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The Hero's Journey in LiteratureDoes anyone teach the Hero's Journey as a tool for...

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The Hero's Journey in Literature

Does anyone teach the Hero's Journey as a tool for analyzing litertature?  I use it with: Gawain and the Green Knight; By the Waters of Babylon; The Odyssey; The Hobbit; Great Expectations; Around the World in Eighty Days; and a multitude of myths and legends.  I also use it to create introspection questions for personal reflection, and students write poetry based on their journal entries. 

How do you address the various stages/steps?

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jamie-wheeler's profile pic

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I've been using this condensed handout of the key elements of Campbell's "Hero's Journey" for years, for everything from the Epic of Gilgamesh onward. 

In "The Hero With a Thousand Faces", Joseph Campbell defined the thirteen common elements of the hero's journey as:        

·  Mysterious, unusual or miraculous circumstances of birth.

·  Mysterious, unusual or miraculous circumstances of birth.

·  A sequestered or hidden childhood attended by surrogate parents.

·  A hidden or concealed identity known to only a few, sometimes only to one person.

·  Education with a very old and very wise teacher.

·  The call to adventure or to a quest for identity and the realization that the hero or heroine has special duties or responsibilities in this world.

·  Revelation of the nature of the hero or heroine's true identity and birthright and their special responsibilities.

·  The discovery of personal virtues and strengths and usually at least one great weakness.

·  The discovery and development of special powers which are unique to the hero or heroine.  These are often gifts from the gods or other powerful beings who the hero or heroine has assisted, and such gifts usually compensate for the weakness.

Continued next post!  Out of room...

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Posted (Answer #3)

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·  An arduous physical or psychological journey fraught with trials, testing and temptation.

·  Ultimately the hero or heroine must rely on his or her own strength, wits and resources to emerge victorious.

·  The journey ascends to a high spiritual plane and returns or descends into darkness and returns

·  The journey leads to an incandescent transformation or to self realization.

·  Something of great importance or lasting value is discovered or  created.

·  The hero or heroine conquers death or the fear of mortality and often ascends to become immortal.


amethystrose's profile pic

Posted (Answer #4)

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I give a handout outlining the seventeen steps of the Hero's Journey Pattern:

The Departure Stage:

      -  the Call to Adventure

      -  the Refusal of the Call

      - Supernatural Aid

     - Crossing the First Threshold

     - Entering the Belly of the Whale

The Initiation Stage:

     - The Road of Trials

    -  Meeting with the God/Goddess

     - Meeting the Temptor/Temptress

     -  The Atonement With the Father

     - The Apotheosis

     - Receiving the Ultimate Boon

The Return Stage:

     - The Refusal of the Return

     -  The Magic Flight

     -  Help From Without

     -  Crossing the Return Threshold

     -  the Master of Two Worlds

     - the Freedom to Live

I have students try to fit this pattern to the lliterature we are reading.  Although it is not always exactly a perfect fit in order, the steps are almost always identifiable.  We also do the same with a movie project, plus  I have students examine how each step is refelcted in their own lives as well.

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