Existentialism in February Talk on 'Groundhog Day' Themes - and the Usual Fun - Shadow Festival

By Chojnacki, Cheryl | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Existentialism in February Talk on 'Groundhog Day' Themes - and the Usual Fun - Shadow Festival


Chojnacki, Cheryl, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Cheryl Chojnacki Daily Herald Correspondent

Sometimes it takes something - well, a bit superficial - to get people talking about the deeper issues of life.

"Groundhog Day," a 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray, is a case in point.

Directed by Harold Ramis and also starring Andie MacDowell, the story, of course, is of Phil Connors, a "prima donna" weatherman. He's doomed to relive the same exasperating day over and over until he finally confronts his own character, or lack of it, and is brought to true humility.

Woodstock Groundhog Days has been a midwinter hit ever since it got off the ground in 1994, and "it's the most fun you're going to have in Woodstock in February," publicity chairwoman Eileen Millard promised.

But this year's festival marks an anniversary.

It's been 15 years since Hollywood descended on Woodstock's picturesque town square to make the award-winning movie.

The town was thought to be prettier than Punxsutawney, Pa., long known as the country's official prognostication headquarters for the legendary groundhog's Feb. 2 forecast.

Festival activities in Woodstock begin tonight and run throughout the weekend.

New to the schedule this year is a symposium for adults and kids who want to discuss the deeper issues of the story: the spirituality of man's need to become a better person, redemption, the path to enlightenment.

The session will be led by Mitch Olson, who teaches education and psychology classes at Elgin's Judson College.

One of the things that fascinates Olson about "Groundhog Day" is its resonance with people of widely differing religions - Christian, Jew, Zen Buddhist, humanist, existentialist, to name a few.

"Every faith claims that movie as their own," Olson said. "To me, that's something worth talking about."

This universal appeal is probably a nod to its universal truth, he said.

"The 'monomyth,' the theme that goes through all of literature - good vs. evil - is the one thing that we all have in common with our consciences," Olson said.

"It's so beautifully portrayed in this movie. You identify with Phil Connors. You become Phil Connors."

Though played for laughs in "Groundhog Day," Olson said the idea of a person living through the same day countless times over actually comes out of a far less humorous book by 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

"His whole premise is that in life we keep reliving the same life every day," Olson said.

"It's an existentialist belief. It's not exactly what I believe, but I'm not going to push my beliefs. I'm just going to show all the different ideas I have."

For his part, Olson is intrigued by the Old-Testament concept of the Ebenezer stone, which he sees as a "Groundhog Day" influence.

Signified by stone altars of dedication built by the early Israelites, "the Ebenezer marks a point of change," Olson said.

There were plenty of stones in the movie, as Olson is reminded every time he drives by Mulford Quarry, near his home in Rockford. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Existentialism in February Talk on 'Groundhog Day' Themes - and the Usual Fun - Shadow Festival
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.