An Analysis Of Alfred Bester 's The Hero With A Thousand Faces

1620 Words Oct 11th, 2016 7 Pages
To be a woman in the 25th Century world of Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination is to lead an inherently dangerous and confined existence. In it, jaunting–an act more or less equivalent to teleporting–has made women into something of a protected class in the face of the looming threat of sexual assault. Many, such as Jisbella McQueen and Olivia Presteign, express, in their own divergent ways, a dissatisfaction with this existence, and seek to either overtly or in secret defy its confines. There are, however, greater and more wide-reaching confines on womanhood ingrained not in the world of the novel itself, but in the framework which defines it: the monomyth. The monomyth, first defined by American mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, is a narrative pattern, widely found in human myths, legends, and religious fables, in which the hero is “called to an adventure, crosses the threshold to an unknown world to endure tests and trials, and usually returns with a boon that benefits his fellows” (qtd. Palumbo 333). Closer examination of this model, which generally confines women to one or a blend of two roles: goddess or temptress, reveals exclusion of women not only from a wider degree of involvement in the narrative, including the central role of hero, but also from the degree of psychological complexity regularly afforded him. Consequently, for Jisbella and Olivia, their evolution as characters is within the confines of these predefined…

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