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Harry Potter's archetypal journey

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2011
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Abstract
This article explores the narrative structure underlying J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter heptalogy, suggesting that it follows the model of the monomyth or hero's journey not only as a basic pattern for the whole story line, but also for each individual volume. Drawing on Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and Carl Gustav Jung's psychological archetypes, this archaic narrative has been recognised as one of the major plots in literature. According to archetypal and myth theory, these narrative patterns are part of our collective unconscious and can be observed at any time in any culture, mirroring basic human experiences. Rowling applies the hero's journey without being formulaic, but she remains true to its original form, the cycle of separation, initiation and return, while her characters take on the roles of different Jungian archetypes during the individual volumes, allowing them to develop into fully faceted personalities within the space of seven books. The article traces the eight stations of the monomyth in Harry's journey from childhood to adulthood, from chosen child to the hero of his own story, and it points out which archetypal roles the characters take on, arguing that the structure of the novels is more complex than they are sometimes given credit for.
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Subject (DDC)
800 Literature, Rhetoric, Literary Science
Keywords
Monomyth , Hero's Journey , J.K. Rowling , Archetypes , Contemporary Literature
Published in
Heroism in the Harry Potter series / Berndt, Katrin et al. (ed.). - Farnham [u.a.] : Ashgate, 2011. - pp. 85-104. - ISBN 978-1-4094-1244-1
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Cite This
ISO 690BOLL, Julia, 2011. Harry Potter's archetypal journey. In: BERNDT, Katrin, ed. and others. Heroism in the Harry Potter series. Farnham [u.a.]:Ashgate, pp. 85-104. ISBN 978-1-4094-1244-1
BibTex
@incollection{Boll2011Harry-23183,
  year={2011},
  title={Harry Potter's archetypal journey},
  isbn={978-1-4094-1244-1},
  publisher={Ashgate},
  address={Farnham [u.a.]},
  booktitle={Heroism in the Harry Potter series},
  pages={85--104},
  editor={Berndt, Katrin},
  author={Boll, Julia}
}
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