Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon

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Overview

Joss Whedon once identified himself as an "angry, hard-line atheist" who is nevertheless "fascinated by the concept of devotion." While organized religion seems to hold no satisfactory answers for Whedon, his dedication to exploring the meanings of faith and belief can be seen in many of the characters he has created for such works as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, and Fray. This work examines a variety of Whedon's characters and discusses what can be learned from their struggles and discoveries regarding religion and belief.
Part One focuses on the characters' search for purpose, revealing how Dawn, Spike, and Angel attempt to define the meaning of their lives in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel. Part Two focuses on family, examining the unconventional family dynamic in Whedon's comic book miniseries Fray and television series Firefly. Part Three centers around the concept of redemption, using Angel's Doyle, Firefly's Malcolm Reynolds and Shepherd Book, and Buffy's Faith Lehane to examine the characters' search for salvation and their own acceptance of their past actions. Finally, Part Four focuses on the harmful potential of religious zealotry, revealing the negative aspects of absolute belief through Firefly's River and Buffy's Caleb. A primary source guide follows the main text, providing the writer, director, and air date of each television episode, along with publication data for Whedon's print works, including the in-publication "Season 8" comic books for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786434763
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/26/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 241
  • Sales rank: 1,141,538
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Performing Arts/Television

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Table of Contents

Author's Note     vii
Introduction     1
Purpose: The Road to Damascus
What's a Key Without a Lock?: Dawn and the Promise of Purpose     13
Growing After Death: Angel, Spike and the Evolution of the Soul     27
Family: A Place at the Table
Coming Apart, but Moving Forward: Magic Twins and Older Sisters in Fray     49
A Family of Believers, Just Not in the Same Thing: Faith in the Firefly Family     65
Redemption: The Past Is Not a Prison
The One That Almost Got Away: Doyle and the Fish Story     85
"I Got No Rudder": Navigating the Sea of Faith with Malcolm Reynolds     98
The Depth of Shadows: Redemption and Doubt in Shepherd Book     119
Prodigal Daughter: Faith and Homecoming     132
Zealotry: Blood and Fire
Burning River: Witchcraft and the "Other" in Firefly     149
No Girls Allowed: Caleb and the Evils of Misogyny     164
Conclusion: Buffy Goes (Back) to School     185
Chapter Notes     191
Primary Sources - Buffy the Vampire Slayer     205
Primary Sources - Angel     211
Primary Sources - Firefly     216
Primary Sources - Other     217
Bibliography     219
Index     227
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