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Heroes, Legends And Superstitions

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Heroes, Legends, and Superstition

The ideology about heroes is that, a hero (male) or heroine (female) is an eminent character archetype that typically symbolizes key traits dignified in the originating culture. Heroes are common in every culture, not just in folkloristic societies. You can find heroes and anti-heroes in every society and culture. They may have different meanings in each culture but they are still present. A hero in one culture could be considered an anti-hero in the next one.

What was shown to be obvious about cultures in the readings is that a hero is prevalent in almost everything. As Joseph Campbell has shown in his work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces is that in cross-cultural studies of myths of ancient people all of the diverse stories that were told is that they are all telling the same small number of myths but in a slightly different language. This language meaning the different ways that these cultures have shown their myths. Our society today may not understand it and vise versa. With these myths Campbell found that there was an archetypal plot line within the myths which remained consistent from one culture to the next. Many of the ancient hero myths came up with a common factor for a plot line and the archetypal story.

"Campbell showed that the story always began with an Everyman just living his hum-drum life. Suddenly and unexpectedly, either by chance or by choice, Everyman is either pulled out of his ordinary life or chooses to leave his ordinary life to launch into a great adventure, whose ending he cannot know at the beginning.

The adventure, according to Campbell, then goes through several specified stages. The hero will journey into a dark world where he meets various forces or entities which he has to deal with. Along the way he encounters a teacher who gives him the instruction in new skills he will need to learn to successfully achieve his goal. No later than his part of the journey the hero becomes consciously aware of what that very specific goal is.

Striving for his goal, the hero is challenged to his limit, reaching a peak culminating experience, what Campbell calls a "supreme ordeal." The result is that the hero "gains his reward" and is forever changed by the experience. He often gains some new powers and sets off with them. Eventually the hero reemerges to his society with these new abilities bringing a boon to his society which somehow restores that society." (

The basis around this quote was for George Lucas' Star Wars saga. "Luke Skywalker was simply retelling of the worlds oldest myths for a new generation." ( The journey that a hero must go through is and can be a vigorous and long passage. Whether it is Luke Skywalker, a football player of a New York policeman, they still have to work towards being this hero.

Adolph Bastian first projected the idea that myths from all over the world appear to be constructed from the same "elementary ideas." That is when Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, named these elementary idea "archetypes," which he believed to be the building blocks not only of the unconscious mind, but of a collective unconscious. In other words, Jung believed that everyone in the world is born with the same basic subconscious model of what a "hero" is, or a "mentor" or a quest," and that's why people who don't even speak the same language can enjoy the same stories. Jung developed his idea of archetypes mostly as a way of finding meaning within the dreams and visions of the mentally ill." (

Campbell's involvement was to obtain this thought of archetypes and utilize it to plan out the common underlying structure behind religion and myth. Campbell summed up all of this by saying "All religions are true, but none are literal." That is, he concluded that all religions are really containers for the same essential truth, and the trick to avoid mistaking the wrappings for the diamond." ( This is saying that all of the religions have the same indispensable truth but what you see on the outside may not be what is really on the inside. This can also refer to American saying "don't judge a book by its cover," because inside you never know what you are going to see.

The myth with football from Alan Dundes has been compared to sexual acts. On recent studies of American football, it is said that football is a male initiation ritual. American football has the biggest fan base out of all the American sports. The game of football is considered to be a mans sport, but if you loose at this sport you are considered to be a woman or other derogatory words referring to a woman or her genitals. "The object of the game, simply stated, is to get into the opponent's end zone while preventing the opponent from getting into one's own end zone." (Dundes, A, p. 204) Some of the positions in football can look and sound homosexual because the team is all men.

"The object of the game is to "score," a term which in standard slang means to engage in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex. One "scores" by going "all the way." The latter phrase refers specifically to making a touchdown. In sexual slang, it alludes to indulging in intercourse as opposed to petting or necking. The offensive team may try to mount a "drive" in order to "penetrate" the other team's territory. A ball carrier might go "up the middle" or he might "go through the hole." A particularly skillful runner might be able to make his own hole. The defense is equally determined to "close the hold." Linemen may encourage one another "to stick it to Ð''em," meaning to place their helmeted heads against the chests of their opposite numbers to drive them back to put them out of play."

As you may see a lot of the sayings in this quote refer to something of a sexual nature when it is talking about football. When first hearing about how to play football the sexual implications are not thought of. But after Dundes puts it all into perspective it is easy to see his point of view. Another quote I found very interesting was from a man, David Kopay. David is one of the few homosexuals



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