College of Arts and Sciences
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
In traditional fantasy novels, as established with J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings, the main character embarks on a heroic journey. As defined by Joseph Campbell, who was the author, editor and translator of books on mythology such as The Hero with a Thousand Faces a heroic journey is an epic quest that leads the hero physically to an internal rebirth. Within Campbell‘s study of the monomyth, using those conventions outlined by Campbell, I will show how Tolkien elements uses Campbell‘s conventions in Middle Earth, where a simple young hobbit ends up saving his world. In traditional fantasy, the stories most often follow patterns of myth very closely. An average human becomes a larger-than life hero by surviving a series of deadly challenges set against him by fellow humans or by God-like enemies. Two more recent fantasy novels, McKillip‘s The Changeling Sea and Sagara‘s Cast in Shadow, also use the monomyth as the frame for their novels. However, the two more recent novels focus more on the internal journey of their heroines. These two novels reflect a trend in fantasy novels in which the internal journey is privileged over the outer physical journey. These two novels are examples of modern fantasy‘s reinterpretation of the traditional monomyth which promises larger than life adventures and heroes. Modern fantasy novels often establish a more subdued realm of adventure and escape. With the hero‘s role minimized, the fantasy hero‘s journey takes on other dimensions in relation to Campbell‘s discussion of modern literature. Though as writers, including myself, break off from tradition and attempt to draw the fantastical journey of characters into literary realms of self-study, it is imperative that due be given to the roots of myth, which continue to support the frame of monomyths and the heroic journey.
M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.
Fantasy fiction, American
v, 109 leaves
Miller, Rebecca W., "Starkin" (2010). Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.