Thesis - Open Access
Number of Pages
Joseph Campbell in his historic work The Hero with a Thousand Faces, argues that the stories and myths a culture tells demonstrates the ideals, fears, and morals of that culture and the heroes they hold up are representations of the ideal human. Heroes are inherently personal role models and ideals, but the collective understanding of a hero is representative of a culture's ideals, fears, and morals.
So, what does it say when a culture's heroes are usually violent, traditionally attractive white men? And what does it mean when a culture rejects heroes with non-traditional values and traits, specifically traits coded feminine? I will be exploring these questions through two major cultural artifacts, the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games trilogy, in which the non-traditional male heroes are displaced, either by audiences or the text itself, and replaced by more traditional male heroes. I will demonstrate why these non-traditional characters are the real heroes of their works and their displacement is proof of a wider culture’s dislike and rejection of feminine values and traits. I also examine the role of my own heroes in a larger conversation with society's own heroes.
Date of Award
© Madisyn Dowdy
Dowdy, Madisyn, "The Stories We Tell Matter: Finding the Real Hero in American Pop Culture" (2021). Student Publications. 1011.