The Hero’s Journey & Applications to Literature


An introduction to myth criticism and the hero’s journey critical framework including full texts of the Orpheus myth and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” This study guide includes study questions and essay prompts for thinking and writing about how to apply the hero’s journey concept to literature.

A nice resource for AP courses, early college Literature courses, and independent study, home school or tutoring in Language Arts.


• The Hero’s Journey: An Introduction to Myth Criticism and the Hero’s Journey

• “How Orpheus the Minstrel Went Down to the World of the Dead” Translated

by Colum Padraic

o Study Questions for “How Orpheus the Minstrel Went Down to the World of the Dead”

• “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

o Study Questions for “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

The hero’s journey, also known as the monomyth, is a popular interpretive theory that proposes a way of understanding literature that fuses psychology and mythology.

In applying this theoretical framework in their own reading, students can learn to conceptualize literature in news ways and draw connections between contemporary and historical texts. Not only is this approach to literature a great way to build critical thinking and literary analysis skills, it is also kind of fun.

For many students (and teacher’s too), learning and applying the hero’s journey framework is a memorable first step in pulling back the curtain on narrative texts and an engaging entry into the world of critical theory.

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