Chapter 15

The Hero with a Thousand Faces: The book by Joseph Campbell, discussed by Dave Whomsley

This chapter represents the beginning of Part 3, "Heroes and Tricksters." Found just before this chapter, the introduction to this part can help orient you with respect to what you can learn from the upcoming series of chapters.

Joseph Campbell, a well-known teacher of mythology, devoted his life to understanding various aspects of the stories we tell, both in traditional tales and in popular culture. He saw these stories as directly relevant to all of us. In his view, all humans are involved in a struggle to accomplish the adventure of the hero in their own lives. The reading in this chapter gives you an account of Campbell's ideas in his most widely influential book.

As you read this chapter, you may be surprised to find that there are many theories dealing with the meaning of the hero's journey, especially in the field of psychology. We present Campbell's outline of this journey with the expectation that it will help you organize and compare the various stories you study throughout this book and beyond. (Other organizational principles for use in comparison are discussed in Chapters 17, 22, 33, 34, 35, 36, and 39.)

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