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5 pages or more on the story of the ramayana, analyze the hero cycl withn the story

Assignment One:  I have provided two prompt choices for this assignment:

I.                 Instructions for using The Monomyth, a.k.a. the hero cycle developed by Joseph Campbell, to analyze The Ramayana

1.      Write and introduction paragraph and thesis.  The body must mirror the thesis.  The body can be either essay or outline in form, though all MLA rules apply. You must use material from the readings to justify and support your claims (provide context) while using citation (parenthetical documentation). Every one of these points will result in grade reduction or failure if ignored.  All steps must make a cohesive structure, leading logically together, when you analyze the myth.  You may not simply put a step and a quote without context.

a.        You need to tell me why you choose the character, either Sita or Rama, in The Ramayana to be an example of the hero. Remember to use key ideas, like dharma, which is found in the introduction in the textbook.

b.     You also should make mention this structure is known as the Monomyth and that this structure was developed by Joseph Campbell. You need to work this into your essay in order to give the appropriate credit to the idea.  I suggest you use material from the introduction and class presentations to strengthen this point. I further suggest you mention the book in which this theory was first revealed, which is the subject of Chapter 15 in your textbook.

c.       You should decide how you will construct your thesis.  If you decide to use a three-prong thesis statement, which I highly recommend, then you could use Departure, Initiation, and Return as your three prongs, which you will then mirror in the body of the assignment.  You also must list the eight steps you are using in the order that you will discuss these steps in the body. Just list them, saving the detail for the body. I suggest that at the end of your three prong claim you place a colon (:) and then list the eight steps you will use in the correct order. This listing should be done at the end of your thesis.  AGAIN, Do not go into any detail until the body please.   This would mean that you have three parts of the cycle, each part being discussed in a different body paragraph or section.  In these paragraphs you will go into detail and discuss the particular steps that fall under that particular section.  If you choose the outline or bulleted structure, then the three divisions could act like outline section headings.

d.     If you make a radical choice then you are required to produce radical proof. Failure to list these steps, or failure to list them in the correct order in which you discuss them is an automatic letter grade deduction.

e.       In your essay you must use at least one quote from Chapter 15 in the main textbook, at least one idea from the introduction to The Ramayana (Chapter 18), as well as one quote or summarized and documented concept from first essay “The Impact of Science on Myth” as well as one quote or summarized concept from “The Emergence of Mankind” from the Joseph Campbell book Myths to Live By.  These are required to illustrate your ability to use material to justify and support your claims.  In the Body you must use cite ALL summary, not just the quote from the narrative by putting the page numbers from which the material comes.  No quotes should be more than three lines of text AT MOST.  When dealing with a long quote use ellipses (…).  Every point you make in the body should be coordinated to the page numbers from which you draw the material.  In dealing with quotes, summary, paraphrased material, etc., use MLA parenthetical documentation.

f.       In-text citation (parenthetical documentation) must be used in accordance with MLA rules when summarizing or quoting. 


II.                      I am also extending you the opportunity to do the above assignment using a narrative other than The Ramayana.  You may use The Ramayana and The Epic of Gilgamesh as points of comparison, along with the Monomyth as discussed in part I.   If you choose to analyze another narrative structure you may still abide by all the previous instructions, but you will be looking at the plot structure of your choice in relation to the other material in the class we have discussed so far.  This choice must be clearly explained in your introductory paragraph.  This choice does not change the basic rules of this assignment.



2.       You must use at least eight steps. Use all steps and correctly argue for their placement or lose a letter grade (or more).

a.       Of those eight you must use:  the call to adventure, 1st crossing the threshold (movement into the unknown zone), the axis/apotheosis, and the 2nd crossing the second threshold (moving back to the known world) simply as a matter of necessity.  You need to line your steps in the correct order, reflecting your character’s development through the cycle in a linear fashion, even if this linear structure is not a match for the plot development. Please do not confuse this for a plot summary; THIS ASSIGNMENT IS NOT A PLOT SUMMARY.  If, for example, if you find out the reason for the extraordinary birth in some part of the chapter or narrative, then you will place this step first, no matter where in the narrative or some other source it is found.  

b.     Other steps you may consider:

                                                              i.      Extraordinary birth,

                                                             ii.     Divine or supernatural aid typically by wise guide (person, god, etc.),

                                                            iii.     Helpers (this step is mobile and can occur in more than one place.  You may only use it once.),

                                                           iv.      Road of trials (there may be many versions of this in a myth, you can choose more than one, but it will still only be one step.),

                                                             v.     Meeting with the goddess, meeting with temptress (the goddess and temptress may be the same entity in the story…also, if the hero is a female then this can then be male in gender.  Rather than temptress it may be tempter, rather than goddess it may be god),

                                                           vi.      Atonement with the father (This step can occur right before the apotheosis, can be a product of the apotheosis, or itself can be apotheosis.  The nature of atonement with the father is typically ordered in a way that is in relation to the type of deed the hero is doing in relation to the society that produced the hero.),

                                                          vii.      The ultimate boon can also be known as the elixir theft (the theft or gain of a material object or a spiritual concept is typically what is referred to here.  This can sometimes be separated from the outcome of a particular boon or gift boon, as the ultimate boon is essentially a manifestation of the hero’s power or insight.  For instance, in Gilgamesh the boon is the plant of eternal life.  Utnapishtim, a father figure, allows Gilgamesh to find the plant, though Gilgamesh is fated to lose the plant.  The boon or elixir is the plant, but the “ultimate boon” is the realization that losing immortality brings about acceptance of mortality and responsible kingship, which is represented by the plants loss.),

                                                         viii.     The call to return,

                                                            ix.     Refusal to return,

                                                             x.     Magical flight(often a way of return that literally in the story manifests as an unknown conveyance),

                                                            xi.      Reign, exile, extraordinary death (or any of the other many steps.)  Sometime the hero’s story ends tragically despite their success or sometimes the king rules happily.  This idea of reign is a type of return, despite the variances one may find in different cultural traditions.

 Some of these steps can be flexible within reason, like helpers, the nature of apotheosis (whether the apotheosis leads to the ultimate boon or is in some sense the ultimate boon), etc.  It is ultimately important how you analyze using this material you have.  It is also important to note that the order of these steps has a built in requirement that comes along with the Monomyth mirroring the many processes of development Campbell used in formulating his structure (anthropological, psychological, etc.) Among these the three most important would be the process of individuation, the initiation ritual, and the biological process of life.  In philosophy it can be said this structure takes into account both being and becoming.  I have spent a fair amount of time going over the significance of this, so if you do not show an understanding of this fundamental aspect of the analysis (or at least an attempt to try to understand), you will lose a letter grade.

c.      Every step is not just a matter of plot.  This essay is not about plot summary.  Each step is about analysis; therefore you must justify your steps in a coherent manner.  Why does the choice you make for the call to adventure make sense considering the Axis or Apotheosis? All the steps must make a coherent analysis….AGAIN; this is not about giving me a plot summary and then labelling that part of the plot.  Each part of the narrative must make sense when discussed as part of a coherent analysis.  What does the plot mean?  You are limited by your knowledge at this point, so use the book and what little you may know of the culture to ascertain how to best read the metaphors in a myth as they relate to values and meanings.  This is the essential step in analysis. 


III.              The body can be in outline form, bulleted, numbered, or in traditional essay form.

d.       If you would like to follow the five paragraph essay structure you must identify the steps you choose within the context of the three divisions of the cycle: departure, initiation and return for example.  These three divisions would then constitute the three body paragraphs…this is a matter of your personal taste.

e.       In the body, however you construct it you must go through each step in the order mentioned in your thesis statement, put in the appropriate order and section of the cycle.  You must tell me the step, or in other words you must name it, and then explain how the part of the story fits the profile of this step, using a short quote if you want, but not required.   Keep any summary to a minimum, and then put the page number(s) that corresponds to the section to which you refer. Obviously if you use a direct quote you have to cite that immediately after the quote. The page number is not optional . Not using page numbers is an automatic grade reduction. Rather than plot summary what I want you to focus on is your justification for a particular step occurring at a particular time in the plot. It is up to you to make your justification coherent.  AGAIN …If you merely do plot summary you will lose a letter grade, as plot summary is not critical thinking . 


IV.              You will then need a conclusion.  This is both a reflection of what you have done with your thesis and support as well as a meaningful conclusion about what is implied if your argument is true. You have done it, “so what?” What does it matter?  Do you remember why it matters to Campbell? 




General instructions

I do require MLA documentation for this assignment. There is to be no external research, but you will use your books and classroom notes. MLA is not optional.  You must not use material and then not cite it.  If you do not remember parenthetical documentation I suggest you look it up and refresh your memory.  I WILL take off if you do not parenthetically document your resources. That will fail you for the assignment and perhaps the class if you use someone else’s work and do not acknowledge that use. If you need to meet me we can come to some arrangement.  I understand academic struggles, but all forms of plagiarism will fail you for this assignment and potentially for the course. 


5 pages, Typed, double-spaced, 12 sized font, times-roman or font of some clear design…no funny stuff.  Neither the MLA citation page, nor the class information is part of this length. The maximum length of this assignment is ten pages.  Keep in mind that a quick stripped down cycle that merely identifies a plot and a step without analysis does not meet the minimum requirement.  You must try to analyze to fully be engaged with this assignment.  I do not expect you to be experts, but I do expect you to do the best you can.  If you do a short sloppy paper, expect your grade to reflect that effort.


You need class info…the class and personal info as well as the title cannot be considered part of the length, so adjust accordingly.  The title should not be The Ramayana, since I know you didn’t write the epic.   I do not require a title page, and please do not use a folder….just a staple is fine….but there better be a staple.  The length should be a minimum of 5 pages…if you  do not meet the minimum requirement, you will not have the option to rewrite the paper in the event you want to make a better grade; not meeting the minimum requirement will also result in grade deduction of at least a letter grade.






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