Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review #11

(I found this image here)

This post is related to Mythical Mondays by Dewi (All of the Animals). I really like that she shares mythical stories every Monday because I am a huge fan of mythology and folklore. She asked for a recommendation by Joseph Campbell, so that is why this book review is about The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Before I begin, be aware that this book was written in the 40s, so it is not exactly politically correct (ie use of the term primitive and such that is frowned upon now and the absence of some world mythology). Given that, there is still a lot of great stuff in this book as well as a large collection of stories from around the world. This book presents the idea that there is a pattern in mythologies from around the world that are based around a hero's journey. Campbell even makes a map the shows the flow of the hero's journey which is basically something like this:

(I found this image here)

One of the more famous uses of the hero's journey is Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, but it is a formula you can apply to pretty much any hero in an adventure or mythological story. Campbell is really into finding patterns from mythologies around the world and writes about mythologies throughout the ages and their connections in The Masks of God. It is a set of 4 books, and I've made it through 2. It can get kind of dry sometimes, and I don't always agree with the idea that every culture's mythology can be thrown in a basket of connections, but it is a great body of work and has a lot of information if you're interested.

So there you have it. You can write your own story using the hero's adventure formula, apply it to real life stories, disagree with it, or do what you wish with it. Can you apply it to photography? I think so. I did a short photographic story on a hero's descent into evil, which you can see here. I didn't exactly follow the hero's journey, but the idea is still there.

2 comments:

Dewi said...

Thank you so much for mentioning me! I feel really special now ^^ It turns out I actually have to read part of this book for my mythology class :D

Let It Be Raw said...

Oh great! I thought you might stumble upon Campbell in the class. He's a pretty cool dude.

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