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The Hero ’ s Adventure Thinking Point 1. Explain the following: Star Wars resonates out of the best of our classics: Beowulf...Homer...the Bible. Why?

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Presentation on theme: "The Hero ’ s Adventure Thinking Point 1. Explain the following: Star Wars resonates out of the best of our classics: Beowulf...Homer...the Bible. Why?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Hero ’ s Adventure Thinking Point 1. Explain the following: Star Wars resonates out of the best of our classics: Beowulf...Homer...the Bible. Why? How? Dr. Marlen Harrison, copyright 2012

2 Myth Mythology is the study and interpretation of myth and the body of myths of a particular culture. a myth is a story or narrative that is traditional in a certain culture, having been passed down from early times and regarded as true. It may be said to portray symbolically the origin of the basic elements and assumptions of a culture. Cosmogonic Myths – creation of the world/universe Emergence from below Earth-diver World-parent End/death Culture Hero Birth/Rebirth Foundation/Cities/Empires Think of a family myth or a favorite myth from literature and in your head, review the characters, conflicts, actions, etc.

3 Myth and Language Müller - products of a confusion of human language, of an attempt, through sensual and visual images, to give expression to natural phenomena (such as thunder or the sea). Saussure, Jakobson, Thompson, Lévi-Strauss structural linguistic model: myth represented a special case of linguistic usage, a third level beyond surface narrative and underlying structure. In myth he discovered certain clusters of relationships that, although expressed in the narrative and dramatic content, obey the systematic order of the language's structure.

4 Myth and Knowledge, Part 1 an intellectual and logical concern vs. imaginative, intuitive meaning - either as a mode of perception distinguishable from rational, logical kinds of knowledge, or as one that preceded rational knowledge in human intellectual evolution. Tylor- on a confusion of subjective and objective reality, of the real and the ideal; moral value; animism Marett - emotional responses that people in archaic cultures make to their environment; rhythmic gestures that develop into dance and ritual, with narrative myth forming the oral part of the communal *rites; BIRTH OF POETRY AND SONG? DANCE AS STORY? preanimism Leenhardt - explained myth primarily as an expression of the living experience of the community, the nonhuman realities of their environment, cosmographic experience of the world.

5 Myth and Knowledge, Part 1 Lévy-Bruhl - prelogical mentality as an explanation of myth, knowledge of the world through mystical participation in reality Lang, Schmidt - high god, a deity who created the world and then distanced himself from it ; myths simultaneously encompass both the rational-logical and the intuitive. Eliade - explanation of the nature of being; although myths may over the centuries become trivialized and debased, people can use them to return to the beginning of time and rediscover and re-experience their own nature Ricoeur - myth, as expressed in symbols, is necessary for serious appraisal of the origins, processes, and depths of human thought

6 Myth and Society Vico - four-stage theory of the development of myth and religion in Greece. Durkheim - myths arise in the human response to social existence; express the way society represents humanity and the world, and they constitute a moral system and a cosmology as well as a history; strengthen people in their social natures. Malinowski - expresses, enhances, and codifies belief. It safeguards and enforces morality and contains practical rules for the guidance of the individuals in these cultures. Frazer - the relation of myth to ritual Jacobsen -perception of plants Gaster -replenishment of life and vitality Dumézil - tripartite structure operates as an archetypal language for the statement of ideal meanings within Indo-European cultures Cassirer - the expression - the objectification - of the emotion; the identity and basic values of the group are given an absolute meaning

7 Myth and Psychology Freud - utilized themes from older mythological structures to exemplify the conflicts and dynamics of the unconscious psychic life Jung - collective unconscious; theory of archetypes, patterns of great impact, at once emotions and ideas that are expressed in behavior and images. Dreams - expressions of the structure and dynamic of the life of the unconscious; resembles the narrative of myth in cultures in which myth still expresses the totality of life Róheim - applied Freudian theory in interpreting archaic myths and religion and, more generally, in explaining the development of human culture Campbell - combined insights from depth psychology, theories of historical diffusion, and linguistic analysis to formulate - from the perspective of the dynamics that are found in mythical forms of expression - a general theory of the origin, development, and unity of all human cultures

8 Thinking Point 2 Think again about the family myth you noted earlier – how would you explain it considering the previous theories? Please note that ALL of the theorists above are Western, Caucasian men. Why is this?

9 Myth and Literature Epics - long narrative poems, deal with legendary or historical events of national or universal significance, involving action of broad sweep and grandeur. Most epics deal with the exploits of a single individual, thereby giving unity to the composition. Typically, an epic involves the introduction of supernatural forces that shape the action, conflict in the form of battles or other physical combat, and certain stylistic conventions: vs. lyric poetry - expressed more personal emotion than epic poetry and was sung (HMMM, SONGS, RAP?), whereas epic poetry was recited summarize and express the nature or ideals of an entire nation at a significant or crucial period of its history; traits in heroic deeds serves to gratify a sense of national pride; may synthesize the ideals of a great religious or cultural movement. Bildungsroman - A novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character. In your head, think of an example of an epic and a bildungsroman.

10 Epics, cont ’ d Folk Epic - developed from the orally transmitted folk poetry of tribal bards or other authors, and were eventually written down by anonymous poets; based on legends or events that occurred a long time before the epic itself appeared; sometimes cycles of epic poems created but not put together in one grand epic Literary Epic - creation of known poets who consciously employ a long-established form: The Odyssey Mock Epic - satirizes contemporary ideas or conditions in a form and style burlesquing the serious epic

11 Archetypes The human psyche is essentially the same all over the world. The psyche is the inward experience of the human body, which is essentially the same in all human beings - the same instincts, the same impulses, the same conflicts, the same fears. Out of this common ground have come what Jung has called the archetypes, which are the common ideas of myth. Literary/historical figures - Oedipus, Moses, Beowulf, Illiad & Odyssey, Faust, Buddha (Siddhartha), Christ, Mohammed Archetypal situations – the departure, the journey, the return, road of trials, leap of faith, marriage, birth, death. Archetypal personages – the fool, the creator, the devil, the wounded healer, the lovers, the witch/old crone, fertile woman, etc.

12 The Monomythic Journey Developed by Campbell, based on Joyce, generalizes historical and world story/myth by recognizing a specific pattern of action 3 stages – departure, action/initiation, return Campbell – The Hero with a Thousand Faces Can be found in all human experience, throughout the life cycle, e.g. leaving for college, studying at college, returning to hometown to make a life. Scholars have questioned the very validity of the monomyth, its usefulness as a tool for critical investigation and interpretation of narrative, and its male bias. According to Lesley Northup, the theory does not have much support in the mainstream study of mythology, which currently tends to view highly general and universal claims with suspicion

13 What exactly is a HERO? First, what is your definition of a hero? 1a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability 1b : an illustrious warrior c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d : one that shows great courage 2a : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work b : the central figure in an event, period, or movement 4 : an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol This makes me think of Moses, George Washington, Wonder Woman, or a Firefighter…but how about…

14 Re-thinking a HERO …how about re-envisioning this concept by considering a hero to be an archetype, an individual - human or inhuman, man or woman, adult or child, divine or mundane – who follows the pattern of the monomyth: Departure, Initiation, Return …the very act of being “called”, journeying, achieving or overcoming, and then moving on with this new knowledge and putting it to use… Think back to your definition, how’d you do?


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