9A: Joseph Campbell and the monomyth

To help you out with your stories we looked at Joseph Campbell’s monomyth — the idea that throughout time and cultures, all heroes (with super powers or no) all go on similar heroic journeys. Shorter version: Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, Odysseus and even you all go through the same stages of a heroic journey.

Here are Campbell’s own words about each stage: Monomyth shorter quotes. Check with students in class to to get more details from their notes.

If your story is a little short, or you’re not sure what your character should do next, check with the monomyth. What would another hero in another story do?

And here’s a helpful video that illustrates all that:

Freshman B: Day two of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth

Today we took the Monomyth wheel we created yesterday and got to know each stage better. With a small group your task was to create and present a chart paper synopsis of some of the stages. You were asked to 1) Use Campbell’s own words to describe what happens at that stage 2) Put it in your own words and 3) come up with some examples of that stage from stories we know.

In case you need them, here are the stages of Campbell’s Monomyth:

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Freshman B: The Monomyth

So, we’ve learned about myths, folktales and legends over the past week. Today we talked about a guy named Joseph Campbell who read thousands of these and came up with a pretty cool idea about them.

We started class journaling to this:

Think of a character from a book/movie/tv show/real life and describe what happened to them or what they did. Basically, tell their story from beginning to end.

We put a whole bunch of names on the board. People like Naurito, Wendy Wu, Alex Rider, the Incredibles, Sponge Bob, Wonder Woman, Superman, Johnny Blaze/Ghostrider. What do they all have in common? They all go through similar stages of their adventures.

According to Joseph Campbell, the author of the book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, almost every hero from every country of any time period follows the same 16 stages of a journey, starting with their “call to adventure” and ending as “masters of two worlds.” This idea was called the “monomyth” – or, in other words, “one story.”

In class today we tried to put these 16 stages in order using only the words Campbell (and a couple of his peers) wrote to describe them. We wrote it on this sheet: Monomyth wheel. Keep it because it’ll come in handy. We’ll go over the steps in more detail tomorrow. Each 16 steps are detailed below:

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Freshman A: what is a folk tale (and how is folklore different from mythology?)

After yesterday’s class on mythology, today we looked at folk tales.

First we looked at the following two quotes and journaled to the following question:

The folktale “tends to absorb something of the place where it is narrated – a landscape, a custom, a moral outlook, or else merely a very faint accent or flavor of that locality.”
-Italo Calvino

“Folktales from the oral tradition carry with them the thumbprints of history. Each place, each culture, each teller leaves a mark.”
-Jane Yolen Favorite Folktales From Around the World

Based on these quotes, what can you infer (guess) about folktales? How do folktales (also known as “folklore”) differ from myths or mythology? Can you identify any famous American folktales or folk heroes?

In groups we read two stories (like this one) while we filled this out:

What do you notice about…
-The Characters:
-The setting (the time and place where the action happens):
-Themes:
-Is there a moral to the story?
-Does this story remind you of another one?
-Anything else you noticed?

This was turned in to Mr. Shulkin/Ms. Gummoe.

We finished class talking about how these folktales represented the culture they originated from and why some cultures have very similar folk tales or folk heroes.

 

Freshman B: what is a folk tale (and how is folklore different from mythology?)

After yesterday’s class on mythology, today we looked at folk tales.

First we looked at the following two quotes and journaled to the following question:

The folktale “tends to absorb something of the place where it is narrated – a landscape, a custom, a moral outlook, or else merely a very faint accent or flavor of that locality.”
-Italo Calvino

“Folktales from the oral tradition carry with them the thumbprints of history. Each place, each culture, each teller leaves a mark.”
-Jane Yolen Favorite Folktales From Around the World

Based on these quotes, what can you infer (guess) about folktales? How do folktales (also known as “folklore”) differ from myths or mythology? Can you identify any famous American folktales or folk heroes?

In groups we read two stories (like this one) while we filled this out:

What do you notice about…
-The Characters:
-The setting (the time and place where the action happens):
-Themes:
-Is there a moral to the story?
-Does this story remind you of another one?
-Anything else you noticed?

This was turned in to Mr. Shulkin/Ms. Gummoe.

We finished class talking about how these folktales represented the culture they originated from and why some cultures have very similar folk tales or folk heroes.

Your summer reading was also due today.

Freshmen: Why do we tell stories?, Study of Apparent Behavior

Today we wanted to answer the question why do people tell stories?

We started off with me showing you a short video. After watching it two or three times, you wrote down your answer to the question “What happened in the picture?”

After we discussed what we wrote, I had you flip over the sheet of paper and you watched the same video, this time answering nine very specific questions:

1) What kind of person is the big triangle?
2) What kind of person is the small triangle?
3) What kind of person is the circle?
4) At one point the big triangle and the circle were together inside the box. What was the big triangle doing?
5) Why did the circle go into the house?
6) In one part of the picture, the big triangle and
the circle were in the house together. What did the big triangle do then? Why?
7) What did the circle do when it was in the house with the big triangle?
8) In one part of the picture the big triangle was
shut up in the house and tried to get out. What did the little triangle and the circle do then?
9) Why did the big triangle break the house?
 
After we discussed our answers with each other I gave some background about why we did this. This movie and these questions came from a 1944 psychology study called “The Study of Apparent Behavior,” which showed that most people who watch this movie came up with stories to explain the shapes’ movements, rather than using plain geometric terms. As a class we talked about why this could be, journaling to the question “Why do we tell stories?”

After some brief talking we looked at the beginning of the article “The Art of Immersion: Why Do We Tell Stories.”

We ended class writing to the question “Can you think of a story you know that was told to help us make sense of the world around us, or a story that is/was told to pass on knowledge or an understanding about the world?”