Study of Cultural Elements Through the Archetypal Analysis of the Hero's Journey in Selected Short American Stories
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Within this study nine short contemporary stories were analyzed in order to provide the methodology and material for a literature class on American cultural patterns and Archetypal criticism. The stories were analyzed through the lens of Archetypal criticism and compared with published research on American cultural patterns to determine if the stories could be used as a literary resource to teach about American culture. The Archetypal analysis was based on Campbell's work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Archetypal criticism states that all literary myth rests on a skeleton of archetypes -typical images, characters, themes, symbols and events present in the literary myth- that gives structure to the text. The flesh, the details of this skeleton, varies according to the culture that produces the myth. The flesh of these nine stories was analyzed according to four components of American cultural patterns found in published studies: form of activity, form of social relations, perception of the world, and perception of the self. The results of the literary analysis of the stories allow one to develop methodology and material for a literature class on the topic of American cultural patterns and Archetypal criticism.