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Applying Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” to Fantasy Literature: the Character Transformation of Edmund in C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In fantasy literature the heroic figure is prominent and most narratives have a similar plot structure for the hero’s journey. In C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, we find a similar theme of the heroic figure’s adventure in Narnia. The four children enter Narnia through the magic wardrobe and then their adventure begins. Joseph Campbell in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, traces his concept the Hero’s Journey model for describing three phases in character development in hero myths. This essay applies the three phases separation, initiation and return from Campbell’s hero’s journey to fantasy literature exemplified by Edmund’s coming of age in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In the story, Edmund is portrayed as an anti-hero but he converts and becomes a hero at the end. Even though his encounters with the White Witch do not fit the hero’s journey perfectly, it can be seen as a sort of initiation. The results show that Edmund does not strictly fit the hero’s journey model. One reason is that he is an anti-hero; another that Campbell’s model mainly applies to myth. The main focus of this essay is to demonstrate Edmund’s coming of age throughout his journey in Narnia, since most Young Adult fantasy involves a coming of age.

Keywords: the hero’s journey; fantasy literature; character transformation; coming of age; initiation; convert; an anti-hero

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 20 p.
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-144578OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-144578DiVA: diva2:1115066
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Available from: 2017-10-30 Created: 2017-06-26 Last updated: 2017-10-30Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf