Becoming Punxsutawney Phil: Symbols and metaphors of transformation in Groundhog Day
by Benesh, Julie Ellen, Ph.D., FIELDING GRADUATE UNIVERSITY, 2011, 140 pages; 3450252


The 1993 romantic fantasy film Groundhog Day is considered to be an exemplar of the depiction of personal transformation. This study uses hermeneutics and a specific method of dream interpretation to amplify images as symbols of transformation.

Personal transformation is a dramatic, qualitative change which may appear sudden, but is often incremental. The type of transformation most closely associated with images in the film is individuation which promotes wholeness, bringing unconscious potential into expression. Symbols of transformation complement the film‘s narrative of personal transformation embodied in its protagonist.

The symbolic images amplified and analyzed were (a) pairs/doubles, (b) lines and spheres, (c) blue and white colors, (d) hands, and (e) the groundhog.

The symbols evolve throughout the film, moving from unconsciousness to consciousness and separation to union. Forty-seven images chosen for secondary analysis revealed 3 distinct metaphors of death/rebirth including (a) reproduction, (b) digestion, and (c) breathing.

Key Words: archetypal psychology; film studies; Gestalt; hermeneutics; individuation; Jung; motion pictures; personality change; transformation

AdviserAnnabelle Nelson
SourceDAI/B 72-06, May 2011
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsSocial psychology; Film studies
Publication Number3450252
Adobe PDF Access the complete dissertation:

» Find an electronic copy at your library.
  Use the link below to access a full citation record of this graduate work:
  If your library subscribes to the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database, you may be entitled to a free electronic version of this graduate work. If not, you will have the option to purchase one, and access a 24 page preview for free (if available).

About ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
With over 2.3 million records, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) database is the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world. It is the database of record for graduate research.

The database includes citations of graduate works ranging from the first U.S. dissertation, accepted in 1861, to those accepted as recently as last semester. Of the 2.3 million graduate works included in the database, ProQuest offers more than 1.9 million in full text formats. Of those, over 860,000 are available in PDF format. More than 60,000 dissertations and theses are added to the database each year.

If you have questions, please feel free to visit the ProQuest Web site - - or call ProQuest Hotline Customer Support at 1-800-521-3042.