An abstract perspective: Jim Morrison’s ‘HWY: An American Pastoral’

Jim Morrison’s ‘HWY: An American Pastoral’
Jim Morrison’s ‘HWY: An American Pastoral’
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY JACOB BAJER AND PUBLISHED BY THE HIGHLAND ECHO ON OCTOBER 23, 2012.

You may have seen him played by Val Kilmer in the Oliver Stone film, “The Doors,” which is based on the band he is most well known for performing in. You may have heard your parents or older siblings singing along to his arrangement of lyrics like, “Break on through to the other side, break on through!”

Still, today, Jim Morrison is considered one of the most charismatic performers in music history. However, Morrison was much more than a performer. Morrison himself thought that he was a shaman of American Indian culture, healing the crowd with his own musical ceremony. Morrison’s background outside of music is often overlooked or misrepresented, simply because of his fame with The Doors. 

Morrison began college at Florida State University, where he was involved with theater, appearing most famously in a student production of “The Dumbwaiter.” While Morrison enjoyed the theater program, Florida State University did not seem to suit him. He moved to California his sophomore year, where he attended UCLA. During his college years, Morrison developed an interest in poetry and film, influencing him to cultivate a bohemian lifestyle.

As an artist at the time, Morrison wanted to live that kind of lifestyle to find perspective, appearing as both an outcast and a stereotypical “loner.” Contrary to the Oliver Stone film, Morrison gained an undergraduate degree in theater arts. However, with The Doors gaining fame and influence, Morrison was only able to complete two films in his short life. One film by Morrison was a documentary on his band, The Doors, called “Feast of Friends.”

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