I’ve done a lot of research throughout this year into the hero. I’ve researched the psychology of real heroes and what makes a hero. Here I have posted three videos that taught me about heroes in fiction and their similar or not so similar narrative patterns.

What do you have in common with Harry potter, Katniss Everdeen and Frodo? Well, your human, just like them.  The hero’s journey myth exists in all human cultures, and keeps getting updated because we humans, reflect on our world through symbolic stories of our own lives. You leave your comfort zone, have an experience that transforms you and then you recover and do it again. You don’t literally slay dragons or fight Voldemort. But, You face problems just as scary. Joseph Campbell said ‘In the cave you fear to enter lies the treasure you seek.’ What is the symbolic cave you fear to enter … be sensitive to it in your own life. Listen for your call to adventure, accept the challenge, conquer your fear and claim the treasure you seek, and then, do it all over again.” – (Matthew Winkler)


I am reading the book, ‘A hero with a thousand faces’ as part of my research. I found this short video that explains the book into the main themes (a little more digestible) and sums up the author’s meaning. Joseph Campbell compared myths from many cultures and discovered that really they all follow the ‘hero’s journey’ a story line, that follows the hero on an adventure which will change them. I really like the video’s point (an the authors) that the stories we tell are symbolic of humans, and we can apply the stories – hero’s bravery to our own lives.

The first diagram is the steps of the ‘hero’s journey” narrative, outline by Joseph Campbell. The second diagram was taught to me in my animation class – understanding story. The themes of most stories follow this chart. The similar narrative, is expressed in the Hero with a Thousand faces. The hero will follow this same journey – it’s surprising that after hundreds of years this story line is still followed. We want our heroes to win but to face hardships that will teach them new lessons (in the same way stories teach us.)

“Our storytelling ancestors calmed our fears of powerlessness by giving us Hercules and other heroes strong enough to fight of the demons and monsters that we suspected haunted the night beyond our campfires. But eventually, we realised that the monsters did not lie out there, they reside inside of us. Beowulf’s greatest enemy was mortality, Othello’s jealousy, Hiccup, self-doubt. And in the tales of the ineffectual anti-hero, in the stories of Guy Montag and Winston Smith lie the warnings of contemporary storytellers playing on very primative fears, that we are not strong enough to defeat the monsters. Only this time not the monsters chased away by the campfire but the very monsters who built the campfire in the first place.” – (Tim Adams)

This video explores the concept of the anti-hero. I didn’t consider this before viewing this Teds video. The idea that heroes are humans – and we are not strong. We may not win against the evil we face and may fail. My question addresses the idea of the perfect hero – and character development. What is more important gender or the hero. Here it explores the concept of being human.

  • Epic hero = Adventure, success, epic, strong warrior
  • Tragic Hero = Leaders or powerful characters, flawed, horrible or tragic death
  • Romantic Hero = Emotional and very human. Magical. Own code of morality. Beats the bad guy. Suffers.

“There are different heroes for different situations. Sometimes we need the strong warrior to slay the evils of the world, at other times we need a common person who becomes great so that they can inspire us all to be better. So do we need heroes? Absolutely, no matter what the time or place, we still need something to believe in. They remind us of the good in each of us and the need for hope and the importance of knowledge.” –  (April Gudenrath)

This video explores three types of heroes. There are many categories of heroes that set out for similar goals but end their stories in different ways or approach them differently. It’s interesting to consider what impacts the outcome of the hero.

18/11/2016 – Attending talk (Decoding Masculinity)15037088_10209813219101406_6555794585455428791_n

why? How it helped?

I identified this talk as a primary resource. The Shade Noir event explored ‘decoding masculinity’. The layout of the talk was three panelists (working in creative sectors) and a interviewer asking question. The audience throughout the talk could also ask questions and or add comments to what was being said. It felt more like a discussion, about the issue and how we could fix the problem (ideas of solutions).  I went to this event as it explored the concept of masculine and feminine and the effects/ stigma this gives to the gender. It was a really useful talk and went in-depth about many aspects. At the talk we were given a booklet with statistics about suicide rates higher in males, (in some counties in the uk the ratio being as high as 4 times the rate of women – wales). There are key terms and more interviews with artists.

 How do you define Masculinity?:

Othello De’Souza-Hartley: ‘Masculinity is how I define myself as a male’, next to the social construct on male. To achieve and being successful.

Asa Johannesson: Not necessarily assigned to maleness. Likeness or difference. I use masculinity in my work as a language to explore and express freedom. Masculinity becomes a form to express freedom.  Focus on [masculinity] being a positive.

IGGYLDN: Hold yourself under an umbrella of being everything you are supposed to be. When I was young, talking in a low voice, to be cool I needed to be a bad boy. Don’t care about school work, strong, feared, aggressive. Even at 14. Now that has changed, now I see it as a choice. An informed decision of what you choose to be.

Their experiences as children (Where do you think the constructs of masculinity come from?):

Othello De’Souza-Hartley: “I was told I had more female hormones than the average male and that’s when I started thinking about what “being a man” meant to me. He wanted to do ballet. But he couldn’t tell his father because that wouldn’t be seen as a boy. Play the role of a boy. Looking for permission from his father, please his father.

Asa Johannesson: I grew up in Sweden. I had a different upraising. Gender neutral – my mum tells me that boys and girls clothes were not in the shops. There was only children clothes. Tomboy as a child. As a teenager I started to think about my gender. She realized, maybe I should be a girl. She grew her hair long. When she became an adult, she embraced her masculinity. Her masculinity derived from her gender neutral background.

IGGYLDN: My dad was a very interesting guy, his brother got angry at his dad. My dad was at the top and my brother at the bottom, he said to him ‘I hate you’. His dad cried. His dad was emotional and because of this we could understand him better, we could connect better. My family has always been like that. My dad is an emotional person, he taught me it was okay to cry. I was able to talk to him, we could huddle together. Exchange comments and cried together and hugged. He didn’t feel like that at uni.

More comments throughout the talk:

The individual [male] thinks he is the odd one, thinking he is the only one. Even the most macho the most masculine, the masses pretending we are macho. Externally we are together but inside everyone is thinking it. To communicate it.

Key is to communicate it. To get the conversation started.


Asa: As an artist I am trying to show shuttle language to invite the masses. I don’t think fine art is the best. Other platforms are more successful media and commercial. Knowledge is personal but dependent on the norm. The media define the norm… We associate with a group. Not everyone thinks that personality has anything to do with gender -it could be class or age instead.

Othello: Men to speak. I set up a round table discussion to share their [male] talks. Man’s role changing. How age changes the view on masculinity. Anxiety from younger boy who was 19, his father from a different generation – panic attacks. Understanding men are suffering from the same thing…Mental illness. Men trying to keep up with this idea of masculinity. Silent suffering. Performance he has to play in the city which is a masculine male role (business men). Masculine man could oppress another man.

Audience Comment: I would cry as a child and be called a girl. ‘You’re a girl’. Do you think masculinity as a survival mechanism? Feminine is a positive term whereas masculine seems to be a dangerous term. Not as positive.

A comment I found particularly interesting:

Separate masculine to feminine needs to be taken away from maleness and femaleness. People identifying between their personality types of either gender (masculine to feminine.) Masculinity is an energy put on men and women, not spiritual. What are men to when they feel feminine (which they should they are human). It should be an energy we can pick depending on personality. Iggy: “What attributes reflect you and then choose what energy reflects you.” Asa: Understand that masculinity is one of 4 identifies (maleness, masculinity, femaleness and femininity) this shouldn’t be mixed up. Othello: Gender is given to us and it needs to change – (paraphrased).

My Question: Animation is a medium aimed at children, what characters (especially protagonists) would you have liked to see as a child (or now) that would address femininity and decoding masculinity?

The same issues we’ve discussed today. Open up, men talk not simple characters, not strong characters.Complexities, not whats masculine. Complex characters. Characters who are not playing a performance. Girls playing a traditional girl but not pigeon-holed into a girl’s story.

“The idea of masculinity needs to be challenged from a younger age, so we can have conversations about our insecurities as men”


(17/11/2016) A talk on masculinity is going on at Ravensbourne. (I found this talk before it was being held at Ravensbourne, but this makes it easier to get to). There is also a Q&A session after the talk so I need to prepare a question that will help address my topic.

(13/11/2016) Today I researched an email from Animated Women UK, they asked for a phone interview instead of replying in an email because it would be more convenient. I want to prepare my questions for this and research into the company – to ensure I get the best result from my interview.

(9/11/2016) Over the last week (of enhancement week) I have been collecting the quotes ready to prepare the exact research for my next chapter. Heroes is a major theme which I really want to address.

(2/11/2016)Formative = hand in first draft.

After handing in my first chapter, I feel like I need to work on my chapter outlines and make a better narrative. Now I have my ideas out on the gender chapter I feel like it may be wise to focus on some points and refer to some later on in the essay. This way my theme to my question is answered throughout. I think the only way I can order my essay is to begin writing a little for each chapter.

I have put even more detail into my chapter outline, before starting to write my first chapter. My first Chapter is looking into gender.

I have updated a new schedule to ensure I stay on track.

I saw this Video on Facebook – My questionnaire actually asked males when did they last cry. 4 out of 5 expressed it had been years. I want to understand the masculine persona and how men are still expected to be so strong and ‘not show emotions’ from fear of being perceived as feminine. This video shows that men do cry and it’s normal. The stereotype seen to be changed.

My questionnaire has been out for 4 days now. I hope to get between 50-100 replies But because I sent it out quite late I want to aim for at least 50. I am sharing it on social media and re-sharing every few days. Above shows the first question – I wanted to ask about masculinity an femininity as well as peoples favourite heroes.


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