We gathered in the video room to watch the clips below, and talk about what they knew about the Hero's Journey. It's kind of like junior high, really -- the call (finishing 6th grade), crossing the threshhold of no-return, a series of trials and tests (mostly tests, one student insisted), and the return (finishing 8th grade) as a changed person, who brings benefit to the community. We also talked about favorite books & movies that illustrate this pattern (The Hunger Games, The Lightning Thief, Spiderman) -- it's fun to realize that a book you know and love fits into "real" literature discussions.
The first 1:40 of the clip below is a very funny, very quick introduction to all 12 of Campbell's steps in the journey. We didn't watch the rest, but it's worthwhile if you have time.
After the videos and discussion, I talked a bunch of novels from the collection that I think fit the Hero's Journey archetype in significant ways. Not every story has all 12 elements, and not every element is literally applied (some journeys are mental or emotional, some epic battles are against oneself, not a physical enemy). Oh, and not every hero is male, or straight, or human!
Students were encouraged to check out one or more of these books for spring break reading, and challenged to think about which elements of the Hero's Journey they could identify in the novel, and why I might have chosen it for this theme.
Links go to the novel's page in the Paideia Library catalog.
Set in a Different World (or a far, far away time)
- Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini
- Stardust by Neil Gaiman
- Hero by Perry Moore
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
- Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
- The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle
- The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein
- Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
- The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Sabriel by Garth Nix
- The Dark Portal by Robin Jarvis
- The Odyssey
- East by Edith Pattou
- Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
- The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Set in Our World (more or less)
- i am the messenger by Markus Zusak
- Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore
- The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
- The Baboon King by Anton Quintana
- Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer
- The Sacrifice by Diane Matcheck
- Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo
- ZigZag by Ellen Wittlinger
- Whirligig by Paul Fleishman
- A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
- Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Oh, and how could I leave out the sourcebook? Joseph Campbell's groundbreaking study of world mythology, The Hero with A Thousand Faces.