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The Hero Monomyth

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The Hero Monomyth Joseph Campbell Most quotes are from The Power of Myth Taken from www.emich.edu/public/english/childlit/Monomyth.ppt – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Hero Monomyth


1
The Hero Monomyth
  • Joseph Campbell
  • Most quotes are from
  • The Power of Myth
  • Taken from www.emich.edu/public/english/childlit/M
    onomyth.ppt

2
  • Moyers Why are there so many stories of the
    hero in mythology?
  • Campbell Because thats whats worth writing
    about. (123)

3
Example
  • Heres one example of an application of Joseph
    Campbells ideas to a contemporary text, Hunger
    Games

4
The Question
  • is not whether we tell the same hero story
    over and over again (it is pretty clear that we
    do), the question is, Why?
  • Why are we compelled to tell and re-tell the
    same story? Is there something about this
    particular narrative we are drawn to, or that we,
    as humans, need?

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Lets begin with the basic pattern
  • 1. A call to adventure, which the hero has to
    accept or decline
  • 2. A road of trials, at which the hero succeeds
    or fails
  • 3. Achieving the goal or "boon", which often
    results in important self-knowledge
  • 4. A return to the ordinary world, at which the
    hero can succeed or fail
  • 5. Applying the boon what the hero has gained
    can be used to improve the world

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Where the Wild Things Are
  • By Maurice Sendak
  • Is a deceptively simple picture book for children
    that follows this pattern . . .

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Max learns
  • To be more human, a better human
  • To love and to be loved
  • To conquer his fears, his inner demons
  • Self control, especially the ability to master
    his emotions

31
Campbell on the spirit quest
  • All of these different mythologies give us
    the same essential quest. You leave the world
    that youre in and go into a depth or into a
    distance or up to a height. There you come to
    what was missing in your consciousness in the
    world you formerly inhabited. Then comes the
    problem of either staying with that, and letting
    the world drop off, or returning with that boon
    and trying to hold on to it as you move back into
    your social world again. Thats not an easy
    thing to do (129).

32
The popularity of Harry Potter and Hunger Games
  • Campbell argued that contemporary, industrial
    cultures are starved for myth, America has no
    ethos, he said. What were learning in our
    schools is not the wisdom of life. Such wisdom
    learning how to live can only come from myth
    (8-9).
  • Are we, as a culture, starved for myth?
  • Who are our contemporary heroes?

33
Campbell claims that myth has four functions
  • Mystical
  • Cosmological
  • Sociological
  • Pedagogical

34
1. Mystical
  • Myth helps us to realize what a wonder the
    universe is, what a wonder you are, and
    experiencing awe before this mystery (31).
  • It is it not so much about learning the meaning
    of life, as it is about taking pleasure in the
    experience of living.

35
2. Cosmological
  • Myth shows us the shape of the universe, but
    showing it in such a way that the mystery comes
    through (31).
  • It explains why things are the way they are,
    but not in the same ways that science explains
    these things.

36
3. Sociological
  • Myth is a way of supporting and validating a
    certain social order (31).
  • Myth both reflects and helps to shape a
    particular cultures values and belief systems.

37
4. Pedagogical
  • Myth teaches us how to live a human lifetime
    under any circumstances (31).
  • Myth can teach us how to be more human, how to
    be better humans, how to survive, how to know
    ourselves, and how to lose ourselves. Myths are
    models for living.

38
Popular Culture as myth
  • Campbell argues that in our contemporary,
    diffused, destabilized, commercial culture (made
    up of many sub-cultures) where there are no
    unifying myths, we create unifying myths through
    popular culture.
  • Most of these follow the pattern of the hero
    monomyth . . .

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Campbell outlined 17 Stages of the Hero Monomyth
  • Were not going into that much detail here! (Im
    borrowing from Wikipedia, a great source for
    over-simplified information.)
  • If you are interested in learning more, read The
    Hero with a Thousand Faces.

48
The Call to Adventure
  • The adventure begins with the hero receiving a
    call to action, such as a threat to the peace of
    the community, or the hero simply falls into or
    blunders into it.

49
The Herald
  • The call is often announced to the hero by
    another character, who acts as a "herald". The
    herald, often represented as dark or terrifying
    and judged evil by the world, may call the
    character to adventure simply by the crisis of
    his appearance.

50
There is a choice
  • The hero-to-be can refuse the call (not a good
    idea, because characters who refuse the call
    often dont end well)
  • Or, the hero can choose to accept the call and
    begin the journey.

51
Crossing the First Threshold
  • The hero must cross the threshold between the
    world he is familiar with and that which he is
    not.

52
Supernatural Aid
  • After the hero has accepted the call, he
    encounters a protective figure (often elderly)
    who provides special tools and advice for the
    adventure ahead, such as an amulet or a weapon.

53
Tests, Allies, and Enemies
  • The hero, rather than passing a threshold, passes
    into the new zone by means of rebirth. He/She
    must pass tests of allegiance.

54
Approach
  • The Hero and his/her allies ready themselves for
    battle in the special world.

55
Initiation The Road of Trials
  • The hero is challenged to survive a succession of
    obstacles and, in so doing, amplifies his
    consciousness. The hero is helped covertly by the
    supernatural helper or may discover a benign
    power supporting him in his passage.

56
Road of Trials Why so many tasks?
  • Campbell said, Theres no reward without
    renunciation, without paying the price. The Koran
    says, Do you think that you shall enter the
    Garden of Bliss without such trials as came to
    those who passed before you? (126).
  • The hero has to be tested, has to be proven
    worthy. Also, learning self-consciousness is a
    long path.

57
ROT Why are so many tasks in labyrinths and
underworlds?
  • The belly of the whale (from the story of
    Jonah) Its a decent into the dark.
    Psychologically, the whale represents the power
    of life locked in the unconscious (146).
  • The hero (like Max) has to come to terms with
    his subconscious mind, that dark part of himself
    beyond his control and mastery.

58
ROT The Journey Within
  • Campbell used the phrase the journey within to
    demonstrate the way that the heros journey
    represents an individuals journey toward
    self-knowledge. This self-knowledge is an
    understanding of self, not necessarily a mastery
    of self.

59
Death and Rebirth Accepting death
  • Campbell You dont understand death, you
    learn to acquiesce to death (151).
  • The heros greatest task is learning to accept
    his own mortality and the role that death plays
    in the cycle of life.

60
ROT Villains
  • Villains often are villains precisely because
    they refuse to accept mortality

61
ROT Death Eaters
  • The heros nemesis, the monster, the villain,
    has not fully developed in his humanity (144).
    The nemesis (Voldemort, Darth Vader, etc.) is
    stunted in spiritual growth and is always a
    threat to the hero because he represents what the
    hero could become if he takes the wrong path.

62
Death Eaters
  • Defeating Voldemort and the Death Eaters, then,
    is not defeating death. It is defeating the fear
    of death.

63
Transforming the Self
  • Becoming a hero is about transforming changing
    from one thing into another, from one kind of
    human into another kind The basic motif of the
    universal heros journeyleaving one condition
    and finding the source of life to bring you forth
    into a richer or mature condition (124).
  • The hero has to grow up.

64
Self-Sacrifice
  • Paradoxically, finding the self means learning to
    become selfless, and reaching a place of honor,
    means learning humility
  • Losing yourself, giving yourself to some higher
    end, or to anotheryou realize that this itself
    is the ultimate trial. When we quit thinking
    primarily about ourselves and our own
    self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic
    transformation of consciousness (126).

65
Btw, Harrys not the only hero
  • In HPSS
  • Ron
  • Hermione

66
The Reward and the Road Back
  • The hero receives a boon and self-knowledge. He
    or she also may receive a treasure of some sort
    won by facing death.
  • Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other
    world, the hero may not want to return to the
    ordinary world to bestow the boon onto his fellow
    man. But he usually does.

67
The Resurrection
  • The hero is tested one more time closer to home.
    Because of the boon or due to his experience, the
    hero may now perceive both the divine and human
    worlds.

68
The Hero Returns
  • The hero bestows the boon to his fellow man
    giving them and himself the freedom to live.
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