Thursday, January 29, 2015

since there's an episode 7 coming along ... we may revisit the foolishness of Campbell's monomyth

Not that Wenatchee The Hatchet is necessarily going to show how stupid the monomyth is right now, in much detail, but the short version is that of the hero's journey added up as a descriptive theme it should account for the wildly divergent strains of the Faust legend in European and American colonial folklore but it doesn't quite do that.

As if that weren't enough, we live in the 21st century after all and there's yet another problematic element of the Campbellian monomyth that could be summed up be a few things from the realm of, of course, gender studies.

The Heroine's Journey
Haley Thurston
In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell says that a hero is “someone who has found or achieved or done something beyond the normal range of achievement and experience. A hero properly is someone who has given his life to something bigger than himself or other than himself.” He goes on to distinguish between physical heroes, those who do deeds, and spiritual heroes, those who “[have] learned or found a mode of experiencing the supernormal range of human spiritual life, and then come back and communicated it.”

This is a grand and beautiful model. And especially when we just leave it at “someone who has achieved something beyond the normal range of achievement and experience,” it works very well for a hero of any gender. But when Campbell gets into the specifics of what counts or is celebrated as an unusual achievement, or how that achievement goes about getting done, I start thinking “well those are pretty unambiguously good achievements, but they’re also pretty male.”

and since it's an article in Ribbon Farm there's so much, much more. :)

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