The Joy Luck Club Heroism

2253 Words10 Pages
In Bill Moyer’s interview of mythologist Joseph Campbell, “The Hero’s Journey”, a hero is described as someone who has given his life to something bigger than himself and has done something beyond the normal range of achievement or experience. He must first undergo a journey of four steps: departure, trials, fulfillment, and return. Departure is the step in which the character leaves the normal interpreted realm and into his own realm of original experience when something is taken from him. The next steps are trials and fulfillment in which the character overcomes challenges proving his worthiness as a hero, creating a heroic transformation of consciousness. The final step is the return back to the interpreted realm, bringing back the transformation of consciousness. In the novel The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, An-mei’s mother suffers of rape, immediately causing herself to depart into a cruel world without her daughter, social acceptance, and a place to live. Forced to eventually care for An-mei as a fourth wife, An-mei’s mother realizes the poor conditions An-mei is set to grow up in, and kills herself to rid herself of her own weak spirit to make An-mei’s stronger. This action shocks Wu Tsing, into raising An-mei as if she were from his first wife, thus making An-mei a bold and confident child. Through challenges and trials that An-mei’s mother overcome for her daughter, she is granted with the qualities of a full-fledged hero from Campbell’s perspective. In the journey of a hero, the initial step to leave the interpreted realm, known as the departure. It is the spark that starts the fire for the rest of the journey. In Campbell’s words, “The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there’s something lacking in the normal experiences available or permitted to the members of his society.” From this point

More about The Joy Luck Club Heroism

Open Document