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The Hero's Journey

Rating: 3 stars
Used in Course: Not used in course
Submitted by: Mary Magoulick (Faculty), Feb 04, 2002
Comment: I have studied and taught this subject for years (in fact I have a PhD in
folklore). So although I only spent 15 minutes perusing the site and have not
actually used it for a class, I am familiar enough with the material and similar

This site allows students to get familiarized with the idea of heroic quest
stories and to read both classic examples of such stories and those written by
other students (a good idea). It's a well-designed site with nice graphics
easy-to-use links. My problem with it is that it is all based on Joseph
Campbell's ideas about the hero. And Campbell was not a very good scholar of
folklore because he usually uses only PARTS of stories, completely extracted
from their contexts, to prove his pre-existing theories. He also completely
ignores other scholarship (in print) from his own time on the same subject.
These are two definitions of bad scholarship. Also, his information and
assumptions are sometimes inaccurate, or at the very least incomplete and

Nonetheless, Campbell clearly appeals to many people and is often responsible
for getting them excited about studying myth. So it is good to have familiarity
with his work (just not to rely solely on it0. And as I said, I do like the idea
of reading contemporary versions of the hero stories (written by students) that
this web site includes. I often incorporate similar assignments and find them
very effective, but haven't included students' stories on my website. That
element of this site is nice.

If I were to use this website for my hero's quest class, I would simply have to
really emphasize what is good and BAD about Campbel and be sure my students also
understand and are accountable for the many other ideas of the hero and myth
generally. I have a website that does some of this: (go to the heroic patterns
link for instance).

Technical Remarks:

Technically the website seems well-designed and efficient.