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Thelma and Louise: The story of the Antihero

             This is just the first chance you've had to express yourself."" -Louise "Something's crossed over in me. I can't go back. I just couldn't live."" -Thelma The film Thelma and Louise is the story of the heroic quest, but from a new and fresh perspective. This modern American adventure involves two women running from the law, their old way of life, and the very society in which they live in a quest that takes them ever forward with no hope of return. Unlike the stories found in ancient myth and the accounts of Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces, in which the hero returns or attempts to return to enlighten the world, the world of Thelma and Louise drives them away. Thus, the film becomes the tale of the antihero. The call comes quickly to these two women. Living in a small mid-western town, these two very special friends are pressured to get away from their everyday lives. Thelma, stuck in a marriage that involves her being confined to the house with a husband who does not appreciate her, and Louise, an all night diner waitress stuck in a relationship that is going nowhere, embark on a what both believe to be a weekend fishing trip. Neither can realize the larger calling to each of them, but they unwittingly accept the quest without knowing where it will take them or the treasure that they seek. So far, the pattern is apparent and not unlike those we have seen in numerous other hero myths. The hero finds that something is wrong in his world and seeks to renew it. He ventures into the unknown in pursuit of enlightenment. But Thelma and Louise meet the first threshold guardian and things change. The guardian comes in the form of a cowboy in a bar. Drunk, and looking to take advantage of the still innocent and nave Thelma, this cowboy attempts to keep them from their path. The cowboy attempts to rape Thelma in a parking lot but is thwarted by Louise and her gun. The cowboy surrenders and is allowing them to leave but still verbally assaults the frightened heroines.

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