Tara DuFresne
3rd Hour English 12
Pursuit of Happyness


vallen_pursuit_of_happyness[1].jpgThe Pursuit of Happyness


The Pursuit of Happyness is a movie based on the true story of a man named Chris Gardner. Chris invested heavily in a device known as a "Bone Density Scanner". Chris struggles while trying to sell these devices for a living, and when he gets too caught up,his wife leaves him, he loses his house, his bank account, and credit cards. Chris is then forced to live out in the streets with his young son, going from hotels, to churches, and even subway station bathrooms. Chris struggles to find a job, and finally lands a stock broker training position for 6 months. After his training was over, he got a job as a stock broker and became very successful. Produced in 2006, Pursuit of Happyness was an inspirational hit among the box office. Chris Gardner played by Will Smith, and Chris' son played by Will Smith's own son, Jaden were perfect for the father-son role in this movie.



The Hero's Journey


Chris Gardner is faced with many challenges throughout his life, and ends up being successful despite his struggles. Chris and his son were in a tough spot for almost an entire year to stay healthy and find shelter.

The Call:

Chris was attempting to make a living by selling bone density scanners, and that wasn't working so well for him. He came to a point in his life when times were tough, and his wife left him with his son, and they lost their home. Forced to live on the streets, Chris had no choice but to embark on a heroic journey he couldn't predict.

The Threshold:

When Chris first starts on his journey, he doesn't know what to expect because he is coming from a world that he knew, entering into a world full of unanswered questions. Chris is obviously unprepared to embark on this journey, especially with the needs of his son coming first.

The Challenges:

Chris is faced with many tough challenges throughout his journey. The biggest challenge of them all is being homeless and trying to take care of his son at the best of his abilities with no money. He struggles to find daycare for his son, and wherever they could find shelter, they would sleep. Chris is trying his best to be the best dad he can for his son, and reassuring him that everything will be ok in their pursuit for happyness. Another tough challenge was going through a 6 month training program to be a stock broker with no pay. He worked really hard to get to the top, with no reward for his work along the way.

The Abyss:

Chris is at an ultimate low when his journey continues and he has yet to find a solution that could possibly get him out of his mess. He tries very hard to get back on his feet, but nothing seems to be coming his way.

The Transformation:

Chris has worked hard for 6 months in the stock broker training program with Dean Witter, and finally gets the good news that he'll be joining the team as a stock broker. He finally got what he has been working for this entire time, solely by working hard and not giving up.

The Atonement:

Chris now has a job at a successful firm, can finally be at one with himself again, and be confident that he can give his son the best after the struggles they have been through.

The Return:

Chris has overcome his worst nightmare, and became a successful stock broker-his dream. Him and his son are well-off and can live comfortably. Most of all, he learned the true meaning of "The Pursuit of Happyness", and was able to teach his son many valuable lessons.


Character Archetype Analysis



The story of Chris Gardner is a true rags-to-riches journey. Chris Gardner is a perfect example of how you can get to your dreams by being passionate and determined. Chris knew he wanted to be a successful stock broker since he was in his teens. Faced with many life-changing challenges, Chris took the problems in his own hands and handled them the best way he could. Struck with homelessness and difficulties with taking care of his young son, Chris was more than motivated to get back on track.

Chris’ rags-to-riches archetype fits him perfectly and adds to the point of the story-happiness. When Chris was in the “rags” stage of his life, he was unhappy and had to overcome many challenges. During Chris’ pursuit of happiness, he knew that he could do it if he tried hard enough. He has the mindset of a true hero, especially for his son who is watching his every move along the whole journey. After one year, Chris finally found his happiness as a stock broker at a large firm. After he got back on his feet, he began the true transformation from rags to riches.


Impact of Archetypes


In The Pursuit of Happyness, the use of the rags-to-riches archetype is motivational to the viewers. This film was a true story, which could give the viewers even more hope that they too can be a part of this archetype.The archetype of rags-to-riches shows up very frequently in our society because the world is a very competitive place and you have to work hard and want it. This shows how real people go from the worst of the worst and become very successful people. We see people coming from the worst conditions who think there is no hope, who end up better than they could ever imagine purely by determination and heart.

This archetype tells us that in our society, you have to start from somewhere even if you're not where you planned to be. Chris Gardner sets the perfect example of a person who started from the very bottom, and not only had to think about himself but his son, too. Chris displays how tough it is to make it, and you can't just sit around and wait for something good to come your way, you have to chase after it. This movie could motivate our society to be more like Chris Gardner and teach us not to give up when things get sticky. When you get stuck in tough situations, you have to try even harder to get out and get to where you want to be.