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Activity Overview




Related to both plot diagram and types of literary conflict, the "Hero’s Journey" is a recurring pattern of stages many heroes undergo over the course of their stories. Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer, and lecturer, articulated this cycle after researching and reviewing numerous myths and stories from a variety of time periods and regions of the world. He found that they all share fundamental principles. This spawned the Hero’s Journey, also known as the Monomyth. The most fundamental version has 12 steps, while more detailed versions can have up to 17.

Odysseus Hero's Journey Example

Stage Summary
Ordinary world King Odysseus is at home, in Ithaca, with his wife, Penelope, and newborn son, Telemachus.
Call to Adventure He sets out for a battle at Troy
Refusal He does not want to leave his family and sail to Troy; he knows it will be a long trip.
Mentor/Helper Athena, the goddess of wisdom, crafts, and war, is his guide. She wants to help Odysseus, though she has been instructed not to. She takes pity on him while other gods forsake the hero, continually saves him from death, and gives him guidance.
Cross the Threshold After the war, the gods become angry with the Greeks for their prideful ways. A great storm emerges and throws them off course.
Test/Allies/Enemies Odysseus is thwarted with many tests as he travels back to Ithaca:
  • Polyphemus
  • Circones
  • Lotus Eaters
  • Lastrygonians
  • Sirens
  • Scylla & Charybdis
  • Cattle of the Sun God
Approach Odysseus nearly makes it home, but his crew opens a bag, given to him by Aeolus, god of the winds When the bag is opened, it releases a wind that blows them far away from Ithaca.
Ordeal He travels to the underworld seeking information to guide him home. This quest brings him to the verge of death.
Reward The King of Phaeacia gives Odysseus passage home.
Road back Unlike other heroes, Odysseus was not in search of treasure. Instead, he was desperately trying to reach his home. Once he returns, he finds out that his house has been overrun with suitors attempting to steal his wife and palace.
Atonement Instead of rushing in and killing the suitors, Odysseus is patient. He wishes to learn if his wife has been faithful. With the help of his son and a loyal swineherd, he devises a plan. Athena disguises him as an old beggar so that he can enter his house undetected. Telemachus steals all the suitors’ weapons, and a final test is proposed. Penelope will marry the man who strings Odysseus' bow and shoots an arrow through a line of small circles; a seemingly impossible task.
Return Odysseus, still dressed as a beggar, completes the task and is restored to his original state. He and his son expel the suitors from their home by force. Penelope, seeing how her husband has changed, tests him to make sure it is actually him. She tells him she moved their bed. He replies, correctly, that this would have been impossible, and all is returned to normal.
Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: The Hero's Journey

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/6] Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature


Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)



Student Instructions

Use the story of The Odyssey and map it to the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey.


  1. Depict and describe how the chosen character's story fits (or does not fit ) into each of the stages of the Hero's Journey.
  2. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.



Rubric

(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)



Heroic Journey Rubric
Exemplary
20 Points
Proficient
17 Points
Commendable
13 Points
Try Again
10 Points
Content
  • Stages and steps of the hero's journey are exemplary and applied to the hero clearly, precisely, and correctly.
  • Knowledge and examples of the archetypal hero are evident.
  • Abundant examples are used to support claims.
  • Most stages and steps of the hero's journey are accurately applied to the hero.
  • Strong knowledge of the archetypal hero is apparent, and some traits, but not all, are applied.
  • Many examples are used to support claims.
  • Some stages and steps of the hero's journey are accurately applied to their hero.
  • Some knowledge of the archetypal hero is evident and has been applied, but is not sufficient.
  • Some examples are used to support claims.
  • Stages and steps of the hero's journey are inaccurately applied to their hero, or not enough stages are incorporated.
  • A little knowledge of the archetypal hero is evident.
  • Few to no examples are used to support claims.
  • Organization
  • Stages and steps of the hero's journey are in a logical order
  • Elements are clearly labeled
  • Images are used and convey the idea perfectly
  • Many stages and steps of the hero's journey are in proper order.
  • Most picture panels are accurately labeled.
  • Some images may not be clear or complete representations
  • Some stages or steps of the hero's journey are out of order.
  • Many panels have NOT been labeled with the appropriate element of the journey.
  • Images are missing, unclear, or require explanation.
  • Many stages and steps of the hero's journey are confused or completely out of order.
  • Storyboard pictures have not been labeled with the elements of the journey.
  • Few images are used, or storyboard is disorganized.
  • Visual Elements
    All pictures demonstrate effort, are attention-grabbing, and clearly communicate visually the corresponding element of the hero's journey.
    Many pictures show effort and clearly communicate how an element of the hero's journey is present in the story.
    Some pictures appear rushed, or are uninteresting. Connections to elements of the hero's journey are non-obvious, or unclear.
    Few pictures appear. The storyboard appears rushed, or unfinished. The connections and elements are very unclear.
    Conventions
    There are only minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage, if any.
    There are few errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage.
    There are many errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage.
    There are abundant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, or usage that detract from the work.
    Creativity/Effort
    This Storyboard could be used as an exemplary model, and is one of the most outstanding projects produced.
    Creativity is evident, and the finished product is admirable.
    Creativity and effort are lacking. Extra help was needed.
    Creativity and effort are lacking. Extra help was needed.




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