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The theme of a journey in joseph campbells theory of the quest

Depending on when and where you went to college, you may or may not have been immersed in the "archetypal myth" of the hero's quest. I have seen it preached as holy the theme of a journey in joseph campbells theory of the quest and reduced to a stick figure diagram.

This week the guest contributor is Virginia Brackett. I, for one, appreciate her insight on how an understanding of a hero's journey can help us make connections to YA literature and the adolescents that read it.

As we start our own journey into the new year, she offers us insight into this compelling instructional and analytical lens. We learn its patterns and feel comfortable as we encounter them at all levels, in most cases subconsciously cataloguing elements and their symbolic significance. We owe that ability to twentieth-century philosopher Joseph Campbell.

Close similarities in the mythology of disconnected cultures seem startling until we consider all focus on our shared human condition. We all fear, hope, celebrate and mourn. Work by Campbell, Carl Jungand Northrup Frye can help us better understand their usefulness of such patterns, especially to young readers.

Return of the Jedi. Such accidental discovery, mistaken identity, and conflict with parents, experienced by both Luke and Leia, are popular quest theme elements. Others include shape shifters, threshold guardians, monsters, visions, and challenges to self-identity, all of which the Star Wars mythology supplies.

Heroes may at first resist the call, as does Luke, and most have a guide, which may eventually be lost, plunging the hero into depression and disenchantment.

Campbell's 'Hero's Journey' Monomyth

Luke experiences both with the loss of Obi-Wan. Disillusionment and the cutting off of one hand by Vader leads to a descent into Hades when Luke the theme of a journey in joseph campbells theory of the quest into a swamp and receives wisdom from a second guide, Yoda.

Luke ascends, again ready for battle, and his victory again provides a boon to his community. He does so by overcoming limitations to his understanding through the quest stage of apotheosis. He understands the world as more complex and recovers his self-identity.

Many would-be heroes falter at this stage, failing the quest. Finally, Luke must return home. We could all identify childhood quest stories, evidence that we learn the plot sometimes before we even speak. We then encounter it repeatedly in not only classical literature, but also contemporary tales. The theme of a journey in joseph campbells theory of the quest each generation, the tale twists to fit our needs, whether to imagine a new frontier in space, to calm our fear of aliens, or to contemplate mass annihilation though dystopic and apocalyptic tales, with hope for a rebirth.

For instance, Campbell reveals that tales about a destructive flood that wipes clean the spoiled human slate, leading to renewal, is found in a number of cultures. Undeniable echoes of mythological punishment of man through destruction with hopes for ultimate renewal abound in numerous YA works.

Theme lines, such as the necessity of personal sacrifice for the good of the group and cultural renewal emerge from such stories, as do familiar symbols. We discuss cleansing rituals that lead to symbolic rebirth, such as baptism in various forms. Ormondroyd purposed myth to teach David and his readers a lesson, but I hardly noticed. From the Finding Nemo movie and its sequel, Finding Dory to the Hunger Games and Harry Potter book series, the monomyth breathes life into almost all adventure plots.

Students soon begin to recognize the monomyth in literature, movies, video games — all aspects of popular culture. But Jung viewed it as storage for repressed memories, specific to the individual, but also to an ancestral past. That ancestral past grew from a sharing of stories and experiences with diverse, separate cultures into what Jung terms the collective unconscious. Basically, we all share memories of eras long before our own. Such a theory easily supports the ideas of archetypes— traditional characters - employed by various cultures to create a mythology supporting cultural values.

Memoir of a Girlhood Among Ghosts.

Kingston focuses on story-telling to help her negotiate conflict with her mother and the development of her sense of self. As a narrator challenged by her Chinese- American heritage, Kingston includes Chinese myths that incorporate familiar archetypes and symbols. A Study of the Structure of Romance.

Readers eventually understand metaphor and symbolism with no conscious knowledge of their origins. Participants could then select reading material based on their preferred archetypes. Pointing out plot elements to eager readers promotes reading pleasure, offering them a key to decode literature that falls into the monomyth category.

That key is context, and with such context, readers identify relationships between stories that may on the surface appear to be unrelated. For instance, young readers see that their favorite historical fiction hero is strongly related via the quest family tree to a science fiction hero.

How is such knowledge useful to those who write and teach? I published an article supporting the claim that it offers a prime example of a twentieth-century monomyth plot for young readers. Our reluctant hero Emily suffers the loss of her parents, necessitating a cross-country train journey to California.

Frightening visions appear during her trip, including a blurred self-reflection in her window. However, it has become a dark and unfamiliar retirement home. Emily encounters the evil, serpent-like Mrs. Meeching, who with the theme of a journey in joseph campbells theory of the quest motherly Mrs.

Plumly, manages the retirement home. Meeching informs her she will serve as a maid. Her confidence shaken, the disoriented Emily faces a major challenge to regaining a stable self-image. Plumly offers a seeming foil to the evil Mrs. Meeching, she hides dark secrets, placing Plumly firmly into the shapeshifter archetype category. Emily soon meets her guide, the boy Kipper, and the two eventually descend into a dark tunnel beneath the house, which Brooks labels the belly of the whale.

She said that she had read with appreciation my application of the monomyth and various learning theories to her novel, the first such analysis published about the theme of a journey in joseph campbells theory of the quest book.

She also confessed that she was surprised as I discussed her inclusion of the many monomyth elements that the article — their inclusion was unintentional on her part. That wonderful revelation illustrates the fact that much of our use of the monomyth is inspired via the osmosis that writers, who are avid reader, experience from an early age. Exposing young children to the quest plot allows them to feel comfortable when they later encounter it in more sophisticated presentations.

In so doing, descendants of classical figures teach each generation about the particular pleasure of striving for difficult goals while dedicating themselves to a universal need.