Study Guide

The Hero with a Thousand Faces Part I, Chapter 4

By Joseph Campbell

Part I, Chapter 4

The Keys

  • Campbell starts the chapter with a diagram of the Hero's Journey, summing up the previous 240-odd pages of text (cheat-sheet fans, take note).
  • He stresses that every tale is different, and that some emphasize specific steps in the Hero's Journey more than others.
  • He returns to the Eskimo story of Raven as an example.
  • In cultural myths later in a given culture's life, the important images can be more obscure and harder to find.
  • This is because older, simpler images no longer feel pertinent, and in many cases, the myths become swallowed up with less important details.
  • When this happens, life goes out of the mythology, and it becomes a relic.
  • When this happens, we can rejuvenate the myths by seeing the potency of stories in the past and applying that potency to a modern context.
  • Campbell cites the rite of baptism, which is a Christian/Catholic tradition but has roots in much older mythology.