« William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” | Main | Taking Your Chances in Shirley Jackson's "Lottery" »

January 30, 2012

Psycho-Structuralist/Mythological Theories - Crossing the Threshold Into the Monomyth, a.k.a., 'The Hero's Journey'

Image Source: http://wondernexus.com/images/herojourney_main.jpg


4 September 2009

ENG 121 (Honors) Students of Dr. Wilt's,

Per our discussion in class today, please watch the video below of the interview with Joseph Campbell. It is only an hour long. Please watch it sometime this weekend before the next meeting. Since Campbell is the "source" of the monomyth as it is being presented to you, you might find this helpful in assimilating and synthesizing all of the data you have been previously assigned to read.

You can ignore any of the "instructions" you find below. Those were for other courses at earlier times.

See you Monday,

Dr. Hobbs


12 September 2008

ENG 225 Students,

Please scroll down to where the comments are (near the bottom) to see where I've restated your assignment as announced in today's class meeting.


10 September 2008

ENG 225 Students,

If you missed today's lecture, or, if you are a super student and just want to stay ahead of the game in this course you will probably want to review this hour-long video of PBS's Bill Moyers interviewing the late Joseph Campbell on his theory of the monomyth, a.k.a. "the Hero's Journey." Don't forget to review the questions at the end of this entry--topics discussed in our lecture on the meeting of September 10th--so you will know potential questions for the upcoming mid-term examination.

If you don't have the patience for this, or if you just want an overview of what to expect first, you may want to see how noted industry screen writer Christopher Volger explains his understanding of Joseph Campbell's monomyth (Volger is largely responsible for popularizing Campbell's theory in Hollywood with a little pamphlet he wrote after writing The Lion King). The video shows each stage as revealed in the Wachowski Brothers film, The Matrix. The full link to this 3 and 1/2 minute video can be found here or watched below in the embedded link.

Also, YouTube user "Tim Miller" has created a 3 and 1/2 minute long slideshow synopsis of the monomyth theory with examples from popular American film to illustrate each stage of the hero's journey. The full link to his video can be found here or watched below in the embedded link.

The following questions are based on the lecture I asked you take notes for on September 10. If you missed the lecture, you can find most of the answers in the videos above and in the handouts I sent to you by e-mail.

[A] What is literary theory and what is its purpose?
[B] What makes the mythological approach different from other literary approaches (historical, formalist, psychological, feminist, marxist, etc.)--why is it unique?
[C] Who is/was Joseph Campbell?
[D] What is the monomyth? What is the "hero's journey"?
[E] From beginning to end, what are the three MAJOR phases of the monomyth/hero's journey?
[F] A hero typically moves from a native world into a non-native world and then back to his/her own native world again. For the purposes of discussing the monomyth, what are these two worlds called?
[G] For Campbell's definition of a hero, probably different from other definitions you may have learned, what must take place within a character for that person to be called a story's hero or heroine? In other words, what should be the final result of a hero's journey within the hero himself/herself?
[F] Be prepared to name at least half of the "minor" stages between the departure and initiation phase and between the initiation and return phase. For example, what is "an ordinary day," "the refusal of the call," "the crossing of the threshold," "the belly of the whale," "the final ordeal," "the magic flight," "the gift of the elixir," etc.

FYI, Here is:


Adapted From: Warren, Liz and Alan Levine. “Heros Journey: Summary of Steps.” Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (MCLI): Maricopa Community Colleges. 19 Nov. 1999. 12 Sept. 2008 [http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/smc/journey/ref/summary.html]. ~Thanks LIz and Alan!.

*NOTE: The sequence of these stages may vary depending on the work. All of the stages don't need to be present to qualify as a monomyth, but MOST of them do (and, usually are either literally or symbolically).


[1] The Call to Adventure

The call to adventure is the point in a person's life when they are first given notice that everything is going to change, whether they know it or not.

[2] Refusal of the Call

Often when the call is given, the future hero refuses to heed it. This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in his or her current circumstances.

[3] Supernatural Aid

Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his or her guide and magical helper appears, or becomes known.

[4] The Crossing of the First Threshold

This is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.

[5] The Belly of the Whale

The belly of the whale represents the final separation from the hero's known world and self. It is sometimes described as the person's lowest point, but it is actually the point when the person is between or transitioning between worlds and selves. The separation has been made, or is being made, or being fully recognized between the old world and old self and the potential for a new world/self. The experiences that will shape the new world and self will begin shortly, or may be beginning with this experience which is often symbolized by something dark, unknown and frightening. By entering this stage, the person shows their willingness to undergo a metamorphosis, to die to him or herself.


[6] The Road of Trials

The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes.

[7] The Meeting with the Goddess

The meeting with the goddess represents the point in the adventure when the person experiences a love that has the power and significance of the all- powerful, all encompassing, unconditional love that a fortunate infant may experience with his or her mother. It is also known as the "hieros gamos", or sacred marriage, the union of opposites, and may take place entirely within the person. In other words, the person begins to see him or herself in a non-dualistic way. This is a very important step in the process and is often represented by the person finding the other person that he or she loves most completely. Although Campbell symbolizes this step as a meeting with a goddess, unconditional love and /or self unification does not have to be represented by a woman.

[8] Woman as the Temptress

At one level, this step is about those temptations that may lead the hero to abandon or stray from his or her quest, which as with the Meeting with the Goddess does not necessarily have to be represented by a woman. For Campbell, however, this step is about the revulsion that the usually male hero may feel about his own fleshy/earthy nature, and the subsequent attachment or projection of that revulsion to women. Woman is a metaphor for the physical or material temptations of life, since the hero-knight was often tempted by lust from his spiritual journey.

[9] Atonement with the Father

In this step the person must confront and be initiated by whatever holds the ultimate power in his or her life. In many myths and stories this is the father, or a father figure who has life and death power. This is the center point of the journey. All the previous steps have been moving in to this place, all that follow will move out from it. Although this step is most frequently symbolized by an encounter with a male entity, it does not have to be a male; just someone or thing with incredible power. For the transformation to take place, the person as he or she has been must be "killed" so that the new self can come into being. Sometime this killing is literal, and the earthly journey for that character is either over or moves into a different realm.

[10] Apotheosis

To apotheosize is to deify. When someone dies a physical death, or dies to the self to live in spirit, he or she moves beyond the pairs of opposites to a state of divine knowledge, love, compassion and bliss. This is a god-like state; the person is in heaven and beyond all strife. A more mundane way of looking at this step is that it is a period of rest, peace and fulfillment before the hero begins the return.

[11] The Ultimate Boon

The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the person went on the journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the person for this step, since in many myths the boon is something transcendent like the elixir of life itself, or a plant that supplies immortality, or the Holy Grail.


[12] Refusal of the Return

So, why, when all has been achieved, the ambrosia has been drunk, and we have conversed with the gods, why come back to normal life with all its cares and woes?

[13] The Magic Flight

Sometimes the hero must escape with the boon, if it is something that the gods have been jealously guarding. It can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on it.

[14] Rescue from Without

Just as the hero may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, often times he or she must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them
back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by the experience. Or perhaps the person doesn't realize that it is time to return, that they can return, or that others need their boon.

[15] The Crossing of the Return Threshold

The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world. This is usually extremely difficult.

[16] Master of the Two Worlds

In myth, this step is usually represented by a transcendental hero like Jesus or Buddha. For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between the material and spiritual. The person has become comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds.

[17] Freedom to Live

Mastery leads to freedom from the fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.

Image Source: http://www.iawwai.com/zMyth%20Cycle.jpg

*Your assignment for September 10th, which was given to you BOTH in class AND sent to you by e-mail as the final page of your attachment, is reprinted below:

1. Choose EITHER one of the works we have read as a class (OR) the work you are currently reading from the sign-up sheet. Whatever you choose, it MUST be a narrative, not a short poem. (although an “epic” poem or Drama with a narrative/story will work).

2. In the narrative you choose, first identify the hero whose adventure YOU are addressing. For example, who is the “hero” of Little Red Riding Hood? You might choose Little Red Riding Hood herself (best choice) or you might decide to examine the hero’s journey of the Wolf. Whatever you do, identify the hero you are talking about.

3. Identify the two "regions" applicable to the hero’s journey: from the chart, you can see that these are the ordinary world and the special world. You should identify both the “literal” regions (e.g. Little Red Riding Hood exits her ordinary world of her parents’ house and yard and enters the special world of the woods) AND any “symbolic” version of the two regions you can find (e.g. Little Red Riding Hood leaves an innocent little girl, trusting of strangers, a world of trust, and enters a world where things/people are not what they seem, a world of distrust—the “granny” was really the wolf, etc.

4. Study the chart and then briefly identify where the three "phases" of the monomyth YOUR hero must go through begin and end: the departure phase, the initiation phase, and the return phase. Each paragraph should answer the journalist’s questions: What, how, when, why, where, how come, etc.? (e.g. Little Red Riding Hood’s departure is from her home outside the woods in “Pleasantville” or somewhere and enters the dark, scary woods. She is initiated into the woods by her first visit the wolf—does she stop and speak or does she tell him that she does not speak to strangers, etc.. After the woodsman kills the wolf, he slits its belly and Little Red Riding Hood and her Granny are returned to the regular, normal world without strange things and have a nice picnic from her basket lunch, the reward, etc.)

5. Discuss briefly ONE test or trial your hero must encounter (they usually have many) along her or his “road of trials.” Where does it fit on the chart? (e.g. Little Red Riding Hood must “test” the Granny imposter to see if it is really her sick Granny. In turn, she is being tested to see if she is truly naïve. In this trial, Little Red Riding hood fails this test and falls into the “belly of the whale”—in this case, the belly of the wolf. The belly of the whale is one of the stages on the chart).

6. Type your response and enter it both Turnitin.com AND on the English-blog in the appropriate post.

I look forward to reading your responses.

Good luck,

Dr. Hobbs

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." ~ William Butler Yeats


*NOTE: As with most reading responses submitted to the English-Blog for ENG 225, you must first submit the response to the proper space on www.turnitin.com (the date for which it was assigned). To get credit, the response must be present in both places by the deadline. Submissions to only one online place will not receive credit nor will late submissions. E-mailing your work as an attachment is not a substitute option, so beware!

Posted by lhobbs at January 30, 2012 11:47 PM

Readers' Comments:

*FROM March 26, 2008*

Seton Hill students (Saint Leo Students Ignore This Part),

If you are submitting to this blog post for your final exam, remember to add a few comments (after a line separator) at the END of your entry after the works cited (should be the FINAL, not first, revision of your term paper) explaining why this post was one of the most appropriate to your paper's topic/thesis. Don't forget that you need to do this for two blog entries and you need to submit a paragraph informing me of which two blog entries you submitted to and an explanation why to turnitin.com. All of these steps need to be completed to get credit for the final exam.


Proceed as directed in class tonight. . .

Using the text you chose from the sign-up sheet in class tonight (do NOT make up one if you missed class--always consult me the day you miss class to find out what you needed to sign up for), please identify, outline, and explain the following concepts from Joseph Campbell's monomyth:

1. Identify the hero whose adventure YOU are addressing.

2. Identify the two "regions" applicable to the hero: the ordinary world and the special world. You should find both the literal and the symbolic "versions."

3. Identify the three "phases" of the monomyth your hero must go through: the departure phase, the initiation phase, and the return phase. What, how, when, why, where, how come, etc.?

4. Discuss one test or trial your hero must encounter along her or his road of trials.

Dr. Hobbs

Amanda F.
Dr. Hobbs
28 March 2008

Story: A Worn Path
Author: Eudora Welty
Protagonist (Hero): Phoenix Jackson
Ordinary World: In the country traveling towards town
Special World: Her mind (example pg 2: “She did not date close her eyes, and when a little boy brought her a plate with a slice of marble cake on it she spoke to him. “That would be acceptable,” she said. But when she went to take it there was just her own hand in the air. 2nd example: pg 2: at the bottom page. When she sees a ghost and spoke to it. 3rd example: pg 3: dancing with the scarecrow)
Departure: Phoenix Jackson sets off on a journey through the woods.
Initiation: Does not stop to analyze what she’s imagining, she knows she must get into town for the medicine for her grandson. She must make her way through the rough forest, passed the “ghost” and hunter with his dog and seeing the scarecrow and dancing with it.
Return: She’s received the medicine for her grandson and will start back her journey home.
Transformation of the Protagonist: When she first entered the building she had forgotten why she was there, then after a few minutes she remembered and told the nurse why she had come and how her grandson was doing. At the end of the visit, she had ten cents and wanted to buy her grandson a windmill. The transformation was remembering why she was on the trip to forgetting then remembering again and being able to buy something since it was Christmas.




Posted by: Amanda F. at March 28, 2008 02:45 PM

American Lit
Blog 5

The Hero’s Journey in “Everyday Use”

The hero in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is Mama. The ordinary world is her home and the society she’s accustomed to, while the special world is Dee’s city life and her knew outlook on life. While Mama doesn’t have to physically do anything to cross into the special world, she does allow Dee to visit, which is probably a lot like the “call to adventure.” Dee’s special world is full of glam and glitz, and a need to return to African ways that seems almost alien to Mama. The tests and trials come as Dee attempts to convince her mother that the life she’s living is right, and they should all return to their African heritage. Allies and enemies become those who are pushing Mama toward this strange world (Dee and Hakim), and those who tie her to her old life (Maggie). The Supreme or deal comes when Dee asks for the quilt that has been promised to Maggie. Dee says that she wants to put it up on the wall and that Maggie will just use it everyday, which makes it a contrast between the values of the special world (their life is a relic, their true life should be with the new culture) and the home world (their life is the only true life, and tradition should be respected and used). Mama is able to overcome her tendency to give in to Dee and “rescues” the quilt from Dee, who gets angry and leaves, which returns Mama to the original world. This seems to be the elixir that heals the land, because anxious like they are at the beginning, Maggie and Mama are able to enjoy the evening. The transformation Mama has undergone is going from wanting to be someone that Dee would be proud of or a mother like she sees on TV to being happy and satisfied with the life she lives.

Posted by: HallieG at March 30, 2008 09:43 AM


The Call to Adventure – In the lyrics “One” by James Hatfield, the journey has already begun for the figurative hero and it is unknown for sure if the hero had refused the call, or had any super natural aide. Also, crossing the first threshold is unknown as the hero doesn’t have a literal location to where they started the adventure.

The Belly of the Whale - This is where the lyrics really start to take place as the hero is talking about having reached their lowest point. The hero has left behind their old life and he has now been left with the consequences of taking the adventure. Considering the lyrics where written in regards to “Johnny Got His Gun”, it is the after affects of going through and being badly injured by a landmine.


The Road of Trials – The trials that the Hero has to endure through this writing is acceptance of everything that they have lost. He goes through each stanza with something that they have lost. The hero cannot see or speak or make any real contact with the outside world, and that is the main trial in itself.

The Meeting with the Goddess/Woman as the Temptress – This step does not really exist for the hero in this writing. All they have is their memories of their old life and the love they used to have. Essentially the only thing making up the heroes life at this point is memories. There is no specified figure that stands in the way of reaching the ultimate goal aside from the hero himself. He has no future as he cannot go anywhere or communicate with anyone. The goal the hero is aiming for is to die so that he can move on from his imprisonment. The only thing that stands in the way is the doctors keeping him alive and his own inability to end his own life.

Atonement with the Father – The hero’s old life has been killed in this sense as he can never return to that life and must accept what he has become.

Apotheosis – The hero is stuck in between living and dying. He cannot reach the deified state on their own with out someone ending their life for them. The hero tries to hold his own breath in order to end being imprisoned by his own body, but he is not able to do it.

The Ultimate Boon – There is no great triumph, item or goal reached. The only thing the hero takes away from this adventure is the true horrors of what can occur in war.


Refusal of return - In this case the hero wants nothing more than to be able to return to his old life and be whole again.

The Magic Flight/Rescue From Without/Crossing of the Return Threshold - In this writing there is no returning for the hero. He is stuck in a perpetual state of being wounded and stuck with “life in hell”. The hero is literally stuck, most presumably, in a hospital bed somewhere, with no real chance to return to his old life as a changed person.

Freedom to Live - The hero has no real freedom of living as they are a prisoner to their own body with no “sight, speech, hearing, arms, legs, or a soul”. The hero actually wishes for the freedom of death, and prays to God to end his/her life.

Posted by: Samantha G. at March 31, 2008 11:58 PM

In Langston Hughes’s “On the Road” the literal ordinary and special worlds are a little more difficult to find than are the symbolic worlds. The literal ordinary world could be seen as the place where Sargeant comes from; wherever he was before he got off of the freight train. The special world may be where we first see him searching for food and shelter (Reverand Dorset’s town). Sargeant is the hero. The symbolic ordinary world is the racist, unfair world that he lives in. The symbolic special world is a world free from inequality and judgment based upon skill color. It seems that when we first meet Sargeant he has already had his call to adventure and has embarked on his journey. He crosses the threshold of adventure when he first notices the church in front of him. It is after this that his road of trials begins. The Atonement with the Father takes place as Sargeant is struggling and fighting the policemen and white people who will not let him take shelter in the church. The white people are the “father” as they are the ultimate power in his life; they surround him and control his every action. This is what he is fighting to overcome. The stone Jesus could be seen as an ally for Sargeant, as He is the only character in the story that does not judge or discriminate against Sargeant. The supreme ordeal/final battle occurs when Sargeant realizes that he is not on a train, but rather, in jail being beaten. We do not physically see Sargeant return to the ordinary world, and it is highly unlikely that he does. Although he has begun to truly fight his battle with the attitude that no white person will hold him down, his imprisonment alone might be an indication that Sargeant has returned to the ordinary symbolic world—the world of racism and hopelessness. He has learned, however, to fight for what his rights in order to make a change.

Posted by: Chera P at April 1, 2008 09:20 AM

Natasha Hill
Monomyth Model

“One” by James Hatfield and Lars Ulrich

Ordinary World: The ordinary world in “One” may be assumed as life before injury or war.

Birth/Home: In assuming that the hero is a soldier (possibly Trumbo’s Joe Bonham), then the hero is from a small town in the California. He leads a simple life in a quiet neighborhood.

Call to Adventure: The soldier/hero volunteers to fight in World War One in Europe.

Reluctant Hero: Possibly, yes but feels it is his duty (assuming this is Joe Bonham)

Supernatural Aid: There is no aid in the form of magic and wizards but I see God as his supernatural aid because the hero/soldier apparently did not die. But was this really an aid? The hero wishes for death due to his condition.

Special World: The special world is possibly life as a “cripple” or “slab of meat”. This is because the possibility of survival after such extensive injuries is like living in a supernatural world.

Road of Trials: Due to the physical condition of the hero, this is his trial. Learning to live with no arms, legs, eyes, nose, mouth, or hearing will be the test.

Allies/Enemies: In “One” there seem to be no helpers. The feeding tube can be a helper but also an enemy because it keeps the hero alive against his will. Enemies also include war, landmines, and even God for allowing him to live.

Supreme Ordeal/Climax/Final Battle: In the song, the supreme ordeal may be the fact that the hero cannot die or kill himself but must live in the supernatural world. It is unclear whether the hero accepts this or not so the song possibly ends at the supreme ordeal. The last line is “left me with life in hell” so maybe this is the hero accepting his fate. Nothing further happens to the hero.

*There is no marriage, baptism or blessing, no ultimate boon, there can be no flight or rescue due to the hero’s condition. There is no threshold out, no elixir, and no preparation for the next adventure. There is only a realized “life in hell”.

Posted by: Natasha Hill at April 1, 2008 01:04 PM

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
Protagonist: Joe Bonham
Ordinary World: Reality
Special World: Mind

Joe’s departure occurs when he realizes the effects from the shell (loss of arms, legs, face). His mind tests him constantly, as he struggles to develop the concept of time. During his initiation, he slowly comes to the realization of many things such as the warmth on his skin, the entering of nurses, number of times his dressings are changed, and the number of nurse visits that occur before he is bathed. He counts all of the occurrences in his mind and eventually develops an understanding of day and night. After this initiation, he tries to communicate by tapping his head to perform Morse code in his nurse’s presence. She thinks he is having a convulsing and sedates him. He is persistent and continues to tap his head. One day, he realizes that he is blessed with a new nurse. She communicates with him by writing Merry Christmas on his stomach. He taps his head in hopes of being able to communicate with her. She knows he is trying to communicate, but cannot figure out what he needs. The nurse brings in a man who understands Morse code to communicate with Joe. The man asks Joe what he wants, and after careful consideration, he decides that he wants people to see him in his condition, so the world knows what war does to people. Joe returns to reality when the man communicates that it can never happen. The hospital staff wants nothing to do with him and they want to shut him up. He is sedated once again, leaving him stuck in his own mind. He is not transformed, and he failed his mission.

Amanda S.

Posted by: Amanda Swartz at April 1, 2008 09:45 PM

Blog Entry 5
The Monomyth
Candice S

The hero in the short story “Everyday use” by Alice Walker is no doubt the mother, coined as “Mama” who is also the protagonist. In terms of the monomyth as related to this short story, the simple life of Maggie and her mother without the presence of Dee is considered the ordinary world. Throughout the departure phase, Maggie and her mother are awaiting the arrival of their daughter and sister, Dee who they have not seen in years. Maggie could be considered the helper in terms of the monomyth.
The ordinary world changes into the special world when Dee arrives to visit her sister and mother with her newfound boyfriend. There are many trials that Dee actually causes to sort of test her mother. The first trial is that Dee changed her name and wants to be referred to by her new name. Dee also asks her mother where her name came from, and is frustrated that she cannot trace her history back farther. Next, Dee introduces her foreign boyfriend to her confused mother. Then, Dee asks for the churn top and the dasher for artistic purposes. Her mother lets her take them, despite her knowing that their intended purpose will not matter. The last trial Dee puts her mother through is the trial over the quilts. Dee asks to have the quilts that were handmade by her grandmother, but her mother resists her and hands the quilts to Maggie. Her mother makes the point that Maggie will use the quilts and not just hang them on the wall.
After this last trial, Dee leaves and the return phase occur and the ordinary world is back. The transformation of the hero is more or less a realization. Basically Mama realizes that her oldest daughter is very fake, even if she has achieved so much she is not honest or true to her actual heritage.

Posted by: Candice S at April 1, 2008 10:41 PM

“On The Road” by Langston Hughes:

The protagonist/hero in the story called “On the Road” by Langston Hughes, is the character named Sergeant. He is a homeless African American man that is tired, hungry and sleepy. Sergeant’s overall objective is to find shelter to sleep and find some food.
In the story “On the Road”, it exhibits an ordinary and also a special world throughout the theme of the story. The ordinary world is displayed in a sense that it takes place in a logical setting, in the snow, most likely during the depression, at night in a small town. The special world however isn’t as easy to catch onto as the ordinary world theme. The “special world” starts when Sergeant knocks down the church and thinks that he has not only met Jesus, but walked a substantial distance till they parted way at the train tracks. The “special world” is also exhibited in another part in the story where Sergeant was trying to jump into an oncoming train when he finds that the train car he is trying to get into is filled of police officers beating his hands, when in reality, he is actually in jail with a police officer beating his hands.
“On the Road” has three particular parts that I would like to touch on, referring to “The Hero’s Journey”, or the “Monomyth”, Departure, Initiation, and Return. In the story “On the Road” , the Departure phase starts when Sergeant walks down the street and knocks on the reverend’s house and is immediately turned away, and also everything else that leads up to the next phase, the Initiation phase. In the Initiation phase in the story “On the Road”, Sergeant tries to seek shelter in the church, but finds that the doors are locked. So Sergeant decides to try and bust through the church doors, starts a ruckus and the police come, who in turn try to apprehend Sergeant, but he is holding onto the big white pillar in front of the church for dear life. Eventually after the help of the towns’ people, the police pull Sergeant off of the pillar and then the church collapses, with Jesus and Sergeant rising from the rubble, not hurt. This is the climax of the story. The next phase is the Return phase. This is where Sergeant makes his transformation. After he realizes that he isn’t trying to jump into a train car, actually he is in jail, clenching the steel bars, wondering where he is, how he had gotten their, and also, “Where is Jesus, I wonder?” This is Sergeant’s rebirth back to reality basically.

Thomas A.

Posted by: Thomas A. at April 2, 2008 12:44 AM

Ernest Hemingway’s hero, Jake, in The Sun Also Rises, was probably once a man of great strength and vigor; a man with much to offer until he loses his “manhood” in the military. From that point on, his humdrum existence has little value and even less direction.

Jake simply maintains his life; he floats through bars, mingles with friends, and moves his travel weary body from one mattress to another in hopes of finding an elusive happiness.

The single constant in Jake’s life that allots even a flickering of happiness is a lady. And this lady is not exactly a constant. Brett’s cool demeanor instantly calms Jake making him feel at home, no matter his location. This idea of love and happiness that he’s conjured in his head was a complete departure from his world of inability and self-loathing. The ridicule stops once Brett offers herself to him, which she does repeatedly, albeit not fully.

Jake simply cannot pull himself away from the idea that is his love with and for Brett. The opportunity to love and comfort her, in an attempt to offer himself solace, appears over and over, yet he sees it as a positive opportunity rather than a detrimental assault on his emotional and mental being.

Jake’s fishing trip brought about new insights and openness with a companion that rivals truthfulness. Teetering on the edge of this newfound emotionalism, Jake steps back from the reality of an honest world, stepping back instead into his comfortable world of certain gloom and doom. The fishing trip, which lasted several days, could have provided for emotional, physical, and spiritual insight yet resulted in only a basic physical workout.

Jake’s relentless torture of himself, his lack of self-esteem, and unwillingness to grow leaves him struggling to breathe in his physical world of unhappiness. His minimal growth through various travels such as to Barcelona, during trials including his consistent heartache, and in dealing with others, friends and foes, results in a man much worse for the wear.

His many opportunities go unwelcomed and his challenges unmatched, leaving him only to think about how pretty it could be.

Posted by: Vivian L. at April 2, 2008 10:26 AM

The Monomyth of “A Jury of Her Peers”

In Susan Glaspell’s story, “A Jury of Her Peers” one could chose just about any character to be the “hero” in the story. An argument could be made that Mrs. Peters, Minnie Foster, or the sheriff and his helpers could all be broken down using Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth theory. However, the character that I feel fits the monomyth mold the best, is Martha Hale.
The story begins on page one with Martha Hale where she calls home; literally. The story begins at Mrs. Hale’s home located in Dickinson County, and starts with Mrs. Hale in her kitchen. Her home is her “ordinary world” and where her journey begins. This is also the place that the reader assumes Mrs. Hale will eventually return back to.
While Mrs. Hale is at home, she receives her “call to adventure” from the county sheriff whose wife, Mrs. Peters has requested that Mrs. Hale accompany them to the scene of a crime at the Foster household where Mr. Hale has turned up dead. The sheriff and his men suspect foul play, and Mrs. Peters did not want to be alone while the men were investigating. Mrs. Hale is at first reluctant to go along, first because of the extraordinary nature of the events occurring, and second because she does not like to leave her kitchen a mess. However, she eventually concedes so not to upset her husband and the sheriff.
It is also on page one where the reader meets Mrs. Hale’s helper on the adventure. Mrs. Peters, the sheriff’s wife who has requested her presence, is also the character that will remain with her throughout the story. It is their team work that will eventually solve a mystery at the end of the story.
The threshold of adventure is crossed in the last paragraph on page one, when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters literally cross the threshold of the door to the Foster’s home. This is accentuated with the line “Even after she had her foot on the door step, her hand on the knob, Martha Hale had a moment of feeling she could not cross the threshold.” The Foster home could be seen as taking on a kind of supernatural aura, after a dead body was found in the house. This sediment is echoed by Mrs., Peters when she nervously says to Mrs. Hale “I’m glad you came with me.” At the very least, the Foster home would be considered as a place very different from Mrs. Hale’s home.
The first enemy that Mrs. Hale encounters during her first trial is actually her own husband. Mr. Hale is the individual who found Mr. Fosters body. On page 3, Mr. Hale is recounting the story of the previous day’s events. In the second paragraph, he goes a bit far in adding his own take to the Foster’s relationship. In paragraph three, the author lets the reader know that Mrs. Hale thinks he has gone too far with the sentence “Now there he was! –saying things he didn’t need to say.” The story continues with Mr. Hales statement, and in the last paragraph, it is once again echoed that Mrs. Hale is not happy with her husband’s statement with the line “She kept her eye fixed on her husband, as if to keep him from saying unnecessary things that would go into that note-book and make trouble.”
The second enemy in the story is a group of men. The sheriff, the county attorney, Mr. Hale, and Mr. Peters. These men will interact in the story numerous times, and are crucial to the revelations that Mrs. Hale, with the help of Mrs. Peters will come to. The first time we see the men, is on pages five and six, when the sheriff and the other men are condescendingly talking to the women about their “trifles” such as kitchen things, the jars of fruit, and the poor housekeeping. Mrs. Hale defends Mrs. Foster by saying “There’s a great deal of work to be done on the farm.” The county attorney responds with “Ah, loyal to your sex I see.” This is a clear indication that the first battle to be fought will be the age old battle of the sexes, men against women. The battle lines are again drawn when the men leave the women alone downstairs to investigate the crime scene and leave the ladies with the parting line “But would the women know a clue if they did come upon it?”
The next battle that will occur in the story begins on page nine when Mrs. Peters asks Mrs. Hale if she thinks Minnie did it. Mrs. Hale responds that she does not believe that she did, that it was a crime of anger, and there were no signs of anger exhibited from Minnie in the house. This conversation sets into motion an internal struggle for Mrs. Hale. Her heart wants to believe that Minnie Foster is innocent but the evidence the women will soon find is going to make it hard to follow her heart. Perhaps the most difficult battle in Mrs. Hale following her heart is that she knows “the law is the law”. She must first get past this fact before she can begin to justify Minnie’s actions. This begins on page ten where Mrs. Hale sees the poor condition of the oven Minnie was forced to cook in. The line “the law is the law, and a bad stove is a bad stove-how’d you like to cook on this” is the first indication that Mrs. Hale is sympathizing with the plight of Minnie Foster.
On page eleven, the reader sees the next round of the male verses female storyline. The women find that Minnie was working on a quilt. They ask the question whether Minnie had planned on “quilting it or knotting it.” This statement is overheard by the sheriff and his men who promptly laugh at the trivial things the women are discussing. The attitudes of the men agitate Mrs. Hale, which Glaspell shows in the line where Mrs. Hale resentfully says “I don’t see as there’s anything so strange, our taking up our time with little things while we’re waiting for them to get the evidence. I don’t see as it’s anything to laugh about.”
Also on page eleven, Mrs. Hale sees the first indication that perhaps Minnie Foster was stressed or out of sorts. All of the quilting pieces that Minnie had been working on were neat and uniform. Mrs. Peters comes across a piece with odd stitching and states “All the rest of them have been so nice and even-but-this one. Why, it looks as though she didn’t know what she was about!” Mrs. Hale responds by pulling out the bad stitching and fixing it, much to the dismay of Mrs. Peters who feels “things ought not to be touched.”
Page twelve brings about a major part of the story. Although it is not the climax itself, the climax would not be as important if this battle did not occur. Mrs. Peters finds a bird cage and asks Mrs. Hale if Minnie had a bird. They assume that if there is a cage, there had to have been a bird. But where the bird has gone perplexes the women. After ruling out the thought that perhaps a cat had gotten it, the women notice that the door to the bird cage is broken, as though the cage was ripped open. It appears someone was “rough with it.” The women resume conversation in blaming themselves for never visiting Minnie Foster. They attribute it to the fact that Minnie was never the same after marrying John Foster. She became withdrawn and quiet, fragile even. They compare her before she married Mr. Foster, to the bird “real sweet and pretty-but kind of timid and fluttery.” As Mrs. Hale goes to look for Minnie’s scissors, she makes a horrifying discovery. Hidden in the sewing box is the dead bird. It appears that its neck has been broken, as it is twisted in an odd direction.
As the women come to the same conclusion as to what happened to the bird, they hear the men outside the door. This is where the climax of the story takes place. Instead of telling the men what they have found, evidence that would surely give Minnie Foster motive to kill her husband, Mrs. Hale instead hides the box with the dead bird. The men notice the empty bird cage and ask what has happened to the bird. Mrs. Hales lies to the sheriff and says “we think a cat got it.” Mrs. Peters backups her statement when asked if there was a cat by saying “they’re superstitious, you know; they leave.” The men once again leave the women after deeming that they have not found anything of significance.
On page sixteen, Glaspell shows the audience that the women feel the bird was important to Minnie because she was going to bury it in the “pretty box”, therefore meaning that she obviously did not kill it. Mrs. Hale states that Mr. Foster would not have liked the bird singing and that Minnie “used to sing, and that Mr. Foster killed that too.” The conversations that follow indicate that the women feel bad for the life that Minnie was forced to lead, and that any evidence they found did not make Minnie guilty, even though they both felt that she was.
The final battle that Mrs. Hale takes part is on page 19, when she decides that she is not turning over the bird to the men. She puts the box with the dead bird into her pocket before as she is getting ready to leave the Foster home and return to her own home. In a sense, she has rescued Minnie Foster from an almost certain guilty conviction by hiding the evidence of Minnie’s tortured state of mind. As Mrs. Hale returns to her home, she has been transformed. She has lied to authority and to her husband about a serious crime, and has come face to face with her own guilt about being neighbors with Minnie Foster and not ever visiting. In Mrs. Hale’s mind, she is vindicating this guilt, by hiding the damning evidence against Minnie.

Posted by: Jodi S. at April 2, 2008 11:53 AM

Chris King
Chronicles of Narnia is a story that holds a religious background belief. In the story, there could be many possibilities of heroes. I feel that the ring leader hero is Peter, the eldest sibling of four. Peter’s family ends up moving away from the war, for obvious reasons, and is now located with a professor with in his castle. The world they are currently in is the ordinary world; what most would consider our world today. The youngest child, Lucy, discovers a wardrobe in a spare room of the castle. For whatever reason, she decides this is an excellent place to hide for there game, hide and seek. She stumbles upon a new world which most would consider the special world. She spends some time there meeting new people/creatures before returning the same way she arrived. Eventually, all of the siblings make it to the special world and are amazed with it, but not without first skeptical and not believing. There was a creature who helped Lucy when she arrived the first time, but something has happened to him compelling the family to stay and help. They fight the cold snowy weather in hopes of helping the creature. Upon this they run into beavers which lead/guide them through this adventure. One sibling, Edward, gets under the power of evil and is subjected to some bad things. Now the family is committed to finding their brother and saving him. They meet up with the “good guys” and they eventually find there brother. Now they are struck with the task of staying to help fight the war to free Narnia, the special world. They fight and win the war freeing Narnia using the tools given to them. Now they retreat to the kingdom in Narnia where they stayed until there adulthood as kings and queens. Until, one day stumbling upon the “spare” room. Now is when they return to the ordinary world. They are put back to the age they were upon leaving the ordinary room and time has not passed but only a few moments. The family wonders if they will ever return, but feel probably not. The professors take is that they could, but probably when they aren’t looking for it.

Posted by: Chris King at April 2, 2008 12:14 PM

In reference to Plato’s “Into the Cave” theory, the mono-myth theory can also be applied. First to identify the hero, it is the person who has been freed or freed himself to explore the cave and hopefully come out. The ordinary world in this case would be the cave itself. Where all people are sitting and watching the shadows dance upon the walls, unable to turn their heads, do not actually know where the voices are coming from. The special world is out of the cave and going outside where not only the light source is but true knowledge is as well. Obviously the departure of this story is the person being released from the chair where he or she was chained and unable to move his or her head. The initiation in this story would be the trials of finding them-self out of the cave; constantly keeping their eyes towards the light, even though Plato describes the light as painful because it is not something easily adjusted to the eyes, the brightest it would be is just coming out of the cave and stepping on ground outside. The return in this case is back into the cave, as according to Plato, to rescue the rest of the people still blinded by an alternate world and not the true knowledge that they are capable of. The transformation that takes place is the individual obtaining a true knowledge by fighting the pain of the bright light until that person reaches outside the cave where the gods bestow that true knowledge upon that person. Now the responsibility of that person is to go back into the cave and rescue the rest of the people still chained up to the chairs watching the shadows on the wall.

Posted by: RD at April 2, 2008 12:34 PM

Heather Stull
Professor Hobbs
EL 267.01
Reader response 4-2-08

I have chosen to examine the monomyth in Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun”. Joe Bonham, the protagonist, is the hero. In the novel, the literal ordinary world is Joe’s world before he is injured in the war. The special world is the world in which he exists, his mind, after he is injured. Symbolically, the ordinary world is the world that America knew before they entered into the war. The symbolic special world is the world that is altered from the war-Americans (and others) living with the death, confusion, and transformation of post-war society.
Quite amusingly, Joe’s “departure” into the special world, happens shortly after his departure from his friends and family at the station. He leaves from his home town because he has been drafted. He is taken out of his comfort zone, surround by family, friends, and the girl he loves, and thrown into the world of war with death, destruction and violence. This world serves almost as a portal into his “special world” which he enters through being severely injured.
Joe encounters several tests. First, he must identify what is happening to him… is he dreaming or remembering? He undertakes one limb and sense at a time to uncover the gruesome reality of his condition. He also faces the challenge of regaining time. His biggest challenge comes in trying to figure out how to communicate with the outside world. By accomplishing this he feels that he has bridged the gap between the two worlds but unfortunately he can never truly return home. One reason for this is that the doctors refuse his wish to be an exhibition of the realities of war. He is denied having a purpose. Obviously another reason is his severe physical limitations. Joe will never be able to exist as he once did. But most importantly, Joe is not able to return to the ordinary world because no one can. The world has been forever altered from the war. Lives have been wasted, families destroyed, the economy and social structure altered. War has always served as a division and probably always will. Even this class is influenced by a war… literature studied before the war and literature studied after the war. Even without his physical problems, Joe would never have been able to truly return to his “original” world.

Posted by: Heather S. at April 2, 2008 02:25 PM

T. Wineland
Prof. Hobbs
April 2, 2008

In Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun” the hero would be Joe Bonham who is also the protagonist and narrator of the story. Joe begins the narrative in the ordinary world which is the world of the living and the world of communication and being one with society. However, the people of this world, including Joe are hidden from the realities of wartime and the darkness of the real world. Regardless of his own beliefs about war, Joe is forced to enlist in the army for WWI and crosses the threshold, leaving his home town of Shale City, Colorado, for the horrors in the land of warfare. During the time which Joe is on duty he sees, hears and experiences the brutality and inhumanity of war while forced to fight for his survival. This change brings Joe into the special world, where things are quite different than they had been at home. He is cut off from family and friends, forced to be in a position that he loathes yet has no choice but to endure the cruelty surrounding him.

The initiation phase begins when Joe wakes up from a deep sleep realizing that something is wrong. Through efforts of trial and error he comes to realize that he cannot hear, he cannot see, he does not have a mouth to speak or a nose to smell. He also comes to the realization that he has no arms or legs. He is cut off from society, has no clear accounting of the time he has been out of commission or of his present surroundings. He has lost his sense of time, day and orientation. Initially he panics and struggles with his ability to grasp the severity and loneliness of his condition.

However, during his stay in the hospital, representing his trials in the special world, he utilizes his time by finding ways to communicate with the outside world. He not only determines the difference between his day and night nurses by their entrances and exits, but he also is able to feel the warmth of the sun on his skin, indicating that it was sunrise. This gives him a concrete sense of time and brings him ever closer to the world he once new. He also practices Morse code using his head and the pillow to send messages. Unfortunately, these initially go by unnoticed. Finally a nurse uses her fingers to spell Merry Christmas on Joe’s chest, giving him a date to go with the time of day he has already discovered.

Crossing the threshold back over to the ordinary world would probably be best represented by Joe’s ability to use Morse code and successfully communicate with someone in the hospital. Joe realizes that he is finally being understood and tells the doctor that he would like to leave the hospital and possibly be used as an educational exhibit to pay his way in the world. Unfortunately, Joe’s request does not fall within the regulations and it is denied, leaving him to wonder why now there are sudden regulations over his existence.

Despite his rejected request, Joe is reborn because he knows now that he has gone from losing the world almost entirely to recapturing a place for himself there. He understands that cruelty and inhumanity reside within both worlds even though they are concealed in the ordinary world and exploited in the special world. In a sense Joe’s journey led him from ignorance to the truth of real humanity, he being a representation of war’s true brutality.

This novel is a great example for a monomyth because it can also be broken down between Book I which is titled “The Dead”, and Book II which is titled “The Living.” Each book can clearly represent an ordinary world and a special world with noticeable thresholds.

Posted by: T. Wineland at April 2, 2008 02:30 PM

The hero that I have chosen to discuss exists in the novel “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemmingway. The character that is the hero or protagonist in the story is Jake Barnes. Jake Barnes starts his “hero’s journey” when he is in his ordinary world of Paris working as a journalist. Jakes departure begins with his call to adventure from Cohn. Cohn writes Jake a letter holding him to a trip that they talked about in a previous winter. Cohn wants to go on a fishing trip in Spain. Jake has been bothering Jake about this trip for a while and Jake finally decides to go.
Initiation begins when Jake and his friend Bill start on their trip to Spain. Spain is the special world in this journey. More of Jake’s friends are also going to be on the trip. Lady Brett, Mike, Cohn, Bill and Jake all end up in Spain together in the special world. The special world is a kind of vacation to fish, drink, and party. Jake and his friends attend a couple bull fights and a final parade at the end of the trip. These events are the climax of the stage of initiation. Jake and his friends get drunk and admire the bull fighters. The flight that happens in the stage of initiation would be when Jake and his friends have to go back home to the ordinary world to work and live life like normal. When Jake returns to Paris, there isn’t really a transformation. Jake is the same type of person that he began his journey on. He is still in love with Brett and knows that he can’t have her, he is still impotent, and he is still “lost” in his life and looking for happiness.

Posted by: C. Bell at April 2, 2008 04:30 PM

Heather Stull
Professor Hobbs
EL 267.01
Reader response 4-2-08

I have chosen to examine the monomyth in Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun”. Joe Bonham, the protagonist, is the hero. In the novel, the literal ordinary world is Joe’s world before he is injured in the war. The special world is the world in which he exists, his mind, after he is injured. Symbolically, the ordinary world is the world that America knew before they entered into the war. The symbolic special world is the world that is altered from the war-Americans (and others) living with the death, confusion, and transformation of post-war society.
Quite amusingly, Joe’s “departure” into the special world, happens shortly after his departure from his friends and family at the station. He leaves from his home town because he has been drafted. He is taken out of his comfort zone, surround by family, friends, and the girl he loves, and thrown into the world of war with death, destruction and violence. This world serves almost as a portal into his “special world” which he enters through being severely injured.
Joe encounters several tests. First, he must identify what is happening to him… is he dreaming or remembering? He undertakes one limb and sense at a time to uncover the gruesome reality of his condition. He also faces the challenge of regaining time. His biggest challenge comes in trying to figure out how to communicate with the outside world. By accomplishing this he feels that he has bridged the gap between the two worlds but unfortunately he can never truly return home. One reason for this is that the doctors refuse his wish to be an exhibition of the realities of war. He is denied having a purpose. Obviously another reason is his severe physical limitations. Joe will never be able to exist as he once did. But most importantly, Joe is not able to return to the ordinary world because no one can. The world has been forever altered from the war. Lives have been wasted, families destroyed, the economy and social structure altered. War has always served as a division and probably always will. Even this class is influenced by a war… literature studied before the war and literature studied after the war. Even without his physical problems, Joe would never have been able to truly return to his “original” world.

Posted by: Heather S. at April 2, 2008 04:31 PM

In the short story, “The Worn Path”, by Eudora Welty, the hero is an old, African American lady named Phoenix. Her literal world is walking the path through the woods to get her grandson medicine in town. Her symbolic journey is going through the obstacles of old age. Her departure is when she is traveling through the path and she begins to hallucinate various things are happening to her. Phoenix’s call to adventure is every time she has to go get medicine and walk this path. Her hallucinations are when she crosses the threshold. The supernatural aid that causes this, I believe to be the sun. She begins imagining things right after she makes a comment about how bright the sun is. The initiation in this story is when Phoenix goes through different obstacles while walking through the woods. She yells at animals, climbs up and down steep hills, crawls over different logs and branches, falls in a ditch, its hot outside and the length of the path is very long. The “father” in this story is the nurse at the clinic that held her grandson’s medicine. The “father” has to give Phoenix the medicine, which is the purpose for her journey. I don’t believe that there is a return to this story because the author never tells us about her venture back home to her grandson. Symbolically, I do not believe there is a return. I think she stays on her journey through age.

Posted by: Ryenn Micaletti at April 2, 2008 04:31 PM

The hero that I am going to discuss from “On the Road” by Langston Hughes is Sargeant. He goes on a journey throughout the story. He starts off in his ordinary where racism exists. He wants to put a stop to racism so he begins his journey. Along the way, he is turned down by many people that he asked for help. They are the ones that show that racism in fact does exist. He is turned down for a place to stay by the Reverend. One would think that a Reverend would be willing to help anyone, but that is not the case for Sargeant. Sargeant becomes fed up with the way that he is getting treated. He tries to break into the church for a warm place to stay. The police come to arrest him, but he does not give up. He grabs onto one of the pillars of the church and tears it down, crushing the police. This is when he crosses into his special world where racism does not exist. He meets Jesus Christ here who walks along with him for a while. Christ is made of stone and so was the pillar that Sargeant was carrying down the street during the time they walked together. Sargeant still needs to find a warm place to spend the night. He and Jesus keep walking until they come to the hobo jungle. This is where there journey together ends. At this time, Sargeant crosses back into his ordinary world, the world where racism exists. He wakes up and finds himself in prison. He is getting his knuckles beat because he was holding onto the door and would not let go. Throughout this short story, I think that Sargeant made a transformation because he was sick of the racism in the world. He no longer wanted to deal with it so he was trying to do something about it. He was trying to make things right and he was put in jail for it.

Posted by: Michelle E. at April 2, 2008 04:39 PM

“Heroine” Lady Brett Ashley

“Real World” – Paris France “Special World” – Pamplona, Spain

“Call to adventure” – Brett’s fiancé was out of town so Brett was living life large and seeking Jake, or teasing, in the process.

“Cross into the threshold” – Brett has a fling with Robert Cohn

“Tests and trials” – Michael and Robert fighting over her and making idiots of themselves

“Supreme Ordeal” – Brett breaks up with Michael to pursue Pedro Remero, whom is a significant amount younger than Brett.

“Cross the Threshold” – Brett breaks up with Pedro and goes back to Michael…she feels that she is a threat to Pedro’s career

“Rebirth or transformation” – I think that Brett doesn’t go through a real transformation she still is dependent on the other sex but she does realize that someone so young and career oriented wasn’t good for her and she realized her needs.

Posted by: Erin at April 2, 2008 04:56 PM

I choose “On the Road” by Langston Hughes as my source

I think the “Hero” in “On the Road” is absolutely Sargeant. He has to fight with the bad weather, the snow, hungry and find himself a place to stay.

His “Ordinary World” is the real world which is not very kind to the Sargeant including the church and the jail Those place actually give him a place to stay and live without the bad weather. He got arrested and falls into a false reality.

The “Special World” for Sargeant is his spirit world, whatever the ordinary world do to him, he is not going to surrender. In his mind, the God is always stay with him. He pleased the God to give him the strength when he is judged.
The departure is from the church to the jail.

Posted by: Yichuan Sun at April 3, 2008 12:21 AM

Candice Shaughnessy
Dr. Hobbs
American Literature 1915- Present
30 April 2008
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo:
The Journey to Enlightenment
Journey is a term loosely associated with a path. A journey can be literal or symbolic, and a journey can also be metaphorical. However, the greatest “journey” that can be traced in both western and eastern culture is undoubtably the path to enlightenment. Enlightenment can have different definitions for different cultures, and enlightenment brings about different results for all those who attempt it. Consequently, they all have the same basic journey and their journeys can be traced through Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. The universal idea of journey brings many different types of protagonists from both eastern and western literature to their personal enlightenment, and most of these journeys can be traced through Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. Two characters that found enlightenment in this manner were the protagonists in two very different novels, Joe in Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun and Siddhartha in Herman Hess’s Siddhartha. Both of these protagonists try to find enlightenment through their family, their friends, their infatuations with women, and their final peace within themselves.
The first part of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth is referred to as the departure phase. In this phase the protagonist goes from his ordinary life to the life that will lead him to adventure (Hobbs). Both of the protagonists try to use friendship as a catalyst to enlightenment through the departure phase. This idea fails for both of them, but the experiences help them grow as a person and they learn from them. Siddhartha lives with his father, who is the Brahmin in an Indian village, which can be considered his ordinary world (Hesse 1). Johnny Got His Gun is set in Colorado, and later Los Angeles. Joe quotes in the beginning of the novel, “He remembered when he was a kid...thinking that the top of one of his Colorado mountains had blown off...” (Trumbo 9). At this point Siddhartha is searching for enlightenment, while Joe, unknowingly, will be thrown into it. The call to adventure is a change in the protagonists’ life (Hobbs). One of the biggest misconceptions both characters have about enlightenment is that they need other people in their lives that will guide them to enlightenment. While this may remain true for social skills and sanity, as written about in Johnny Got His Gun, it does not necessarily hold true for true enlightenment or any level of self-actualization. Siddhartha’s journey is heavily influenced by his good friend Govinda who comes with him to join the Samanas (Hesse 6-7). In a difference of opinion, Govinda stays with them, and even says to Siddhartha,”Siddhartha it is not for me to reproach you. We have both listened to the Illustrious One, we have both heard his teachings. Govinda has listened to the teachings and has accepted them, but you, my dear friend, will you not also tread the path to salvation?” (Hesse 24). Siddhartha knows this is not his future and leaves the Samanas. Joe has a very similar relationship with his friend Bill Harper, as is exemplified in the story of how Bill looses Joe’s father’s fishing rod in chapter nine (Trumbo 101-108). It is also true that Bill breaks the bond of friendship between him and Joe when he goes out with Diane and, Joe knows their relationship will never be the same again (Trumbo 53). Both of these protagonists, having left their good friends, took their first steps into the world of enlightenment by not relying on peers to help them. This would be their first realization that they are crossing into a different kind of lifestyle.
Campbell refers to the next step as the “threshold of adventure” which is when the protagonist crosses into a different or unknown realm of understanding (Hobbs). This is exactly what happened when Siddhartha and Joe left behind their childhood friends. They began to take the path to enlightenment on their own. In the initiation phase both of the protagonists turn to the temptation of women and peace with the father. This idea, again helps the protagonists grow as people, but it does not aid them in their path to enlightenment. Not unlike the western myths Americans are familiar with, eastern myths usually contain a series of trials. This part of the journey is referred to as the “road of trials” in Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (Hobbs). A fair argument would be that all of the events of the living are a road of trials leading to enlightenment in some manifestation. This is the obvious truth for Siddhartha since he is actually actively seeking enlightenment, and admits it to the reading audience. “...And where was Atman to be found, where did He dwell, where did his eternal heart beat, if not within the Self, in the innermost, in the internal which each person carried within him?” (Hesse 3-4). However, the way that these two protagonists are similar is the fact that they both internally find enlightenment. However, as Siddhartha has a choice in his path to enlightenment, Joe is somewhat forced into finding his enlightenment. “I can’t breathe, but I am breathing. I’m so scared I can’t think but I’m thinking” (Trumbo 64). Once Joe realizes the state he has been placed in he also realizes that he is alone and, that he has to find his own way through things, much like Siddhartha’s wanderings after his stay with the Samanas.
Another part of the initiation phase is referred to as “the woman as the temptress’ (Hobbs). There are many different women referred to in each of the books, however the women that are most affective in the story are all physically associated with the protagonist in some way. For example, in Siddhartha the protagonist’s lover in the second part of the book, Kamala, is what he believes will help him find enlightenment. He even asks her when he meets her, ... “if it does not displease you, Kamala, I would like to ask you to be my friend and teacher, for I do not know anything of the art of which you are mistress” (Hesse 44). Joe, on the other hand, had many different experiences with women in his life. The first woman the reader finds out about in Joe’s life is the love of his life Kareen (Trumbo 38-39). The other women Joe speaks of are the nurse, Ruby, and other experiences of physical love in his life (Trumbo 167-175). The discovery that both Joe and Siddhartha make is that physical love, and the joys of the senses will also not bring them enlightenment. In Joe’s case this is obvious as he has lost all of this ability to communicate through the outside world. “He had no legs and no arms and no eyes and no ears and no nose and no mouth and no tongue” (Trumbo 62). With all of these physical things gone, Joe had no senses, and his only aesthetic pleasure was through touch. This was a huge difference in Joe’s journey, and since he had to cope with not having his senses, it forced him to look in another direction. Overcoming not having his senses was one of Joe’s initiations. Siddhartha, on the other hand, experienced the aesthetics of life as an attempt to help his search, and then finds that it was all for not. “ He rose, said farewell to the mango tree and the pleasure garden...He smiled wearily, shook his head and said goodbye to these things” (Hesse 68).
One of the initiations is considered the “atonement with the father” (Hobbs). In both of these novels, the father is the first thing that is focused on. The opening to the first chapter in Siddhartha is titled “The Brahmin’s Son”, which is used to refer to Siddhartha himself (Hesse 1). He seeks advice and permission from his father to join the Samanas in the beginning of the book, and his father is not very happy about the prospect, but Siddhartha leaves with them anyway (Hesse 7). Consequently, in the beginning of Johnny Got His Gun, Joe laments over his dead father stating, “ I won’t forget you and I’m not as sorry for today as I was yesterday. I loved you dad goodnight” (Trumbo 7). Both Siddhartha and Joe had to make their journey without their father. Even though there is not necessarily a textbook version of “atonement with the father”, they are still affected by their father in some way.
After all of the trials and initiations, both of these characters reach a point of enlightenment. Although the definition of “enlightenment” is very different for both of them, it still holds true that they reach a breaking or ending point.
From that hour Siddhartha ceased to fight against his destiny. There shone in his face the serenity of knowledge, of one who is no longer confronted with the conflict of desires, who has found salvation, who is in harmony with the stream of events, with the stream of life, full of sympathy and compassion, surrendering himself to the stream, belonging to the unity of all things. (Hesse 111)
Siddhartha had reached the level of enlightenment that he had been seeking all along at the end of the novel. Joe, who had been seeking for such a long time to communicate had to be silenced to realize that he would reach a point of enlightenment. “And then suddenly he saw. He had a vision of himself as a new kind of Christ as a man who carries within himself all the seeds of a new order of things. He was the new messiah of the battlefields saying to people, as I am so shall you be” (Trumbo 240). In this way, Joe achieves his own level of enlightenment. As Siddhartha is at peace with his soul and is enlightened, Joe is at peace with his soul and is enlightened.
The path to enlightenment is one of the oldest stories and myths of the world, and it is presented with very different characters with different definitions of enlightenment. However, there is always one common idea and that is to be at peace with oneself. Both of these protagonists, in their own ways, and in a very similar journey, found the peace within. The idea of enlightenment is an idea that spans all the world and joins the ideologies of eastern culture and western culture and is a goal that all humans will forever strive towards.

Works Cited
Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha. Trans. Hilda Rosner. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1951.
Hobbs, Lee. “The Hero’s Journey (or the Monomyth)”. Illustration and definitions of terms based on Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. Adapted from The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949). Princeton, NJ: Bollingen, 1987. and Warren, Liz and Alan Levine. “The Hero’s Journey: Summary of Steps.” Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (MCLI): Maricopa Community Colleges. 19 Nov. 1999. 10 Oct 2007 .
Trumbo, Dalton. Johnny Got His Gun. New York: Bantam Books, 1939.
I chose to post my paper here because I used and cited Joseph Campbells Monomyth in my paper. I did this to exemplify the theme of journey to enlightenment for both Joe and Siddhartha.

Posted by: Candice S at May 1, 2008 12:08 AM


*NOTE* The deadline for the assignment above has now passed. Any comments listed below are for a different assignment for a different class.

Image Source: www.herosjourneystarwars.com/starwars.jpg

10 September 2008

ENG 225 Students only,

Please enter your responses for the activity you were assigned for the Wednesday Class meeting on September 10th. You were to list one of the stories we have read as a class, identify a hero in that narrative, identify that hero's departure, initiation, and departure phases, and identify the two special worlds of that hero. Finally, you were asked to discuss ONE of the trials that hero had to face (not all of them, just one). The length of the response is/was up to you--however long it takes. I would expect that it would take a few paragraphs (at least) to get in all of this information into one response.

For those of you who AREN'T keeping up with these weekly out-of-class writing assignments, understand that I AM keeping track of those who are doing them and those who aren't. This all counts for your class participation grade, a significant part of your final score for the course.

I look forward to reading your responses.

Dr. Hobbs
(edited Wednesday, September 10, 2008)


Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at May 6, 2008 10:59 AM

Alex Slavin

Professor Hobbs

English 225

September 11-08

For this assignment, I have chosen to write on the story of Gilgamesh. The hero in this tale of course Gilgamesh himself. Gilgamesh lives in an ordinary world and a special world. In the world that Gilgamesh is used to, he is the greatest of his kind. He is part human and part god. His power and brute strength has taken control over his emotions and sensitivity towards others. The power he has received has given him something that he cannot even control.
The special world that Gilgamesh became apart of is when Enkidu entered into his life. Enkidu was created entirely of clay and was part god like Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh was at first threatened by Enkidu because his power was equal to the power of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh and Enkidu are sent into the forest that lurks with evil. They have created a bond, a friendship, and look at each other almost as brothers.
On the hero’s journey chart, the departure phase Gilgamesh fits into is the call to adventure. Gilgamesh is called to fight the evil that lives in the dark woods. He also fits into the category of the helpers and supernatural aid. Enkidu is created to fight by his side and also change him for the better. The initiation phase occurs when Gilgamesh and Enkidu enter the woods. In the special world, Enkidu is killed and Gilgamesh is devastated. Gilgamesh cries by Enkidu’s body and begins to realize that wealth and power does not compare to the friendship that he has lost with Enkidu. Gilgamesh is becoming mortal like the men that live in his kingdom. He continues his fight and his struggle to reach the gods to retain his immortal status. The return phase that Gilgamesh fits into is back to the beginning of the ordinary world. He comes back to his kingdom calmer and with peace. A type of king that his people have long wanted. Enkidu has taught him what friendship really was and it is more valuable then all the wealth anyone could dream for.
The hero Gilgamesh must encounter on his journey is to reach the gods to remain immortal. This part of the story fits into the special world climax/final battle. When Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh shows human characteristics. He must reach the gods to keep his status as king and powers. It is almost as if that when he reaches the gods he is given a second chance to use his powers as king. This time he must not abuse them and realize what is really important.

Posted by: Alex Slavin at September 11, 2008 04:58 PM

The work that I choose to use was the story The Monkey’s Heroic Self-Sacrifice from the Jataka readings. In this story the main character and hero was Bodhisatta. He was born a monkey. Bodisatta was originally from Benares were he was one of the strongest and wisest monkeys. The ordinary world would have been his birthday place Benares and the special world is the banks near the Ganges were his journey takes place. Bodhisatta’s separation from the Himalayan’s is when he went over to the special mango tree near the Ganges bank with a crew of eighty thousand monkeys to eat all the mango’s before the king got to them. The initiation of the story was when he first lets all of his monkeys cross over his back to get back over to the other side away from all the danger and the kings arch men. The only way to get the other monkeys to the other side was over a bridge that Bodhisatta made with his back and tree branches. The return in my mind is after he died the king returned his golden skull back to Benares to be worshipped so all the city could see and worship their fellow hero.
One of the trials that Bodhisatta went through was when he actually formed a bridge with his back and rescued all the monkeys. This really showed what type of hero he was. He was the type of hero that did not care how much pain it took to get everyone across to safety he would do it. He even helped his evil cousin Devadatta over to the other side in spite of him breaking his back. This trail falls into the fight/rescue section right before crossing back out of the threshold.

Posted by: Nichole T. at September 11, 2008 05:32 PM

Anna R.
Engl 225
Dr. Hobbs


In the biblical story about the ark of Noah, Noah himself clearly is the hero. Even though god gives him the advice of saving his family and two of each living things, Noah knew how hard it was to overcome the task and overcame it to save the world. The two regions Noah enters are the world we all live in, which is the ordinary world and the ark he built, which is the special world. Noah and his family live on our planet which god created for us including plants and animals. However, god gets mad at humans saying that we are all evil and bad and puts us to a test. He tells Noah to take his family and two of every kind of animal and take them up into an ark which he was supposed to build by himself out of gopher wood, while god would flood the world and destroy every living thing. Noah left a perfect world in which he lived in peace with his family surrounded by nature and animals. However, god is mad and wants to punish us for being and creating evil. He sends Noah on a journey to build an ark with god’s own set measurements and to take care of and help every living creature survive.
The three phases Noah goes through in his task are departure, in which he builds the ark and takes two of every living things including his family; then there is initiation, in which he actually has to get every living thing to survive in order to reproduce and be able to live a life after the ark. Concluding, there is the return phase, in which everyone and every living thing could return to the face of the earth which was dry again in order to resume a normal life “And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry” (62). Noah had passed god’s test and can resume life again like it was before. One trial Noah had to pass was to build the ark and wait for god to start the flood which didn’t happen for another six hundred years. In my opinion that was his biggest trial. He knew that the flood was coming and that he was the chosen one to save his family and every living creature, however, he had to wait six hundred years for the day to come for him to do as he was told by god.

Posted by: Anna R. at September 11, 2008 08:13 PM

When choosing a epic to evaluate using the idea of the "Monomyth", i realized Gilgamesh would be the best choice. The one thing I had problems connecting with was the idea of ordinary world. Gilgamesh's world might be ordinary to him but to the reader is very mystical. In Gilgamesh's ordinary world, it symbolizes how great and mighty Gilgamesh really is. This is evident when the reader is told about the intricately constructed walls in and around the great city of Uruk. When Gilgamesh does travel to this special world, his struggle symbolizes that Gilgamesh is NOT 100% divine. It shows that in his own world Gilgamesh is king but outside of it, he is not the strongest.

After fighting Enkidu, Enkidu describes a fearsome creature called Humbama who protects the distant Cedar Forest. Humbaba's roar is a Flood, his mouth is Fire, and his breath is Death! (Gilgamesh 162). The one interesting thing is that Gilgamesh is not reluctant. It turns out that Enkidu is. This is a good example for the reader to truly understand the heroism and strength is Gilgamesh. When Gilgamesh and Enkidu visit the blacksmith to get armor and weapons for their journey, the departure stage has begun.

One of the first tests Gilgamesh faces is the battle with Enkidu against Humbama. In this battle, Gilgamesh prevails and builds a wall out of the tallest tree to symbolize his success. Gilgamesh truly reaches his "belly of the whale" when Enkidu dies. He shows his characteristic of "hitting rock bottom" when he refuses to heat, drink, or clean himself. I feel that this is his biggest trial in his journey to immortality. He has to overcome the feeling of being depressed and alone to truly overcome his journey and continue on. After he truly finds out that he is not meant to be 100% divine, he returns back to his original world and accepts his fate.

Text used:


Posted by: Joseph S. at September 11, 2008 09:45 PM

Eng 225 MWF 12:30-1:20

1. Chosen work: The Epic of Gilgamesh

2. Hero whose adventure I am addressing: Gilgamesh

3. Two regions applicable to hero:
Normal world: Uruk
Special world: The cedar forest

4. Three phases of the monomyth that hero goes through beginning to end:

Departure phase: Gilgamesh departure is from his city of Uruk into the Cedar forest.

Initiation phase: Gilgamesh’s initiation phase begins when he is at the entrance of the woods and begins to quake with fear. He starts to pray to the God Shamash who tells Gilgamesh to be reminded that he promised Ninsun that he would be safe. The god calls down from heaven and orders Gilgamesh to enter the forest because Humbaba is not wearing most of his armor. Gilgamesh then proceeds to enter the forest to battle Humbaba.

Return phase: Gilgamesh’s return phase is when he is standing at the gates of the city of Uruk and inviting Urshanabi to come and see the city.

5. One test or trial along the “road of trial” and where it fits in on chart:
A test that Gilgamesh encountered along his journey is when he was offered the chance of immorality only if he could stay awake for six days. He fails this test and is offered another. He had to go to the bottom of the ocean to pluck a magic plant that will make him young again. However, Gilgamesh did not trust the plant so it tried to take it back to Uruk to test it on an old man first and while stopping to take a rest a snake ate the plant. Gilgamesh is distraught and so heads back to Uruk with nothing. Not immortality nor his friend Enkidu.

Posted by: brandon mckoy at September 12, 2008 12:10 AM

Enkidu was born half man and half beast. He lived most of his life with the animals in the forests. In return, he helps the animals by saving them from traps and destroying traps set by the local farmers. One of the farmers got tired about Enkidu’s behaviour, so he went to Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh sent a prostitute to “tame” Gilgamesh and introduce him to civilization. After the prostitute slept with him, she taught him to behave like a human being. After learning a lot, he wanted to challenge Gilgamesh to a fight. He went to Uruk to fight him. In the end, Gilgamesh defeated him, then offered him a chance to join him on his adventures.

Posted by: Matthew Chong at September 12, 2008 12:25 AM

In the story of Medea, the hero happens to be Medea herself. There are two very distinct regions in the story of Medea. The first one, or her normal world, is in the beginning right after she finds out that her husband is in love with another woman. Even this is not normal for her, but it is not too far of a departure. The special world is created after Kreon banished her from Corinth. This act changed the entire way she looked a what she had to do. Medea is called to action when she is banished from the land. This crosses her into the special world. She then comes up with a plan of how to kill Jason’s new wife, which leads to the battle. The battle is when the children deliver the poisoned gifts and Kreon and his daughter die. Then, the flight is when Jason come to confront Medea and she is seen escaping on a fire chariot pulled by dragons. This will take her into her new normal world. One test that she encounters is when she is banished from Corinth immediately which gives her no time to accomplish her plan. This is her “belly of the whale”. She pleads with Kreon to let her stay in the land for one day, to which he replies that one night will not let her do any harm. Little did he know she was much smarter than he expected.

Posted by: Matt M. at September 12, 2008 12:47 AM

Paola Silvestri
ENG 225
1) Medea-Euripides
2) In Medea, the protagonist herself is considered a hero. Considering the fact that Medea is a tragic play, the main character can be considered a tragic hero.
3) The Ordinary World- Medea’s ordinary world consists of being at home with her children and husband. But once her husband decides to marry the king of Corinth’s daughter, her ordinary world takes an incredible twist. She loves her children and her husband.
The Special World- once Medea discovers her husband’s plan to marry another woman, she loses her mind. This is when she enters her special world. She is delusional and resentful. Medea in lost in her world of revenge and depression. Medea feels betrayed by everyone in Corinth, especially by her husband and the king Creon.
4) Separation
• Ordinary World: Medea lived at home with her children and took care of her husband.
• Call to Adventure: Once Medea finds out that her husband is going to marry another woman, her depression is evident, and it is here where her adventure begins.
• Refusal: Medea is overwhelmed by the fact that her husband left her with their children alone. When the king condemns her to exile she is even more distraught.
• The hero is encouraged: Medea feels the need to obtain revenge from her husband, the king, and the king’s daughter. So Medea devises a plan to kill them.
• The hero passes the first threshold: Once Medea has devised a plan to kill her husband, his wife-to-be, and the king, she comes to the conclusion that the ultimate revenge would be to kill her own children.
• The hero encounters tests and helpers: The first encounter she has is that king Creon decides to send her and her children to exile. The problem with this is that she was to be exiled; she wouldn’t have time to have her revenge. So she finds in herself to beg the king for mercy, and to be granted one more day. Medea has one faithful friend throughout the story, and it is the nurse. Medea also asks the king of Athens, Aigeus, to accept her in his land. Aigeus is one of Medea’s old friends.
• The hero reaches the inner most cave: When Medea tells the nurse to call Jason to talk. Medea’s real intentions were hidden under a cover of asking for forgiveness. Medea asked Jason to forgive her for thinking bad about his relationship with his bride-to-be; but she really didn’t mean this. Her real intentions were to send her children with poisoned gifts for the king’s daughter. By doing so, both her children were going to die, the king’s daughter, and hopefully the king (Medea didn’t know if he would touch the gifts or his daughter).
• The hero endures the ultimate ordeal: When Jason leaves with his two children to the palace with the poison gifts. The children then come back. Medea then carries out the most dreadful act of the entire play, which is killing her own blood, her beloved children. A few moments later a messenger comes to Medea’s house and tells her that the king and his daughter are both dead. Jason then comes looking for Medea, distraught; he asks to see his children. This is when Medea stands on the ceiling of her house with the dead bodies of her two children and shows them to her husband. Jason is inconsolable and overwhelmed by the vicious act his wife committed.
• The hero seizes the sword: When Medea sees how destroyed Jason looks and feels, she knows she has obtained the victory of revenge.
• The road back: after Medea committed her atrocious acts, she discusses with Jason, and expresses her vicious feelings to him.
• Resurrection: In her own special world, Medea is pleased with the acts she committed. She feels relieved that at last Jason is feeling her pain. Jason is left lost, confused, and, depressed; on the other hand, Medea is left with the feeling of having completed her vicious plan.

5) One of the trials/obstacle that Medea encounters is when king Creon of Corinth hears about Medea’s plan to kill, and decides to exile her and her children. Medea begs the king for mercy, to let her stay one more day so that she can find somewhere to go. Even though the king had very bad feelings about letting her stay, he did. Medea was granted one more day in Corinth. Due to the fact that she only had one day left, she devised a quick plan to get rid of all her enemies. If only the king had listened to his true feelings about Medea, both he and his daughter would have survived. Medea passed this obstacle without any trouble and was able to fulfill her plan as desired.

Posted by: Paola S at September 12, 2008 02:39 AM

1.) Epic of Gilgamesh
2.) The Hero of the Epic is Gilgamesh

3.)The first of the worlds, the so-called ordinary world is in Uruk. The beginning scenes where Gilgamesh is in his home city are the natural and non-supernatural world. Up until he meets with Enkidu and they go on their adventure, Gilgamesh lives in a world with minimal supernatural events and people. After he meets Enkidu, they battle Humbaba, a demon and Gilgamesh is offered the opportunity to become the consort of the goddess Ishtar. They even had to fight a creature that was created by the gods, the Bull of Heaven. The start of the adventure with Enkidu is the true catalyst and bridge between the ordinary and the supernatural world.
4.) The initial phase or discovery is when Gilgamesh is actually on his journey and adventure with Enkidu, up until Enkidu’s death. Gilgamesh learns of all the great terrors of the world and of the wrath of the gods. He loses his best friend, gains both the love and hatred of the goddess Ishtar and then makes a literal journey to self-discovery while he crosses the Waters of Death.
The second phase or rather the initiation phase is Gilgamesh’s journey is his journey through the Waters of Death and his encounter with Utnapishtim. The actual beginning is the death of Enkidu. At that point, Gilgamesh turns inward and starts contemplating life and seeking immortality. This is in a sense Gilgamesh’s initiation into the large, supernatural world. He is taken under the proverbial wing of Utnapishtim who explains to Gilgamesh all the experiences that Utnapishtim himself had to endure. He also gives some rather tough love to Gilgamesh by refusing to help him become immortal, thus helping Gilgamesh realize his place in the larger world.
The third and final phase, the return phase, is just that, the return of Gilgamesh to Uruk and his conversations with and the rescue of Enkidu from the underworld. While starting off as a tyrant, Gilgamesh has now completed a great journey of self-discovery and came back a much more enlightened man. He also has also started thinking outside of himself when he begged the gods to intercede on behalf of Enkidu in the underworld. This act of selflessness is the final and truest testament to the change that Gilgamesh experienced throughout his adventures.
5.) One of the great tests that Gilgamesh had to endure was the battle with Humbaba, the great ogre-demon. This fits in best with the “Tests and Trials” and with the “Allies/Enemies” since Gilgamesh and Enkidu had to face the great demon.

Posted by: Jonathan T. at September 12, 2008 02:48 AM

I chose Gilgamesh from Gilgamesh. He is the hero in the story. The ordinary world for Gilgamesh is in the city of Uruk, where he is king. His special world includes a few different places such as Humbaba’s lair which is the forest, across the ocean where Utnapishtim lives, and even his kingdom of Uruk after Ishtar cursed the land.
The separation phase takes place after Gilgamesh bests Enkidu in their little wrestling match to see who the better of the two was. They join together with Gilgamesh as the leader and seek out the monster Humbaba, keeper of the cedar forest. Even though Enkidu is scared, they go through with killing Humbaba so that Gilgamesh may glorify his name in the foreign land as his destiny says will happen.
The initiation phase takes place after Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay the Bull of Heaven. Ishtar proposes to Gilgamesh, whom refuses, and gets fairly angry. She curses Uruk so that the dead will walk with the living as a punishment to the hero. When Enkidu went to sleep that night, he dreamed a bad dream that he would die as punishment for killing the Bull and Humbaba, and he did.
The return comes when Gilgamesh is searching for a remedy to bring Enkidu back to life. He reaches Utnapishtim and learns that there is a thorny plant that grows underwater which will bring back a man’s youth. He wants it so that maybe he can bring back Enkidu. Gilgamesh finds the plant and brings it to shore only for it to get eaten by a serpent. He then travels back to Uruk where he can finally rest in peace.
Near the end, Gilgamesh is sent to find a thorny underwater plant that could restore Enkidu and when he finds it, the plant gets eaten and he loses all hope of saving his friend. This is where he’s as rock bottom, in my opinion, cause he had all this hope of bringing his friend back, and it gets destroyed by a stupid serpent leaving him without chance of staying alive.

Posted by: Quinten J at September 12, 2008 07:36 AM

Kamille Garness 10/09/08

In the play, “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes, the hero of this narrative was Lysistrata. The play begins in a street in Athens, outside of Lysistrata’s house where she awaits the arrival of the women of Greece. This location in which the play begins is Lysistrata’s ordinary world. The play then shifts into another location as Lysistrata and the women she gathers, proceed to Akropolis and take over the Athene’s temple, at this point Lysistrata has left her ordinary world and is entering into the special world. Lysistrata leaves an ordinary world where the she and all the other women are submissive and do no object to the men’s decisions, and she enters a special world where she has just as much power and say in what the men should do. In the departure phase, Lysistrata leaves from a street outside of her home and advances to the Athene temple. Lysistrata is initiated into the Athene temple when she confronts the Commissioner and policemen who try to burst open ‘the gates to the Akropolis’, to get her out of the temple. Lysistrata stands her ground and face up to the men who attempt to hit her (pg. 743). Lysistrata warns the men not “to lay a finger on me’ and ‘jabs a spindle at the Archer” (pg.744). In the initiation phase, Lysistrata displays the characteristics of a leader and fighter, contradicting the cultural expectations of women in her time. Lysistrata is determined to win the fight to end the war and obtain peace. In the departure phase, the men agree to end the war and restore peace, Lysistrata and the other women leave the Akropolis and return to Athens. Lysistrata returns to her normal world where she is no longer in conflict with the men, and she re-assumes her submissive role. In the play, one of the tests that Lysistrata encounters is her confrontation with Kinesias. Lysistrata tests Kinesias to see if he would agree to end the war in exchange for relief from his sexual deprivation. At the same time, Lysitrata is being tested to see if she will give in to her request to end the war, by feeling guilty for what she is doing to the men. Lysistrata passes this test when she lets Myrrhine go off with Kinesias to torture him, and this leads Lysistrata closer to accomplishing her goal of ending the war, as the man’s desire to be with his wife heightens and forces him to ultimately surrender and end the war.

Kamille G
Eng. 225 Sec.1

Posted by: Kamille G at September 12, 2008 09:58 AM

From “the Epic of Gilgamesh” I’m choosing to identify Gilgamesh’s journey as a hero. The two regions of Gilgamesh’s world are the world he lives in as a big fish in a small pond (as the king of Uruk) and when he leaves with Enkidu into the wilderness of the Forest of Cypress, and subsequently is forced to endure great hardships after losing his friend, before eventually returning to Uruk to record his journey.
The departure phase for Gilgamesh was when he first met Enkidu, and found another wild heart in the world for him to cling to. This was more or less his immersion into the interference from the gods and into the world of suffering that he was about to come into.
The initiation phase for Gilgamesh is a long one, starting with his battle in the Cypress Forest against Humbaba and continuing with his battle against the Bull of Heaven and ending with his suffering in the wilderness searching for immortality.
The return phase for Gilgamesh takes place after he loses his chance for immortality. Had he gotten it, he may never have “returned” to mortal life, as his adventures would never end. But as his chance was lost, he resigned himself to return home and tell the tales of his adventures.
The great test for Gilgamesh was the loss of Enkidu, as it was the most stressful and painful part of his story. I think this best fits in the “belly of the whale” portion of the chart, as Gilgamesh has hit rock bottom in his suffering, refusing food and comfort to focus on his mourning. Although it may not be as much of a test in the traditional sense, that he had to complete something to get somewhere, but it was a test of his fortitude and he did decide to go and search for immortality after searching for his fear thru his grief.

Posted by: JustinW at September 12, 2008 11:24 AM

A Hero’s Journey: The Aeneid

In the epic the Aeneid, who I found to be what is considered the hero within the story was Aeneas. The reason Aeneas is the hero for the story is based on his journey from the city of Troy to Italy. Aeneas ordinary world would be his home of Troy which is left in destruction and goes to Italy a place of unknown promise. From a symbolic point of view, Troy can be seen as a place of great turmoil and goes to another world of unknown fortune. The departure phase of the hero’s journey begins once he leaves Troy in an effort to escape the impending destruction which awaits the city. Aeneas is initiated into his journey by the gods informing him of his destiny, which to discover the new city of Rome.
Aeneas goes on his journey once he is influenced by the destruction of war torn Troy to going on the voyage to Rome. Although they are distractions that come along the way he still manages to stay focused with the help of his father Anchises. One of the trails that Aeneas faces during his voyage is the trip to the underworld to talk to his father Anchises who passed away on the trip to Italy. The purpose of this underworld trip was to get a chance to talk to his father about why and how important it is for him to go on this journey. The underworld adventure is somewhat of a turning point within the hero to rediscover the reason why he should go on and continue his journey.

Eng 225 Ca01

Posted by: S.Tavares at September 12, 2008 11:28 AM

Walter Perkins
English 225
Dr. Hobbs
In the story in the “Ark of Noah”, Noah is the hero in this story. The God’s encouraged him to save himself, two of each of creature and his family. The two regions that Noah lives through are in the normal world and the ark he built, which is the safe world. God got angry with the people on earth one day and decided they were going to create a deluge. The reason for deluge was because the god’s felt that there was “corruption on earth with violence” (p. 60). God decided to kill the human race because of the corruption. God told Noah to build an ark and take two of each creature to survive the flood, while he creates a flood that will destroy the rest of mankind. Noah had to leave a happy life with family, nature and animals to build this ark, but Noah to do what was asked of him by God and had to complete his journey of helping creatures survive the future flood.
The three phases Noah overcomes is building the ark and taking two of each type of creature. Then there was the challenge of having every living thing that was in his presence actually survive so that they can reproduce after the flood. The last phase is returning after the flood and starting back up with life after flood destroyed mankind and nature. “And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry” (p. 62) is the quote that describes the aftermath of the flood by God. Noah successfully lived up to God expectations and completed his journey by building ark and helping survive so that life on earth could continue. The toughest trial was getting two of each creature so that those creatures can reproduce after the flood.

Posted by: Walter P at September 12, 2008 11:35 AM

D.J. Garry
Dr. Hobbs
English 225 CA. 01
12 September 2008
Hero Journey
The Hero Gilgamesh goes through a perfect example of a Hero Journey. Gilgamesh starts out as a king in an ancient culture. He is a cruel person, and hated by his people. He leaves the threshold when he goes on the journey with Enkidu. Although it is in the same world, he goes through many tests and becomes a better person on the journey. He comes back a changed man and is no longer a tyrant. He eventually learns to love because of Enkidu.
Gilgamesh goes through the separation phase in his kingdom. He meets Enkidu, they grapple and then gain respect for each other. Gilgamesh wants to prove his power to the world, so he sets out on a journey with his new friend to find Humbaba. When they leave the kingdom to go through this they step over the threshold. Gilgamesh goes through many trials during the initiation phase. They fight Humbaba, come back to the kingdom, and then fight the bull of heaven. Even though they are back in the kingdom Gilgamesh is still in the initiation phase. Enkidu eventually dies and he goes on another quest for eternal life. He goes through many problems during this quest as well. Gilgamesh crosses into the return phase after he loses the flower to the snake and comes back to the kingdom. He is a changed man when he comes back to the kingdom because of everything that he has gone through on his hero journey.
Gilgamesh is tested by the death of Enkidu. They are testing him to see if he really has become a new individual and whether or not he will go back to his old ways because Enkidu is not around. He goes on the journey for eternal life in the story, but I do not think that the journey is the real test. I think the test is his response to Enkidu’s death.

Posted by: David G. at September 12, 2008 11:56 AM

Myron Kirchner
ENG 225

The Aeneid

The Hero in this story is Aeneas. His Journey takes him through 3 different regions before he finally arrives at his destination, which is Italy. Most of the story is in the real world, but he does journey into the Underworld to see his father. He faces two challenges along the way in the form of storms throwing him, and his men off course. I would say the departure phase is when he leaves burning troy in search of his destiny in Italy. He is initiated into two storms that throw him off course on two separate occasions. Aeneas doesn’t actually go through a return phase as he doesn’t return to Troy at the end of the story. He does, however, reach his destination, but is confronted with more conflicts and tragedy. Aeneas goes through a test of love and loyalty. He was living a good life with Dido in Carthage, but he is reminded by the Gods that he need to fulfill his duty to find a new city.

Posted by: Myron Kirchner at September 12, 2008 12:19 PM

Hero’s journey
1. My choice of narrative falls on The Odyssey.
2. The protagonist of the story is Odysseus, the king of Ithaca.
3. I would like to take into consideration the world of Odysseus even before he departed to Troy. Some may argue that it is not part of what happens in The Odyssey but reality is that Ithaca is the world Odysseus tries to go back to. Therefore, I am more likely to accept the life as king of Ithaca as his ordinary world.
4. Odysseus adventure begins when he is asked to support the Greeks in the war against Troy. He is unwilling to go and leave his wife and newborn son, but then his kingdom and people will all have to suffer. What is interesting about this story is that when the hero actually believes that he is returning to his ordinary world after the Trojan war is over, he is taken to a whole new world of adventures.
5. Probably the one and very important episode is when the hero is offered to make a decision. I am talking about when Odysseus is on Calypso’s island and has to decide and choose between immortality or new unknown adventures on the way back to Ithaca. This episode is like a second threshold that the hero overcomes to start his return for real.

Posted by: strahil s. at September 12, 2008 12:35 PM

Paola Silvestri
ENG 225
Two gods are singled out: Earth and Sun. It is by these two gods that Medea makes Aigeus, king of Athens, promise her refuge in Athens. The chorus also invokes both gods to prevent Medea’s violence against her children. The Sun sends the magic chariot on which Medea makes her escape; not because of justice, but because Medea is his granddaughter.

Gilgamesh’s mother, Ninsun, asks Shamash, god of sun, to keep her son safe during his journey to the Land of Cedars. She offers prayers, invocations, sacrifices, speeches, and practical preparations. While in the Land of Cedars, Gilgamesh made several flour offerings to Shamash.

Posted by: Paola S at September 12, 2008 02:56 PM

In the story of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is mostly raised by wild animals. This is what I consider “The Belly of the Whale”. He roamed with these animals and behaved like one of them. When he met the prostitute, she changed his left and introduced him to civilization. After he hears about Gilgamesh, Enkidu travels to Uruk and challenges him to a fight. Enkidu loses but he gains the respect and friendship of Gilgamesh. This is where Enkidu leaves the belly of the whale.

Posted by: Matthew Chong at September 12, 2008 10:47 PM


*NOTE* The deadline for the assignment above has now passed. Any comments listed below are for a different assignment for a different class.

Image Source: www.watchtheskies.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/joseph-campbell.jpg

12 September 2008

ENG 225 Students only,

Please enter your responses for the activity you were assigned for the Friday Class meeting on September 12th. You were asked to report on your paired-group's in-class response to the stage of the hero's journey you were assigned. The assignment was to apply to the stage your group was assigned, e.g. "apotheosis," or "reconciliation with the father" to one or more of the texts we have read as a class this semester. The length of the response is/was up to you--however long it takes to complete it. I would expect that it would take a few paragraphs (at least) to get in all of this information into one response.

For those of you who AREN'T keeping up with these weekly out-of-class writing assignments, understand that I AM keeping track of those who are doing them and those who aren't. This all counts for your class participation grade, a significant part of your final score for the course.

I look forward to seeing your theories.

Dr. Hobbs
(edited Wednesday, September 12, 2008)


Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at September 13, 2008 09:21 AM

The Meeting with the Goddess is the stage that I used and it was the initiation stage. The work of literature that I found that correspond the best with the meeting with the goddess was Medea. It was very clear that despite the fact that her husband Jason cheated on her with another woman she still had unconditional love for him. I feel like this is the initiation stage because Media’s love for her husband was so strong and powerful before she found out he was cheating on her. However, her love for him remained the same even after her heart was broken. This is a pure example of unconditional love and sacrifices to ones self. It was clear that Medea found the one that she would love for the rest of her life through thick and thin.
I find it very interesting that Medea would still have love for a man that has cheated and slept with another woman while they were still together. Medea could have easily been done with Jason. However, the love that she has for him will never die and will remain in her heart for the rest of time. Unconditional love is one of the hardest things to have for someone. This love has taken complete control over Medea throughout the story.

Posted by: Nichole T. at September 13, 2008 03:50 PM

Alex Slavin

September 13-08

English 225

Professor Hobbs

The refusal of the call and reluctant hero is the part of the hero’s journey I am going to explain. I am going to use the story of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh was the king of his city, made all the decisions, and always got his way. He constantly abused his power using it to the extreme. When he was finally faced with the monster in the woods, his true colors began to appear. Gilgamesh was reluctant to go and fight alone. However, Enkidu was sent to him to help fight the monster. Maybe the gods sent Enkidu to his aid only because Gilgamesh admitted he needed help. When Gilgamesh returned to his kingdom, he had become the type of king that people could only desire. He refused to go in the beginning because of how much pride he thought he had. The obstacles he overcame were life changing and he did change. It is the ending of a story for a creature that was given the chance to make a new beginning.

Posted by: Alex.Slavin at September 13, 2008 09:31 PM

Q-3 Road of trails noah and his road of trails was that he had to build the boat and gather the animals to go on the boat.

Posted by: John Daniel at September 13, 2008 11:53 PM

Anna R.
Engl 225
Dr. Hobbs


The story and part of the story I found comparable to this myth was Noah and the part where he saves himself, his family and a pair of all living things. He gets the opportunity to put himself to the test and carry out god’s wish to build a ship and “save the world”, after god gets tired of us humans and wants to destroy us and the world through a flood. I think this is comparable since Noah takes something back as well, which is the world and life. He proves god wrong and saves all living things and his family.

Posted by: Anna R at September 14, 2008 05:20 PM

Kamille Garness 15/09/08

3. Describe the departure phase in your hero’s journey where the hero seeks supernatural aid.

In the departure phase of Gilgamesh’s journey in “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” Gilgamesh seeks supernatural aid from Shamash, the Sun God, before he sets off on his mission to the cedar forest to destroy the evil there. Gilgamesh asks Shamash for protection from Humbaba, and so Shamash appoints “strong allies for Gilgamesh” and “the great winds: the north wind, the whirlwind, the storm and the icy wind, the tempest and the scorching wind.” (pg. 18). During the course of Gilgamesh’s attack on Humbaba, Gilgamesh uses this supernatural aid to weaken Humbaba as “ the eight winds rose up against Humababa… beat against his eyes…unable to go forward or back.”(pg.23 ).
In addition, in the story of Medea by “Euripides,” Medea sought supernatural aid from two gods- the Sun and the Earth. The Sun god sends the chariot drawn by dragons for Medea after she killed her two sons. The chariot was sent by the Sun god to take Medea to the Athens. Medea also made Aigeus take an oath by swearing “ by the Earth,… holy light of Helios, by all the gods.” (pg. 710). This swearing ensured that Medea would be able to live in Athens, since if Aigeus failed to keep his promise after he found out what Medea’s true intentions were, the gods would try to kill him.

Kamille G
Eng 225 Sec. 1

Posted by: Kamille G at September 14, 2008 06:26 PM

III. Return

Rescue from Without
In the story of Noah needed the assistance of birds to figure out whether or not there was dry land. After the rain and wind died Noah began the recon missions, first with a raven, “and he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.” (pg. 61) Then again with a dove, “and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off:” (pg. 61) Once the dove returns Noah knows that there is now dry ground and the flood is over.

Crossing of the Return Threshold
This begins for Gilgamesh after he visits with Utanpishtim. Utnapshtim’s wife says on page 38, “Touch the man to wake him, so that he mat return to his own land in peace,” Gilgamesh must travel back retaining the knowledge that he has gained, not only from the visit to Utnapishtim but also of Enkidu. And in the end he solidifies his wisdom in stone, “He went a long journey, was weary, worn out with labour, and returning engraved on a stone the whole story.” (pg.40.)

Posted by: Daniel L. at September 14, 2008 06:48 PM

D.J. Garry
Dr. Hobbs
English 225 CA 01
14 September 2008
Monomyth Post Part II
For this exercise, don’t use Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. Use instead, one or all of the texts we have read so far in this course. When you finish finding your group’s stage of the monomyth in one story, move on to another. Discuss quickly and be prepared to share with the rest of class when asked. Pick a new spokesperson who has not yet spoken in class.
In Gilgamesh, Enkidu goes through a typical “belly of the whale” situation. When he and Gilgamesh embark on their journey to destroy Humbaba, Enkidu is hesitant. His fear is stated in the following quote, “What man would willingly walk into that country and explore its depths? I tell you, weakness overpowers whoever goes near it: it is not an equal struggle when one fights Humbaba” (Norton 17). Enkidu is going through a struggle that almost every hero goes through. He was swayed into the journey with Gilgamesh, and he is realizing the depth of the situation that he has gotten in to. He is fearful of Humbaba and is trying to talk some sense into Gilgamesh. This is a prototypical example of the “belly of the whale” situation.

Posted by: David G. at September 14, 2008 10:26 PM

"Meeting with the Goddess"

Medea meets Jason and fell completely in love with him. Her love was so complete that it made his eventual betrayal that much more devastating to her.

Posted by: Jonathan T. at September 14, 2008 11:26 PM

My phase was the crossing of the first threshold. I found that this was displayed in the case of the Story of Noah when he was making the ark. Once he started making it, there was no turning back. He had already had his intervention from a supernatural being and he knew that this was what he had to do. Also, after starting this, it brought him into his special world of the ark and the flood.

Posted by: Matt M. at September 15, 2008 02:07 AM

Dr. Hobbs


September 14

The Monomyth Part 2

The Call to Adventure

The Call to Adventure is usually the first phase of the first stage (Departure) in a hero’s journey. In some stories, there may be more than one possibility to consider. For instance, in The Epic of Gilgamesh the ‘call to adventure’ moment in respect of Gilgamesh as the protagonist is probably his initial meeting and fight with Enkidu. Until that moment, Gilgamesh lives in his “ordinary” world where he is a tyrant over his subjects. Another example will be from The Odyssey where the main hero, Odisseus, king of Ithaca is called upon to go to war against Troy. Until this “draft” for adventure, we clearly see Odisseus living in his ordinary world on Ithaca.

Posted by: Strahil S. at September 15, 2008 02:16 AM

ENG 225 CA01
Group 10
Refusal of the Return
In the story of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh’s refusal of the return is when Enkidu dies. His rival who became his best friend passes away and Gilgamesh refuses to eat, doesn’t want to sleep, and doesn’t want to do anything else. He becomes depressed really, and just about loses the will to live.
In Gilgamesh, Enkidu has a refusal of return as well. The two warriors go to slay the creature Humbaba, but Enkidu starts to have doubts and fears and doesn’t want to fight. Gilgamesh then talks to him and encourages him to go on and fight.
Noah from the book Genesis and Utnapishtim from Gilgamesh have similar refusals of return. They are both on their arks or ships and start to see that the flood is letting up. Each one sends out birds to look for a landing place so that they don’t have to get out in the water. They knew that the rain stopped but they refused to get out of the boat because they weren’t sure if land was uncovered from the water.

Posted by: Quinten J at September 15, 2008 07:29 AM

8. Role of woman as temptress

In the epic of Gilgamesh, if we look at the cycle of the hero from the perspective of Enkidu, we can see early on after his adventure begins (his creation) that he is seduced into humanity by a prostitute. Although this eventually lead to his fulfillment of his destiny, he still was momentarily derailed from his journey as a hero due to losing his wildness and possibly some of his abilities, such as running fast (women weaken legs).

Posted by: JustinW at September 15, 2008 08:58 AM

Myles Godet
September 15, 2008
English 225

Crossing of the Return Threshold- Gilgamesh's return from visiting Utnapishtim pg. 38
Rescue from Without- Noah pg. 61 (about the birds)

Gilgamesh’s return from visiting Utnapishtim is somewhat similar to that of Bilbo’s return home. I say this because in both stories the main characters leave their homelands on a journey and both of them encounter dangers during the course of their journeys. Another similarity is that the hero in both of these stories returns home safely. In the story of Gilgamesh though, when he returns home he does not return with what he set out in search of, which was the knowledge of how to become immortal, but instead returns home empty handed with a well skilled boatman. Therefore I feel as though the crossing of the return threshold phase in both of these stories is very similar because the only thing that any of these heroes return home with is new found knowledge and a tail to tell.
Bilbo and Noah also share a similarity which is that they both are chosen to undertake a quest for the betterment of all. The rescue from without phase in the biblical story of Noah and the Great Flood is when he sends out first the raven and secondly the dove to see if the water had gone down. When he sent out the raven it never returned but instead of taking a chance to and believing the water had dried up he sent out a dove several days later. The dove returned which let Noah know that the water still did not subside; therefore he waited several more days before sending it out again. The second time he sent the dove out it returned with an olive branch which let Noah know that the water level was steadily going down. He sent out the dove one last time after this after which it did not return. This was the indication to Noah that the water had finally gone down, but it wasn’t until God told him to that he opened the doors of the ark. I feel that Noah’s use of the birds showed how he used his knowledge in order to solve a problem.

Posted by: Myles Godet at September 15, 2008 10:40 AM

Walter Perkins
Eng 225
Dr. Hobbs

Who acts as a temptress?

Shamhat from the story Gilgamesh was the temple prostitute and she is an example of a temptress. She tamed Enkidu by seducing him from his natural habitats. Shamhat uses her sexuality to help tame Enkidu and help him convert into a human. Her task was to convert Enkidu from nature into a more civilized creature. She represented the sophisticated and civilized gratifications of lovemaking, food, alcohol, music, clothing, architecture, agriculture and rituals. The creatures from the hated what Shamhat was doing to Enkidu, but this was what Enkidu wanted and Shamhat played the temptress role for him.

Posted by: Walter P at September 15, 2008 11:00 AM

The question that I was assigned today was: What person who took credit for the “Hero’s Journey” diagram? The answer this is question is Joseph Campbell. I really enjoyed learning about this diagram because it is very clear that you can place it to all aspects of your life and certain things such as writing. I thought it was very interesting in class today how you compared the “Hero’s Journey” diagram to writing a paper and all the parts that it is spilt into to.

Posted by: Nichole T. at September 15, 2008 07:15 PM


*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment. ~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at September 16, 2008 08:40 PM

My Blog

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some rights reserved. 2006.