In the Hero’s Journey Project, we studied the hero’s journey and stages. These stages were what every hero goes through, but we also could relate to them and apply them to our lives. The stages were: the call, the exit threshold, the road of trials and temptations, the abyss, the transformation, the apotheosis, crossing the return threshold, and rejoining the community. We also looked at rites of passage, which is closely related to the hero’s journey, in the ideas of dying and being reborn into a better you. We then read Siddhartha and The Alchemist, which are popular hero’s journey stories, and solidified our understanding of the project. The hero’s journey is also sometimes called the monomyth, because all of the stories are the same, with different characters. We had two Socratic seminars on the topics discussed in the books, such as enlightenment, oneness, the concept of god, etc. These concepts were very intriguing to me, and my friends and I discussed them at lunch for several days after because it was so interesting and important to us. As we were reading the books, we did portraits of the characters. After we collected the knowledge, we moved onto our product. We watched and listened to many stories of the Raven Narratives, and learned about what makes a story good. After, we constructed our own stories that related to our own hero’s journey, and then did a lot refining and rehearsing. Our exhibition was our own Animas version of the Raven Narratives, called the narratives from the nest. Students and community members were picked out of a hat to tell their stories. Some were funny, some were sad, and overall it showed the power of storytelling and overcoming our own shadows.
I grew throughout this project quite a lot. For example, one area which I felt I grew a lot is critical thinking. It may not be apparent that this is a large thing that I learned in relation to this project, but it is. Through reading the books Siddhartha and The Alchemist, I dug deep into the text to understand what the authors were trying to say. During the Socratic seminars, I had to think hard and come up with my own ideas quickly after my peers said theirs. I loved reading the books because it brought such a new perspective to me. It allowed me to watch the world differently and in a less intense and more understanding way. I feel like I also grew with telling my stories to people and talking to people more. Although this wasn’t a huge area of growth, I recognized that through the storytelling critique process, I was able to communicate with my peers better and be less intimidated. One thing that I would have done differently throughout this project is rehearsed my story more. When I was telling my story in front of the class, I was nervous and almost fainted. If I was more prepared then this might not have happened. Overall, I’m proud of myself for presenting it, even if it was a small group of people. I’m proud of myself for being able to understand the text better through critical thinking.
A huge understanding that I took away from this project was from the book The Alchemist. I learned that although life will throw trials at you and sway you from what you think is right, the journey is the most important part. Even if you reach your goal, it will mean nothing if the journey was easy. This helped me in my personal life, because I search a lot for the meaning of my existence. After reading this book though, I began to think less and less of it, and spend more time on appreciating the world now, as it is, and not be worried about the journey of the future. I think because I developed this understanding of the world, I became less worried and more at peace. In fact, The Alchemist was one of the best and most influencing books I have ever read. As a general takeaway, I am so glad that I got the chance to realize that the world isn’t meant to be fought against.
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