Friday, April 11, 2008

Monomyth and Archetypes

Thursday in class we hit on a few common elements of the Hero's Journey seen in A Beautiful Mind. I thought of a few more showcased in the scenes we watched. The man who tells Nash that he has fallen behind his peers who have been attending class and publishing papers (dean/department head/adviser?) seems to take the role of a Threshold Guardian.

Nash's imagined roommate Charles could be the Herald which announces the beginning of the adventure. It's with the introduction of Charles that Nash's character begins to differentiate himself as unusual, interesting, and he is the first symptom of Nash's schizophrenia. In fact while we're on Charles, it's interesting to note that he plays several roles. At times when Nash isn't terribly interesting, he keeps the action going, in this way he is also the Trickster.

The Hero's Journey is based around 3 major steps: Departure, Initiation, and Return in which a character experiences a type of adventure that takes them out of their usual world, physically or not, eventually to return a more knowledgeable and masterful person. John Nash's Return ends with him supposedly the Master of Two Worlds, the delusional and the verifiable.

This website contains an outline of the Hero's Journey as written in Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces. This website explains the roles of the Hero, Mentor, Threshold Guardian, Herald, Trickster, Shadow and Shape shifter archetypes (also according to Campbell). These are not comprehensive studies on archetypes or the Hero's Journey though. The circle diagram is the version I'm more familiar with; it goes along the lines of: Ordinary World, Call to Adventure, Refusal of Call, Meeting the Mentor, Crossing the Threshold, Tests Allies Enemies, Approach to the Inmost Cave, The Ordeal, Receiving the Reward, The Road Back, Resurrection, Return with the Elixir. At least that's another way of explaining basically the same story.

4 comments:

Blackout said...

I know there is a path that heroes tend to follow in literature, but I'm not very familiar with the Hero's Journey archetypes. What are these from?

Alyssa said...

For one they're from a high school English class. I think the Hero's Journey has huge emphasis on the word "Hero," it would probably be beneficial to think of Romantic fictions or other quest based stories. My understanding is that its the study of common ways with which in a common man, through the telling of a story is made out to be an uncommon hero.

Alyssa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alyssa said...

For one they're from a high school English class. I think the Hero's Journey has huge emphasis on the word "Hero," it would probably be beneficial to think of Romantic fictions or other quest based stories. My understanding is that its the study of common ways with which in a common man, through the telling of a story is made out to be an uncommon hero.