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Joseph Campbell And The Hero's Journey Paradigm

2421 words - 10 pages

Joseph Campbell is known to be the creator of the Hero’s Journey paradigm. Where an individual leaves the known world to an unfamiliar world.The hero then faces difficulties in the process that make them a stronger individual, learning from their mistakes and becoming well aware of both their ordinary world and unfamiliar world. “Again and again I vowed that someday I would end this hunger of mine, this apartness, this eternal difference; and I did not suspect that I would never get intimately into their lives, that I was doomed to live with them but not of them, that I had my own strange and separate road, a road which in later years would make them wonder how I had come to tread it” (Wright 126). Heroes have to go through a series of obstacles to get where they want to in life. In Richard Wright’s novel Black Boy, we see Richard’s journey from childhood to adulthood as a colored man living in the South. He manages to go to sleep with nothing in his stomach, gets into various arguments with his family and still manages to get himself to the North where the life of a colored man is more bearable.
“The hero is discovered in the ‘ordinary world’ before a call to adventure” (Bancks). In the hero’s journey paradigm the hero begins in what is known as the ‘Ordinary World’ where they are living a normal life but there is something that does not seem right to them. In Black Boy, Richard is not sure in what is normal at a very early age his father abandoned his family, one of his biggest struggles in life was getting food to eat, there were days that they had nothing but water to drink. His mother takes the role of both father and mother, “Half sick and in despair, my mother made the rounds of the charitable institutions, seeking help. She found an orphan home that agreed to assume the guidance of me and my brother provided my mother worked and made small payments. My mother hated to be separated from us, but she had no choice” (Wright 28). Having days that neither of her sons had anything to eat and having little strength to get them any. Her decision is to separate herself from them where they could stay at an actual home and be fed even though it was not an ideal place, there she was sure that they would get something into their stomachs. It is a sacrifice that as a mother she had to make. This recurring obstacle keeps appearing in Richard’s life most days of his life he did not know if there was going to be a meal for supper. Young and naive Richard did not know what was right and wrong and he is unaware that he is living in a time where racism and discrimination is alive. He states, “I felt that the ‘white’ man had had a right to beat the ‘black’ boy, for I naively assumed that the ‘white man must have been the ‘black’ boys father. And did not all fathers, like my father, have the right to beat their children?” (Wright 23). Richard is so innocent to believe that the black boys father is a white man and thought that it is fine that he gets beaten,...

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