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Abstract

Partially in response to Anton Karl Kozlovic’s call for research to refine the concept of the cinematic Christ-figure, this article examines Whale Rider and Steel Magnolias as Christ-figure narratives with the intention that the Christ-figure interpretation sheds light on the meaning and significance of the films, and that the two films’ young, female lead characters can illuminate the Christ-figure concept. Both films are polymythic Christ-figure narratives in that Christ-figure characteristics are present alongside elements from or allusions to other spiritual and mythological traditions. Both films also convey feminist sensitivities. The relationship between the films’ polymythic elements and feminist messages suggests some of the complicated possibilities of how Christ-figure narratives can function.

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14

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