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Contemporary Trickster Figure: Bart Simpson

Prepare a presentation on the trickster. Identify a figure from contemporary popular culture that is not explicitly drawn from mythology.

Create a six- to eight-slide presentation explaining why this figure should be considered a trickster.

Include the following:

- A representation of your chosen trickster, which can be an image, a movie clip, or a description
- A summary of the common elements and functions of the trickster myth
- Comparison between chosen tricksters
- At least one trickster from classical mythology

Solution Preview

Slide 1:

Text - Introduction: Trickster in popular media

The trickster is a mythical figure who is either a god, goddess, man, woman, spirit, child or an anthropomorphic figure that plays tricks and does not obey conventional rules, only his or her own, even when assisting or working for a more 'important' divine being, the trickster always works in mischievous ways to achieve his or her own agenda to teach lessons, express his/herself or for their own amusement. Hence the word 'trick' - the trickster employs subversive actions to manipulate or 'push' their 'victims' or 'subjects-of-amusement' towards a particular reaction or emotion. While the notion of a trickster is mythical, culture has carried over, in modern entertainment, the amusement and chaos that a trickster brings. In Bart Simpson, from the Matt Groening created cartoon series 'The Simpsons', the notion of a mischievous, subversive, intelligent, flawed, unconventional, curious and unruly trickster comes to 'life' weekly in our TV screens as an 8-year old 4th grader in Springfield Elementary.

Image - Use an image of Bart Simpson

Slide 2:
Text - Bart Simpson: A Modern Trickster

Bartholomew Jojo 'Bart' Simpson is the 10-year old eldest child of Homer and Marge Simpson, your average, ordinary set of parents living in the town of Springfield. He is the eldest brother of Lisa, 8 and Maggie, about 10 months old. Since The Simpsons uses a 'floating timeline', the characters do not age. What is so prominent about Bart is that he is the direct opposite of his sister Lisa - studious, ambitious, book-smart, ethical and moral. Lisa takes great pleasure in being 'good' - top of her class, actions always ethical and within the moral and legal, the ideal girl. Bart, unlike Lisa would rather 'cheat' than work, create 'chaos' than work hard and forever find amusement in the laughable misery and chaos he creates at home and school at the expense of everybody especially Principal Skinner and his father, the dumb, witless, beer-loving Homer. Bart's catch line is 'Eat My Shorts' which he challenges ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a text guide in putting together a 7 slides PowerPoint presentation on a modern incarnation/representation of the archetypal/mythological trickster. The chosen trickster depicted is the character of Bart Simpson from the successful US Cartoon series 'The Simpsons'. The following elements are included in the solution:

- A representation of Bart Simpson as the chosen trickster (series of images attached as a zip file) as well as a short biography;
- A summary of the common elements and functions of the trickster myth;
- Trickster attitudes and elements found in the character depicted in select episodes of The Simpsons including Episode 119 (Bart vs. Australia) and Episode 392 (Yokel Chords) where trickster characteristics are manifested and acted;
- Modern Trickster from popular culture (Bart Simpson) is compared with classical trickster character of Loki from the Norse Mythology.

The solution is divided into 7 sections, each sections containing suggested text content and advice on how to put together the slide plus suggested series of images to use. References are provided. The text guide follows the APA format, hence advice provided should help the student in creating an APA-format PowerPoint presentation.