Hero Myths Hero Myths contain the goals and virtues of an entire nation or culture; they are conveyed through the quest and adventures of a legendary figure who is stronger, smarter, and more courageous than most other people. • With few exceptions, mythological heroes are usually male • Heroes often have an obscure, mysterious, or partially divine origin • Heroes are neither fools nor are they invincible • Heroes are called upon to make a journey or to follow a goal or quest • The hero’s way is not always direct or clear to him
The Hero’s Quest The hero undertakes some long journey during which he must perform impossible tasks, battle with monsters, solve unanswerable riddles, and overcome insurmountable obstacles in order to save the kingdom, marry the princess, or regain what has been stolen or lost. • Many quest tales supply friends, servants, or disciples as company for the hero • The hero has a guide or guides • What the hero seeks is usually no more than a symbol of what he really finds
The Hero’s Initiation The hero undergoes a series of excruciating ordeals in passing from ignorance and immaturity to social and spiritual adulthood, that is, achieving maturity and becoming a full-fledged member of his social group • The initiation consists of (1) separation, (2) transformation, and (3) return • The hero descends into darkness (literally and figuratively) and is not the same after re-emerging from that darkness
The Heroic Journey Birth/Home Call to Adventure Elixir Helpers/Amulet Crossing the Threshold Return Tests Flight Helpers Climax/Final Battle
Birth Fabulous circumstances surrounding conception, birth, and childhood establish the hero's background and often constitute their own myth.
Call to Adventure The hero is called to adventure by some external event or messenger. The hero may accept the call willingly or reluctantly.
Helpers/Amulet During the early stages of the journey, the hero will often receive aid from a protective figure. This supernatural helper can take a wide variety of forms, such as a wizard, and old man, a dwarf, a crone, or a fairy godmother. The helper commonly gives the hero a protective amulet or weapon for the journey.
Crossing the Threshold Upon reaching the threshold of adventure, the hero must undergo some sort of ordeal in order to pass from the everyday world into the world of adventure. This trial may be as painless as entering a dark cave or as violent as being swallowed up by a whale. The important feature is the contrast between the familiar world of light and the dark, unknown world of adventure.
Tests The hero travels through the dream-like world of adventure where he must undergo a series of tests. These trials are often violent encounters with monsters, sorcerers, warriors, or forces of nature. Each successful test further proves the hero's ability and advances the journey toward its climax.
Helpers The hero is often accompanied on the journey by a helper who assists in the series of tests and generally serves as a loyal companion. Alternately, the hero may encounter a supernatural helper in the world of adventure who fulfills this function.
Climax/Final Battle This is the critical moment in the hero's journey in which there is often a final battle with a monster, wizard, or warrior which facilitates the particular resolution of the adventure.
Flight After accomplishing the mission, the hero must return to the threshold of adventure and prepare for a return to the everyday world. If the hero has angered the opposing forces by stealing the elixir or killing a powerful monster, the return may take the form of a hasty flight. If the hero has been given the elixir freely, the flight may be a benign stage of the journey
Return The hero again crosses the threshold of adventure and returns to the everyday world of daylight. The return usually takes the form of an awakening, rebirth, resurrection, or a simple emergence from a cave or forest. Sometimes the hero is pulled out of the adventure world by a force from the daylight world.
Elixir The object, knowledge, or blessing that the hero acquired during the adventure is now put to use in the everyday world. Often it has a restorative or healing function, but it also serves to define the hero's role in the society.
Home • “ A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder; fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won; the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” • Joseph Campbell • The Hero With a Thousand Faces, p. 30
THE WHALE RIDER Published in 1987 – adolescent literature book from New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera Film- released in 2002 Director: Niki Caro The Whale Rider is a film about indigenous people and the struggles that they can face to preserve their traditional way of life
The movie's plot follows the story of Paikea Apirana ("Pai") at the age of 12 who is the only living child in the line of the tribe's chiefly succession because of the death of her twin brother and mother during childbirth. By tradition, the leader should be the first-born son — a direct patrilineal descendant of Paikea, the Whale Rider — he who rode atop a whale from Hawaiki. However, Pai is female and technically cannot inherit the leadership.
Koro, the current chief and a man deeply rooted in his cultural beliefs, refuses to accept that his granddaughter, Paikea (also called Pai in the film) could be the next natural descendant. He instead starts a sacred school of learning to teach the town's young boys in the old ways, with the aim of identifying the new chief.
Major Character names to know: Pai (Paikea)- protagonist Koro- her grandfather Nanny Flowers- her grandmother Porourangi- her father Uncle Rawiri- her uncle Hemi- a friend of Pai who is in line to be the next “chosen” chief
Your Task As you watch the film, document evidence of the Hero’s Journey and the Hero Archetype. Document any symbols, allegories, or archetypes that you may see. Upon completion of the film, you will write an essay comparing “The Whale Rider” and The Alchemist to a minimum of three elements of the Hero’s Journey. Due November 17th via email to email@example.com