Harry Potter And The Hero's Journey

1439 words - 6 pages

In movies, novels, and life, people are named as heroes. The heroes we establish and the heroes we recognize, however, may not meet the criteria for a mythic hero. A mythic hero ventures forth on his journey, and comes forth from the hero’s path to greatness. Joseph Campbell, a mythologist who studied many of the great human myths and religious tales, realized, in studying these myths and tales, that there were certain steps that every hero went through. Campbell called this “The Hero’s Journey”; it is based on Carl Jung's idea that all human beings have an archetype. After Campbell studied a lot of the great myths and realized this pattern, he published his findings in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Ever since then, authors have used “The Hero’s Journey” as an outline to tell their stories. “It is important to note that not all of these individual steps are present in every hero’s tale, nor is it important that they be in this exact order” (Vogler 20). The Hero with a Thousand Faces gives a sense of significance as it looks into the inner mind and soul. The author, Joseph Campbell, performs two extraordinary accomplishments: compelling his readers that myth and dream, those are the most effective and everlasting forces in life and a unification of mythology and psychoanalysis with a gripping narrative. One well-known example of “The Hero’s Journey” from popular culture is the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling. In the novel, Harry Potter, the main character, is the chosen one and “The Hero’s Journey” applies to his life from the moment he is attacked by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named as a baby.
Joseph Campbell calls the initial phase of a hero’s development the “Call to Adventure.” The call is the instigation to the split between the hero and the life he is accustomed to (Henderson 22). It is the hero’s first contact with the call to partake on the quest and it “signifies that destiny has summoned the hero” (Campbell 58). At the time of the call, the hero has reached a turning point in his life and is looking into the future, expectant for change, “The familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts, ideals, and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for the passing of a threshold is at hand” (Campbell 51). Campbell's theory begins with the letter from Hogwarts. The letter is the first sign of the call to the adventure. The main Call to Adventure “establishes the stakes of the game, and makes clear the hero’s goal” (Vogler 11). The hero has grown tired of their humdrum existence and sees the call as a way to propel their life. Harry gets his call to adventure when letters from Hogwarts are being delivered at his home on Privet Drive. He is dumbfounded when he realizes somebody is trying to contact him. Harry was always treated “as though he wasn’t there - or rather, as though he was something very nasty that couldn’t understand them” (Rowling 20). When he was constantly contacted by the letters,...

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