Tracing the Monomyth Archetype:

Film/Novel Analysis & Personal Narrative Hybrid Essay

Beowulf Writing Extension

Unit 1: Anglo-Saxon Summative Assessment (100 pts.)

Due: Friday, 02/10 by 11:59 PM

Learning Target: I can trace the Monomyth/Hero’s Journey archetype within a film/novel and my life.

Background: According to the seminal writings of world-renowned mythology expert Joseph Campbell, we are all the heroes of our own stories. Campbell dedicated his life to studying the world’s greatest myths, religions, and stories— from all eras and time frames, across all cultures and languages. He extrapolated their elements and discovered a universal pattern embedded in every story. He coined this one common thread as the Monomyth (one myth) or Hero’s Journey, and it is the most famous narrative archetype.

Task: Using MLA format, you will write a four-paragraph hybrid essay in which you consider how the Monomyth/Hero’s Journey archetype reveals itself in one of your favorite films/novels AND within your own life. You may NOT use Beowulf. You must develop a common theme between the film/novel and your life.


· and

Essay Outline:

I. Introduction Paragraph

A. Hook

B. Overview of Monomyth/Hero’s Journey Archetype

C. Relevant Background on Film/Novel and Your Life

D. Thesis with Theme Statement (as the last line of a paragraph)


II. Film/novel Analysis Paragraph (tracing the Monomyth/Hero’s Journey archetype within one of your favorite films/novels with specific examples)

A. Topic Sentence

B. Film/Novel Hero’s Separation

C. Film/Novel Hero’s Initiation & Transformation

D. Film/Novel Hero’s Return


III. Personal Narrative Paragraph (tracing the Monomyth/Hero’s Journey archetype within YOUR OWN LIFE with specific examples)

A. Topic Sentence that Bridges From Film/Novel Analysis Paragraph

B. Your Separation

C. Your Initiation & Transformation

D. Your Return


IV. Conclusion Paragraph

A. Theme (connecting back to thesis and theme)

B. Full-Circle Ending (connecting black to hook)


V. Works Cited (film/novel citation on a separate page) * See .

List films by their title. Include the director's name, the film studio or distributor, and the release year.

Speed Racer. Directed by Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski, Warner Brothers, 2008.

The Monomyth/Hero’s Journey Archetype Explanation

The Separation

A. The Call: Something, or someone, interrupts the hero’s everyday life to present a problem, threat, or opportunity.

Guided Question

· What inciting incident initiates the call to adventure?

B. The Threshold: The hero crosses the point of no return and embarks upon the quest.

Guided Questions

· Are there guardians, helpers, or mentors who offer tools and inspiration?

· Are there people or situations that initially block passage into the unknown?

Initiation & Transformation

A. The Challenges: The hero begins a journey into the unknown and must go through a series of tests or ordeals.

Guided Questions

· What specific challenges or temptations exist?

· Are they physical or mental in their nature?

· How do the challenges illuminate specific weaknesses or fears?

B. The Abyss: The hero faces a “monster” that is either literal or figurative.

Guided Questions

· What is the greatest challenge of the journey (the “monster”)?

· What are personal weaknesses or fears?

· How is the monster eventually defeated?

C. The Transformation: Having overcome weaknesses and fears, the hero experiences a symbolic death to the old self and rebirth of a new self.

Guided Questions

· How are the personal weaknesses or fears overcome?

· Which aspects of self die and are reborn? (For example: Fear dies so that courage can be born; ignorance dies so that enlightenment can be born; dependency dies so that independence and power can be born.)

D. The Revelation: Ultimately, the hero is changed for the better.

Guided Question

· What mindsets or worldviews are changed as a result of the initiation and transformation?

E. The Atonement: The hero is at one with himself/herself, having gained new gifts such as experience, wisdom, growth, independence, etc.

Guided Question

· How is there harmony and resolution to the initial call to adventure?

· What “gifts” have been gained?

The Return: The hero returns home and uses newly acquired gifts to benefit society/community/mentee/larger structure.

Guided Question

· How will the newly acquired gifts benefit a larger structure (family, society, career, etc.)?


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