Grief and Mythmaking: A Modern Take

Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish, famously brought to life on the big screen in Tim Burton’s adaptation starring Ewan McGregor, reframes the life of a modern man as a series of myths. Edward Bloom, the story’s protagonist, is no Hercules or Odysseus from the famous Greek myths. He’s an advertising salesman from Alabama. Nonetheless, Wallace shows how the arc of a contemporary life and the quest for personal fulfillment–navigating adolescence, work, romance, parenthood, and ultimately, death–is no less epic of a journey.

Study Guide for LitCharts

In Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish, narrator William chronicles the life of his father, Edward Bloom, through a series of metaphorical short stories, or “tall tales,” as William calls them, that emphasize Edward’s determination and courage as he battles through life. The tales transfigure Edward’s personal challenges… read on

For Wallace, myths serve a profound purpose by imbuing their heroes with a kind of immortality.