Mythical Literary Heroes Analytical Essay by scribbler

Looks at the enduring and universal qualities of mythical literary heroes.
# 152429 | 1,470 words | 6 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on Feb 10, 2013 in Literature (Children) , Literature (Mythology)

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This paper first explains that mythical literary heroes have appealed to readers across many different cultures and over many different eras in history because they exemplify the deepest and most vastly revered ideals of human behavior, without extending too far beyond the constraints of of humans capability. Next, the author reviews the concept of mythical literary heroes in the the fairy tales, Charles Perrault's "Cinderella" or The Glass Slipper" and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's "Snow White". The paper concludes that the fictional hero provides inspiration for a moral ideal that, in reality, can be attained despite the bane of obstacles and imperfections.

From the Paper:

"The heroine in the Brother' Grimm's "Snow White" also adheres to the stages of the hero's journey outlined by Campbell, although the connection is less clear cut than in the Cinderella tale. Although Snow White follows many of the plot points outlined in A Hero With a Thousand Faces, the tale seems more directly in line with Campbell's conjectures in Myths to Live By, that myths provide cultural narratives of heroic quests, delineating moves from ignorance to maturity and knowingness. Snow White is on a journey of knowledge more than she is on a journey of adventure, as she begins the story absurdly naive and through her experience, she matures and begins to see the world as it really is. In fact, Campbell purports that myth is just as real as human concerns are real. It is when one loses his ability to "feel the mythic" that he loses contact with that which is most basically and universally human.
"Interestingly, the Grimm Brothers also wrote a version of Cinderella which does not adhere nearly as much to Campbell's formula as Perrault's version does. In the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella, Ashputtle, the heroine is more self-reliant than in the Perrault version."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Browne, Pat. Heroines of Popular Culture, New York: Popular Press, 1987. Print.
  • Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. New York: Princeton, 1968. Print.
  • Campbell Joseph, Myths to Live By, New York: Viking Press, 1972. Print
  • Friedman, Maurice. "Why Joseph Campbell's Psychologizing of Myth Precludes the Holocaust as Touchstone of Reality." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 66 (1998): 385-401.
  • Frye, Northrop, in "The Archetypes of Literature" in Fables of Identity: Studies in Poetic Mythology, New York: Harbinger Books, 1963. Print.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

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