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ENGL 100 - Myths, Symbols, and Heroes: Home

Research Paper Prompt

Write a six to eight page research paper on one of the following topics:

Topic 1 - Analyze the impact of a culture’s mythology: Choose a culture that interests you (a Native American tribe, India, Japan, etc.) and explore how that culture’s myths reflect its values, beliefs and philosophy. Tip: It’s often more interesting to research and analyze a culture that is not your own.

Topic 2 – Explore the meanings of a symbol: Choose a specific symbol and examine how that symbol represents different meanings in two or three specific cultures’ myths, folklores, religions and/or in modern culture as well. Possible symbols to examine (choose one): serpent, lion, dragon, eagle, wolf, rivers, gold, apple, twins, garden, fire, blood. 

Topic 3 – The hero’s journey: Choose a book from the list of sources (provided under topic 3) tab and analyze it as an example of the hero’s journey theme as outlined by Joseph Campbell in The Hero With 1000 Faces. Include all major stages of the hero’s journey and identify which characters fulfill the various archetypal roles. 

Your primary source is the book itself, plus The Hero With 1000 Faces. Secondary sources should include: 1) Biographical sources on the author, his/her life and times, philosophy, spirituality, etc. 2) Literary criticism of the work – what others have written about it (don’t read these until after you’ve read the primary source or you’ll get very confused), 3) Background perspectives relevant to the historical period, culture or philosophy of the book you’re examining.


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