I think Greek mythology is what I'm mostly into, although this is probably just because I don't know that much about all the other mythologies out there. I wish I knew more about Norse mythology, because what I've read so far is really interesting stuff. I've got a translation of the poetic Edda lying around somewhere - perhaps I should finally start reading it.
I read about about the Japanese creation story once. Thought it was pretty messed up, but that was just the European speaking who had never learned anything about non-European mythologies.
Also, I'm familiar with Joseph Campbell's theory of the monomyth that Cascador mentioned. I wrote a term paper about it a couple of years ago, and tried to apply it to Star Wars (which worked quite fine, because George Lucas based much of what he created on Campbell's theories). Haven't read anything from Bill Curran, though.
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The monomyth theory is also known as the hero's journey. The hero goes through certain phases on his journey. The first one is mostly known as 'The Call to adventure'. They happen often in a certain order, though not every story holds itself to that and not every hero goes through the same phases or all phases for that matter.
There's also the heroine's journey. It was actually created because Campbell mostly spoke of males when it came to the hero's journey. But of course he did it because he could only give his best insight in this, because he was male himself. And why the hero's journey was created in the first place. A good book to find more about the heroine's journey is 'From Girl to Goddess'.
Well they are very similar to each other, just with differences that relate more to females in mythology. To bring up a difference is that in mythology when it comes to the hero's journey, the absent father is good, the present father is bad. The perfect example being Anakin/Darth Vader. But if you think of other heroes who don't have fathers... Jesus? But with females it's different. A lot of heroes both male and female grow up parentless. But with females fathers have a different role. He mostly is useless or he's the one getting her into trouble in the first place. But what is more important is the mother figure. Mostly she dies, but then you have another mother figure who is evil. If you look at snow white, this is an example where the mother figure is evil. Cinderella is motherless, but does have an evil step-mother.
Last Edit: Apr 27, 2014 12:19:23 GMT -6 by Cascador
Hmm, I don't see why the heroine's journey would need to be different than the hero's journey.
The reason the heroine's journey is different from the hero's is because men and women are different. The modern era has this confusion that to be feminist is to be like a man, whereas that's actually the exact opposite of feminism and is demeaning and undermining what it is to be a strong woman. Men and women may be of the same species, but we are not alike in our souls, in our thinking, in our deep dreams and desires, we are made for different purposes, and so, our journeys are also different.
A lot of people criticize the monomyth of the hero's journey as being sexist because of the role of the feminine in it, but they miss the point entirely. The hero's journey is made from a male's perspective, and so the female role in that is often a prize to be won. This isn't sexist towards the female of the tale, because ultimately it is the hero that has to prove himself to her, and therein lies the difference between the hero's and heroine's journeys.... Men need to prove themselves to the world and to women.... Women do not need to prove themselves to anyone. The heroine's journey is about unlocking what is already there, what is sleeping and needs to be awakened (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty etc). Realizing their potential, what they are, and there's a reason for this. A woman becomes a woman through the forces of nature; one day she is a child, then the next day she wakes up, sees blood and she realizes; she's now a woman. Men do not have this. While hair might grow in new places, voices may deepen etc, their attitudes can remain childlike and in older cultures (and still throughout the world) it was the job of those around them to 'force' boys into becoming men and realizing they are grown individuals and need to be of value to their people.
This is where the circumcision comes into play. It was always, always intended to be an act that occurs when a boy is around 13 or 14 years old (it is a relatively new thing that it is now performed when the boy is an infant and therefore remembers nothing of it, thusly missing the point of it's original intent), and in many cultures this is still performed. While we might look at this as cruel and savage, there is a purpose to it in that culture. As a girl realizes she is a woman through her first period, through blood, boys are forced to experience the same kind of awakening, also with blood. Circumcision was there to remind them, you are no longer boys, you are men, your body is different now, and the pain is intended as a reminder of that day. Circumcision is used still in many stories for moments of realization and 'growing up' with heroes. Severing of the past.... Luke Skywalker losing his hand when he finds out Darth Vader is his father, or even in Game of Thrones, (Season 3 spoiler)
Jaime losing his hand just after being told "you're nothing without your daddy, and your daddy ain't here.... Never forget that."
etc.... It's the same purpose; then and now, past and present, child and adult. It's about cutting away the past, and therefore your former/ childlike self, and becoming a man.
Women don't have this ordeal, they don't have to go on a quest to become a woman, nature decides when it's time, and this is why women are always so associated with the Earth. Mother Earth, etc, their nature is the same as the Earth itself, and that is why women were always a force to be protected, because women are the key to life itself. The heroine's journey is more intuitive than men's, more about seeing themselves for what they are (hence the use of mirrors in so many tales). They might still go on grand journeys, they may even slay dragons, but it will never be in the same way, or mean the same thing as the hero's tale reflects. The unfortunate thing is that there is a lot of information about the hero's journey, it is the subject that has been discussed the most, and not as much about heroine's, but they are out there. Sorry if I'm waffling, it's a subject I'm very much interested in and read a great deal about lol Anything myth and I'm all over it
Last Edit: May 6, 2014 10:24:01 GMT -6 by Liv the Librarian: Super GoT spoiler that I missed for ages >_>
Post by Stardancer on Apr 27, 2014 20:55:59 GMT -6
Anything by Joseph Campbell, for starts. He's famous for the monomyth as someone else on this thread already pointed out, but his work went far beyond that. He was amazing. I started with "The Hero with a Thousand Faces", that's the one that really put him on the map. "The Power of Myth" which he did with Bill Moyers is also excellent and delves into several areas, they actually filmed their discussions in 6 one hour interviews, also brilliant, but there's a book to go with that which is a good stepping stone. After that, "Myths to Live By", "Pathways to Bliss", "Thou Art That", "The Inner Reaches of Outer Space", "The Masks of God" (4 huge books in total, covering the Primitive, Occidental, Oriental and Creative mythologies). Basically, anything with Joseph Campbell lol
And other than him, I'm right now reading a book by Clarissa Pinkola Estés called "Women Who Run With The Wolves", and that is about the feminine aspect of myth. I've read several 'heroine's journeys' books that have been nothing but rubbish or filled with man hating vibes etc, which I hated, but I read bits and pieces of Clarissa's work and I was impressed, and encouraged to buy this book. Well worth it so far! The first truly in depth look at the inner life and turmoils of women that I found myself nodding to. This is correct lol Last time that happened was when I read Joseph Campbell. I have a few more of her books on standby to read once I've finished this one, and I think I'll be wanting to get them all at this rate lol
Another book to check out is "From Girl to Goddess" by Valerie Estelle Frankel, I don't agree with everything she said but still the stories within there and the range she speaks about is fantastic. I did read this before reading Clarissa's work though, and Clarissa's is vastly superior in content, but it's still worth a look.
Wow... great posts in this thread! I think your point is very valid Stardancer. Too often in western culture we have the idea that women need to be like men in order to be worthy of respect. Frankly, I think that's ridiculous. It's sooo interesting to see that myths from all over the world don't reflect that idea. Ancient people had a lot of wisdom that the modern world has forgotten. That's such a shame really.
I think the Greek myths are my favourite too, though I do like the ones from the British isles a lot as well.
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I just love all the different Gods in Egypt, and how much animals are incorporated into it. Most of their Gods were half human half animal which I thought was cool. But I'm pretty interested in all mythology.
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