his obligations. Diana's affair with Hewitt was presented as a means of "fighting back" against the "villain." Another juxtaposition was that of the media persona Diana, the loving, open person who cared deeply about "regular" people and those society has forgotten such as AIDS patients and the homeless, with the Windsors. This heroic persona of Diana was set against the persona of the Windsors (seen as one entity or character). The media presentation of the Windsor persona was that of a cold, stiff, remote, and uncaring family. Diana was presented campaigning to change the conditions in which the "forgotten" live and to do away with evils of war, such as land mines. She was presented in photographs cradling sick children or inspecting land mine sites wearing a flak jacket and helmet with a protective face mask (Carr, 72

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1997). In addition, stories (untold by the media before her death), were presented by the media after her death. Stories about Diana helping others, not just as a "cause" but on a one-to-one basis, also were presented by the media. One such example was Diana's visit to the bedside of young Shaun Bradford, who was dying of cystic fibrosis. The Windsors, however, were presented by the media as concerned with themselves. Prince Charles, for example was shown, during trips to Scotland, posing for photographers dressed in kilts and fishing. Other members of the royal family were shown at required social functions, waving to crowds from a distance. Not much information was presented about their contributions to charity, at least not in the media presentation following Diana's death. The repetitions of fantasy themes about the various personae and the juxtaposition of Diana's personae with the villain's personae created for the audience part of the form required for the myth of Diana--Diana as hero and Diana as archetype. Word and Phrase Choice in the Media Narration. The choice of words used to present the story of Diana increased the dramatization of the story and made it more "real" and more memorable. For example, the repeated use of the term fairy-tale wedding brings to mind the characters of Cinderella and Prince Charming, relating Diana and Charles to previously formed images. The media's emphasis on "Shy Di" and "Diana, the kindergarten teacher," created a different perspective than would be created by an emphasis on "Lady 73

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Diana Spenser," a woman used to a wealthy life-style (although this was mentioned, it was not emphasized). The media description of behavior, that had occurred during the breakup of the marriage involved phrases such as "their body language was chilling" (Kantrowitz, 1997, p. 46). Such language is much more dramatic than presenting it as "they didn't touch very much." And Thomas ahd Dickey's assessment of Dodi "lavish[ing] her with the sort of unconditional love that she had never had from the Windsors--or from her own parents" (1997, p. 4) was more dramatic than saying, "Dodi seemed to provide her with the love she had been missing." The dramatizing also was evident in descriptions of both the accident and the actions of the paparazzi. Instead of stating, "The car collided with a pillar," it was reported that "with a bang and a sickening squeal of tires . the car slammed into a pillar" (Begley & Dickey, 1997, p. 33). Comments presented by the media such as, the Mercedes was "feverishly perused by a swarm of motorcycles" (Chau-Eoan et al., 1997, p. 32) and (after the crash) "the whirr and click of paparazzi cameras [sounded] like little guillotines" (Lacayo, 1997, p. 55) provided images that evoked much emotion. They provided the audience with a more vivid picture of the event than would statements such as "the car was followed by several motorcycles" or "the photographers were busy taking pictures of the crash site." Each of the above examples demonstrates that the media's choice of words and phrases and repeated emphasis on certain words 74

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increased the dramatization of the myth of Diana, contributing to the emergence of a rhetorical vision. Participation in Rituals. Another element that contributed to the myth of Diana was the media's live, world-wide coverage of the major rituals of her life--Diana's marriage to Prince Charles in St. Paul's Cathedral and her funeral at Westminster Abbey. Such coverage contributed to the audience's feeling that it was a part of her life and increased the perception that it "knew" who she was and what she was like. One does not normally attend weddings and funerals of people they do not know. Moyers quotes Campbell as saying (of Kennedy's funeral): Here was an enormous nation, made those four days into a unanimous community, all of us participating in the same way, simultaneously, in a single symbolic event .... the first and only thing of its kind in peacetime that has ever given me the sense of being a member of this whole national community, engaged as a unit in the observance of a deeply significant rite. (Campbell, 1991c, p. xii) As Moyers interprets Campbell, a ritual "evoke[s] mythological themes rooted in human need" (in Campbell, 1991c, p. xii). This also could be said of the world, its corning together as a unanimous community, and participating in the rituals of Diana's life. Mythological and archetypal themes were evoked by the rituals and by the world-wide participation in them. The strategies used by the media in presenting Diana's life following her death were repetition, juxtaposition, choice of and emphasis on certain words and phrases, and the world-wide broadcast of the important rituals of her life. The use of these strategies 75

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created symbolic convergence with regard to Diana's story and resulted in the creation of the myth of Diana. 76

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CHAPTER 5 SUMMARY The purpose of this analysis was to answer the following research questions: Research Question 1. Research Question 2. Can the media create new, instant myths? If the media can create new, instant myths, what strategies do they use to create these myths? The media's coverage after Diana's death of her life and death was chosen as the data to be analyzed in answering the research questions. The first step to answering these questions was to explore the literature concerning myth in order to provide a definition for myth. This new definition of myth, briefly stated, is as follows: 1. Myth is a second-order semiological system, a type of speech. 2. Myth is based on both the functions it performs and the form that it takes. 3. Myth fulfills four functions: a social function, a natural knowledge function, a personal function, and a mystical function. 4. Myth takes the form of a "true" story, a heroic story, with archetypes and culturetypes. Myth relies on archetypal language and myths often take place outside of normal time and outside of the normal world, in mythic time and in a mythic place. This definition was used in the analysis to determine if the story of Diana had become a myth. Next, the literature concerning 77

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symbolic convergence theory was explored to provide a lens from which to view the development of a myth. The analysis revealed that the answer to the first research question is that the media, indeed, can create new, instant myths. A new, instant myth has been created about Diana. Diana's story, as presented by the media, is considered to be "true." Diana is considered, from a feminist perspective, to be heroic in the manner in which she faced her personal "shadows," managed them, and, finally overcame them. Diana's life can be considered as occurring in a mythic time because of the time distortion created by the media presentation of her life. Diana's life can be considered as occurring in mythic places, places of symbolic power. Through the media's presentation of Diana, she is seen as an archetype of the mother/earth goddess. This archetype is apparent both in the love of and care for her children and in her nurturing of and aid to those rejected by society. One person, interviewed on the BBC commemorative film, when asked about Diana, stated, "She loved everyone" (Carr, 1997). Another stated, "She bring[s] the light to the world" (Carr, 1997), demonstrating the concept of Diana being thought of as mother/earth goddess. The media's presentation of Diana's life showed Diana as fulfilling two of the functions of myth: the social function and the personal function. The social function was fulfilled through the media's presentation both of her compassion for those in need and of her work to change their lives. This presentation 78

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demonstrates the definition of a "good society"-one that cares for those who cannot care for themselves--and it demonstrates the individual's responsibility to work toward that type of society. The personal function of myth is fulfilled in the media's presentation of Diana's triumph over her personal "shadows" or evils. This presentation of Diana created, especially for women, a model of how to live their lives while managing problems that threaten to overcome them. The media's presentation of Diana's life, occurring after her death, created the myth of Diana. The strategies used to create this myth were: repetition, juxtaposition, choice of and emphasis on certain words and phrases, and world-wide broadcasting of the major rituals associated with her life. This analysis demonstrates that new myths can be created by the media. Because of the power of myth in societies and the media's ability to create myths, the media can exert great influence on society. The media can have an impact on how a society views itself and other societies. The beliefs, values, ideals, and structure of a society are shaped by myth. Myths reveal problems of a society and present solutions for these problems. Myths make individuals aware of their roots in, their role in, and their responsibilities to their society. In short, myths create a society's reality. This is evident through the social function that myth performs. The personal function served by myths also demonstrates the impact of myths. Myths teach individuals how to live their lives, 79

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providing models for behavior, and giving value and meaning to life. Myths convey perceptions and emotions about situations. Myths teach individuals to overcome their "animal nature" and exhibit compassion for others. This analysis suggests that further research about the media and the strategies used to create myths is an area deserving more attention. Because of the media's ability to create or generate new myths and because of the impact myths have on societies and individuals, the study of the creation of new myths is an important and exciting area of research for rhetorical criticism. 80

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