The Unconventional Hero
What defines a hero? Does it mean having the ability to fly, super human strength, or be able to leap a sky scraper in a single bound? Maybe it’s the courage to run into a burning building and save someone’s life, or even answering the call to go fight for your country. However, according the Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, it doesn’t require super human strength or the courage of a thousand lions; it requires one’s ability to embark and endure the three main stages of the hero’s journey paradigm: departure, initiation, and return. Within each of these three main stages, our adventurer will face multiple subcategories that will continue to physically and psychologically challenge the mind and body. In Dave Egger’s biography chronicling a New Orleans, Syrian-American named Zeitoun, finds himself very much intertwined amongst the inner workings of the Campbell’s portrayal of the hero’s journey. In addition to Egger’s biography, Mark Sundeen, author of: The Man Who Quit Money, also documents the tale of a man named Daniel Suelo who threw away his life savings and set off to live prosperously without money. Both men do not resemble the conventional representation of a hero, however according to Campbell, both Zeitoun and Suelo convey his theory of what it means to be a mythological hero. According to Campbell: “The first step, detachment or withdraw, consists in a radical transfer of emphasis from the external to the internal world” (12). During the beginning stages of the hero’s journey, both Zeitoun and Suelo detach themselves from the norm and project themselves into another direction, into the unknown. Campbell introduces the first subcategory of departure: acceptance of a call. “…the first work of the hero is to retreat from the world scene of secondary effects to those casual zones of the psyche where difficulties really reside, and there to clarify the difficulties, eradicate them in his own case… and break...
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