Hero Myths: Tools for Analysis

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Hero Myths: Tools for Analysis

  1. 1. The HeroThe Hero Tools for Analysis
  2. 2. The Hero: Tools for AnalysisThe Hero: Tools for Analysis Joseph Campbell – most popular
  3. 3. The Hero: Joseph CampbellThe Hero: Joseph Campbell ◦ The Hero’s Journey involves the following common elements (dubbed the “monomyth”)  Departure: Call to adventure, Refusal of the call, Supernatural aid, etc.  Initiation: Road of trials, meeting the goddess, atonement with father, ultimate boon, etc.  Return: Refusal of return, magic flight, return threshold, freedom to live
  4. 4. The Hero: Joseph CampbellThe Hero: Joseph Campbell ◦ The Hero’s Journey and the “Monomyth”  Very popular among Hollywood writers and directors: Popular examples: Star Wars The Matrix
  5. 5. The Hero: Joseph CampbellThe Hero: Joseph Campbell ◦ In Myth and Knowing, Leonard & McClure have strong reservations about Campbell’s approach.  “Campbell carries forward the 19th -century bias against the “primitive” races who still believed in their myths.” (12)  Focuses on the “rugged individual,” which may actually be specific to western/American culture. (17)
  6. 6. The Hero: Joseph CampbellThe Hero: Joseph Campbell ◦ In Myth and Knowing, Leonard & McClure say:  “Campbell promoted what he called a ‘living mythology,’ a nonsectarian spiritual path through which the individual might gain a sense of spiritual and social purpose and through which society might be returned to simplicity and moral virtue.” (18)
  7. 7. The Hero: Joseph CampbellThe Hero: Joseph Campbell ◦ Does Joseph Campbell’s monomyth tell you more about the story, or Campbell’s vision of a “nonsectarian spiritual path?”
  8. 8. The Hero: Tools for AnalysisThe Hero: Tools for Analysis So, how do we analyze hero stories?
  9. 9. The Hero: Tools for AnalysisThe Hero: Tools for Analysis So, how do we analyze hero stories? ◦ Examine the context of the story (Greek, Sumerian, Chinese, American, etc.)
  10. 10. The Hero: Tools for AnalysisThe Hero: Tools for Analysis What does the story mean for the people who produce/use it? ◦ The telling of myths should be treated as performances or texts through which the structure of the performer’s culture may be reconstructed and understood. -Robert Layton, University of Durham
  11. 11. The Hero: Tools for AnalysisThe Hero: Tools for Analysis  What values are expressed in the story?  How are these messages the same or different than those of another culture?
  12. 12. The Hero: Tools for AnalysisThe Hero: Tools for Analysis How would you apply these tools to the following myths and stories?
  13. 13. The Hero: PerseusThe Hero: Perseus Click for Perseus' story Perseus is a premiere example of Greek heroism. He overcomes all obstacles to defend his family and exact revenge. He proves honorable and valiant, calm and clever. As he fights for his mother's respect and hopes for his estranged father's love, he values family and loyalty above all else (Source)
  14. 14. The Hero: JonahThe Hero: Jonah Click for Jonah's story Set in mid-8th century Israel. Under King Jeroboam II, Israel achieved its most prosperous time since Solomon, regaining lost territory and wealth. Messages include God’s sovereignty and man’s need to obey the laws and calling of God.
  15. 15. The Hero: Joan of ArcThe Hero: Joan of Arc Click for Joan's story 15th -century French heroine and Roman Catholic saint. Led miraculous military victories over English and Burgundian forces. Seen as an example of Catholic devotion, a woman in a traditionally male leadership position, a martyr for her faith, etc.
  16. 16. The Hero: QuestionsThe Hero: Questions How are hero stories used to inspire individuals How do hero stories convey the values of a society? Can a story originate in one context, yet take on another meaning in a different social context? (Please give examples.)

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