Unit 2 Paper, due Wednesday, January 20, 2016. Assignment



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HUMAN 105H, Winter, 2016 Unit 2 Paper, page

Dr. Harnett



Unit 2 Paper, due Wednesday, January 20, 2016.

Assignment: Analyze a movie selected in class, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, in terms of The 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey, and selected Unit 2 readings. You will be mostly tracing the 12 stages through the story, then arguing points from one of the epics we are reading and one of the articles about the importance of stories.

  • Show where each of the 12 steps occurs in the story, explaining your analysis with specific references to the movie itself. Also explain how one or more steps are not included in the movie if that is the case. This is the longest part of the essay. You may use headings or make this section an extended bulleted list, nonetheless written in sentences, to indicate each step concisely. At any rate, be sure that the analysis of the 12 stages is smoothly integrated in the development of the paper.

  • Compare and contrast the movie to one of the epics from Unit 2, either Gilgamesh or Prometheus Bound, selecting and focusing on key elements of the movie and epic that relate to your focus and thesis.

  • Apply the chapter by Bettelheim on why children need magic in stories, addressing to the movie, showing whether Bettelheim would find it helpful for children or not.

Readings: The movie is the basis of the Unit 2 Paper.

In addition, your paper relies on your application of these sources for its development:



  • Joseph Campbell’s “The Twelve Stages of the Hero’s Journey,” as summarized by Christopher Vogler, at http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero's_journey.htm and as presented in the class notes for Week 3 (Tuesday).

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh or Prometheus Bound (select 1).

  • Bruno Bettelheim, “The Child’s Need for Magic” (posted in Course Materials)

Elements of the Paper:

Be sure that the paper has an Introduction indicating the importance of the story, the heroic qualities of characters, lessons or themes to learn in it, the story’s reflection of the culture from which it comes, the story’s relative optimism, or another opening idea you have. State your thesis that presents an insight of yours about heroes, the basic hero story, or a relevant and most profound idea that you perceive after careful thought. The introduction should prepare the way for the analysis of the stages, the story, and the article that it will incorporate.

Then develop the 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey as they appear (or are absent) in the film. You can be relatively brief with each stage, but be very specific in showing how each one is present or absent. Do this by including specific references to parts of the film to support your analytical claims about the Hero’s Journey. Relate this analysis to your thesis very clearly and efficiently as you proceed. If a stage is absent, explain what the film does instead of it. It is possible that some stages are combined, or that they appear out of the order in which Campbell set them down; explain these or any conditions or variations of the stages.

Next, draw connections (comparisons and contrasts) to one of the epics in Unit 2: The Epic of Gilgamesh or Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus. What motivations, issues, decisions, character archetypes (referring to the summary of them in the class notes) other character qualities such as their personalities and tendencies, story elements (including the 12 stages), actions, plot development, themes, and/or other aspects notably compare or contrast to the movie? Select examples from the epic and show how they demonstrate one or more important aspects of the thesis. Be sure to quote, paraphrase, and/or summarize the examples from the epic, citing it as precisely as the source indicates (Tablet numbers for Gilgamesh, author for Prometheus Bound).

After that, develop insights from the chapter by Bettelheim. Is the movie appropriate for young children, according to him? How does the movie deliver the three elements that Bettelheim argues are important benefits of an effective hero story for children?


  • Animism and/or magic in the story

  • Reassurance for the child in some way

  • Moral lessons to be gained from the story

    • Show why or why not Bettelheim would approve and/or whether each element is present in each case, using examples from the article and the story. You may include other ideas from Bettelheim as well.

In your last section, conclude your essay with a summation of what your analysis has shown and what it all means—a final insight about stories, heroes, or human nature related to themes of the story that you can derive.
Length: About 1500 words as an approximate average (many papers are longer); cover the topics thoroughly.

You are expected to follow the GCC Academic Honesty Policy to avoid problems. In short, please do your own work and properly account for information used from the sources. You may show me your planning and drafts in progress for feedback and advice before the due date.



Include a Works Cited showing the movie and the article, following MLA format; you may also use IMDb or other sites for information about the movie, which you must also cite. Beyond that, you don’t need any other sources. See me if you are thinking of using another source.


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