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Each story we read can be analyzed in the context of what Joseph Campbell calls,

Each story we read can be analyzed in the context of what Joseph Campbell calls, in The Power of Myth interviews with Bill Moyers, “the hero’s adventure.”
There are seven (although sometimes only six) elements to this journey:
The hero is born, called, or named. For readers of literature, the naming of the protagonist (or hero)—the character who is transformed or enlightened by the experience—is perhaps the most important step towards “understanding” a story.
The hero reaches a point of departure or a setting out. This is in response, usually, to an external event or an internal conflict.
On the “journey,” the hero descends (occasionally ascends) into the abyss: the unknown, the darkness, the deep, the void, or the chaos.
There, the hero encounters a demon (internal) or monster (external), either figurative or literal. He/she must battle this opponent alone (or with the help of a trusty sidekick).
In a successful adventure, the monster or demon is slain. In an unsuccessful one, skip to step 7.
Finally, the hero returns, transformed or enlightened by the descent into the unknown. The hero, the survivors, or the reader can be transformed as a result (perhaps all three).
(Optional) In some epic adventures, we are provided details of the hero’s death. But that is another departure to another plane of existence…
When you finish reading a story, ask yourself the following questions:
Who is the hero/protagonist of this story?
When and/or where is the departure point?
What is the nature of the “abyss” (the unknown) he or she faces?
Who or what is the internal demon or external monster that must be faced?
Is he/she successful in the struggle?
How is he/she transformed? What new knowledge or information will he/she be able to share with those who were left behind?
Directions:
As individuals, we each can have a different definition or interpretation of what makes someone a “hero.” What is your own personal definition of “hero?” Do you think of yourself as a hero? Why or why not?
Joseph Campbell has devoted much of his life’s work to studying the mythology that surrounds and forms our concept of what a “hero” is and should be. Explain the most notable or interesting characteristics that Campbell attributes to a “hero.” What are the similarities between these Campbell’s definition of “heroism” and your own? What are the differences?
What parts of the video were most interesting to you, and why? What concepts were most difficult to understand? What are you still trying to figure out?
In thinking about that “quest for something more” that which we began the semester focusing on, how does Campbell explain that we do, in fact, find ourselves in the middle of different quests throughout our lives? How does Campbell show us that life is like a series of quests or adventures?
What does Campbell show us about the conflicts we have to go through to find our true selves, our individuality, our calling in life: what he would call “follow[ing] your bliss?” Do you agree that that commonality makes all of us heroes?

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