Summary[ edit ] Campbell explores the theory that mythological narratives frequently share a fundamental structure. The similarities of these myths brought Campbell to write his book in which he details the structure of the monomyth. In a well-known quote from the introduction to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell summarizes the monomyth: A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder:
It's certainly true that the book is having a major impact on writing and story-telling, but above all on movie-making. The ideas in the book are an excellent set of analytical tools.
With them you can compose a story to meet any situation, a story that will be dramatic, entertaining, and psychologically true. With them you can always determine what's wrong with a story that's floundering, and you can find a better solution to almost any story problem by examining the pattern laid out in the book.
The hero with a thousand faces nothing new in the book. The ideas in it are older than the Pyramids, older than Stonehenge, older than the earliest cave painting. Campbell's contribution was to gather the ideas together, recognize them, articulate them, name them. He exposed the pattern for the first time, the pattern that lies behind every story ever told.
Campbell is a mythographer -- he writes about myths. The book is based on Jung's idea of the "Archetypes" constantly repeating characters who occur in the dreams of all people and the myths of all cultures.
Jung believed that these archetypes are reflections of the human mind -- that our minds divide themselves into these characters to play out the drama of our lives.
The repeating characters of the hero myth, such as the young hero, the wise old man, the shape-shifting woman, and the shadowy nemesis, are identical with the archetypes of the human mind, as shown in dreams.
That's why myths, and stories constructed on the mythological model, are always psychologically true. Such stories are true models of the workings of the human mind, true maps of the psyche.
They are psychologically valid and realistic even when they portray fantastic, impossible, unreal events. This accounts for the universal power of such stories. They deal with universal questions like "Why was I born?
They are a great key to life as well as being a major tool for dealing more effectively with a mass audience.
Christ, Hitler, Mohammed, and Buddha all understood the principles in the book and applied them to influence millions. It's an experience that has a way of changing people.
It's also a good idea to read a lot of myths, but it amounts to the same thing since Campbell spends most of the book illustrating his point by re-telling old myths.
Campbell gives a condensed version of the hero myth on p. However, since he uses some specialized technical terms that require going back to his examples in earlier chapters to find out what he's talking about, I've taken the liberty of amending his outline slightly, re-telling the hero myth in my own way.
Feel free to do the same. Every story-teller bends the myth to his own purpose. Most stories take place in a special world, a world that is new and alien to its hero. If you're going to tell a story about a fish out of his customary element, you first have to create a contrast by showing him in his mundane, ordinary world.
In WITNESS you see both the Amish boy and the policeman in their ordinary worlds before they are thrust into alien worlds -- the farmboy into the city, and the city cop into the unfamiliar countryside.
The hero is presented with a problem, challenge, or adventure. Maybe the land is dying, as in the Arthur stories about the search for the Holy Grail. In detective stories, it's the hero accepting a new case. Often at this point, the hero balks at the threshold of adventure. After all, he or she is facing the greatest of all fears -- fear of the unknown.
At this point Luke refuses Obi Wan's call to adventure, and returns to his aunt and uncle's farmhouse, only to find they have been barbqued by the Emperor's stormtroopers.
Suddenly Luke is no longer reluctant, and is eager to undertake the adventure. By this time many stories will have introduced a Merlin-like character who is the hero's mentor.
The mentor gives advice and sometimes magical weapons.The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. Home / Literature / The Hero with a Thousand Faces / Brief Summary ; The hero must atone with his father, or convenient father figure in most cases, which involves claiming the father's place in the world.
With the completion of the quest comes the realization that the hero is a part of a. Since its release in , The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell's revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology.
In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero's Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs 4/5(18). Since its release in , The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology.
In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of /5. From behind a thousand faces the single hero looks out, archetype of all human myth. "Campbell's words carry extraordinary weight, not only among scholars but a wide range of other people who find his search down mythical pathways relevant to their lives today.".
Reading The Hero With a Thousand Faces came at the perfect time for me. I’d heard of it and seen it recommended to me on Amazon for quite some time, but I never took the time to actually read it. Actually, I “Wikipedia’d” it a few times, but that was the extent of that/5(). “In the three decades since I discovered The Hero with a Thousand Faces, it has continued to fascinate and inspire me.
Joseph Campbell peers through centuries and shows us that we are all connected by a basic need to /5().