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Allegory And Metaphor In The Legend Of Bagger Vance For The Bhagavad Gita

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The film The Legend of Bagger Vance, based on the novel of the same name by Steven Pressfield, is a movie that transports the philosophical Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, from a celebrated battlefield, approximately during the 4th century BCE, in India to a fictional southern golf course in Savannah, Georgia during the Great Depression. The predominant theme of dharma (or duty) is a major point that both these works focus on.

The Legend of Bagger Vance is told from the point of view of Harvey Greaves, an old man reminiscing about a legendary golf tournament that was held in Savannah during his youth. The story begins with Greaves as an old man having his fifth heart attack while he is on a golf course. He goes onto explain his unconditional love for the game of golf, which arose when he was a child in Savannah, when he had the opportunity to caddy in one of the greatest golf tournaments of the century. The scenes flash back with Hardy telling the history of protagonist of the story, Rannulph Junuh. Junuh was a golfer born and bred in Savannah, gaining great fame during his teens and early adult hood, adorned by all, and courting the most eligible bachelorette in town, Adele Invergordon. Junuh, however, is soon after forced to fight in WWI, which traumatizes him, as he witnesses his entire regiment killed in battle, of which he is the only survivor. He returns to Savannah to live a reclusive life, attempting to drink away his memories of war. His former lover, Adele, is recovering from her father’s suicide, caused by the opening of his new golf resort during the inopportune time of the Great Depression, on which he spent his entire fortune. Adele is trying to recover the lost fortune by making her family’s golf resort the premier resort in the south, and she attempts to do so by holding one of the greatest golf tournaments of the south. She recruits the two greatest golfers of the nation, Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen, to play in her tournament. Due to the townsmen’s demand for the entry of a golfer from Savannah to bolster local morale, Junuh is coerced into playing, and to face his old demons.

The night before Junuh officially declares that he will compete, he is trying to вЂ?find his swing’ by hitting golf balls in his backyard, when suddenly a mysterious figure appears out of the night carrying a suitcase. This traveller introduces himself as Bagger Vance, and offers his caddy services to Junuh. Junuh ends up agreeing to have Bagger coach him during the three-day tournament. The day before the tournament, Junuh gets nervous because of his opponents stellar reputations. He attempts to flee Savannah so he will not have to compete against them, which Bagger almost encourages. Junuh does not end up leaving, however, due to the enthusiastic, almost surreal support of the people of Savannah on his drive to escape. Bagger later reflects that he considered it “a great miracle” that Junuh did show up to compete. The night before the tournament, Bagger says, to Hardy, that he thinks Junuh can win if he can find his “authentic swing”. He explains to the young Hardy about the “authentic swing”. “Inside each and everyone one of us is one true, authentic swing; something we was born with, something that is ours and ours alone, something that can’t be taught to you or learned, something that’s got to be remembered. Overtime, the world can rob us of that swing, it gets buried inside...all the would’ves, could’ves, and should’ves...some folks even forget what their swing was like....just swing the club,” advises Bagger to the young Hardy.

On the first day of the tournament, Junuh’s performance at the first hole is “promising”, but his performance for the rest of the day is overall horrendous by everyone’s standards, though he does think that he вЂ?found his game’ after one good shot in the middle of the day, to which Bagger replies, “all we have to do is figure out what game that is”. After some more bad playing on Junuh’s part, Bagger tells him he should quit, and Junuh says, “You know I can’t quit,” to which Bagger replies, “I know, just making sure you know it to”. Adele and a townsman chastise Bagger about his caddy skills, to which Bagger replies that Junuh is not his own self entirely and implies that he is trying to help Junuh realize who he is and overcome adversity. Junuh continues to play badly, but during an intermission he does lecture the young Hardy (whose father is forced to sweep streets after losing his store during the depression) for being embarrassed of his father’s profession. Junuh speaks of duty and character, saying that Hardy’s father overcame adversity and that Hardy should be proud. Hardy then explains that his love for the game of golf is due to the fact that it is fun, hard, solitary, and incorporates morality. When Junuh returns to the field, Bagger says that it is time for Junuh to see “the field”. “There is only one shot that is in perfect harmony with вЂ?the field’... [one] authentic shot...there’s a perfect shot out there trying to find each and



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