Monday, March 17, 2014

Gearing up for the Journey

By this point I think I've made it clear how much I love the Hero's Journey (or at least the idea of it). I'll admit that the reason why I chose my thesis is because I love The Phantom Tollbooth, and I love adventures, and since the Tollbooth is an adventure story... Well, everything just fit together a little too perfectly, so I seized the chance.

My sketchbook. Click for a closer view.
I know that I'm going to have to do a lot of research into Joseph Campbell's theories about the Hero's Journey. To be honest, I've only really looked over the Wikipedia article, but I've heard about it a lot through word of mouth and the idea fascinated me. I think it's worth looking into.

For the purposes of the paper I'm going to write, I must talk about a book of my choice and one of Lewis Carroll's books about Alice, so I decided to contrast the two. The Hero's Journey is supposed to explain why popular stories become popular: they simply incorporate the Journey pattern into their plot. Through the Looking-Glass is certainly enjoyable (at least it is to my odd sense of humor) and it's one of my favorite books, but not because of any journey of growth that Alice embarks on. Here is a working shell for my final paper.

(I must also acknowledge the possibility that while I am researching the Hero's Journey and analyzing Through the Looking-Glass, I will realize that it actually does contain the Hero's Journey... at which point I'll simply have to change my thesis. We'll see what happens!)

I think it will be a lot of fun to sit down and analyze Milo's trek through the Lands Beyond. It's something that I've always secretly wanted to do.


  1. I like how much stuff you have here in your notebook. Ever since high school, I have usually stuck to just jumping into writing my paper with almost no preparation. I think I might "take a page out of your book" so to speak, and start investing more time into my pre-writing. I can see how having so many illustrated ideas could help the writing process flow more easily later on.

  2. I love the Hero's Journey as well. It's so intricate and complex that it'll be fun to fit Phantom Tollbooth into it. I'm actually jealous. That will be a lot of fun.

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  4. Thanks for your help in class today, Adam. I felt like I was able to work through my ideas and I appreciate your feedback. I'm really interested in your topic as well and I wouldn't mind helping if you need it. Just ask. Thanks, again.