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Author Topic: Ender's Game, Homecoming and Joseph Campbell
The G-Bus Man
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Hi guys, I was making a post over at the Writer's Workshop about originality in writing and someone mentioned Star Wars, so I brought up Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces."I was looking at this site ( http://www.spookybug.com/origins/myth.html ) which compares Star Wars and The Matrix to Campbell's tenants of "monomyth" storytelling (the guidelines of antiquity storytelling). It's also kind of amazing to compare Ender's Game and the Homecoming series to these tenants as well (with Homecoming given its Book of Mormon roots it's not surprising, but it's interesting to see how Ender's Game fits in):

(you might want to refer to the above site to see exactly what I'm referring to, since I use the same stuff from that website. Also, the remainder of this post contains heavy spoilers for both Ender's Game and the Homecoming series)

Part I: Departure

Call to adventure (Graff meeting Ender's Parents, Volemak's first image from the Oversoul)

Refusal of the call (Ender's skepticism of Graff and the IF, Nafai's skepticisms of the Oversoul)

Supernatural aid (the program Ender develops could be considered as such, the Oversoul's protection of Nafai)

Crossing the first threshold (Ender leaving home and Earth, Nafai leaving home for the desert)

The "belly of the whale" (Ender in the shuttle, Nafai in Gabbalufix's house)

Part II: Initiation

The road of trials (Ender in Battle School, Nafai in the desert)

The Meeting with the Goddess (Ender with Petra?, Nafai and Luet)

Temptation away from the true path (Ender's hatred of Battle School, Nafai's doubts about the Oversoul and the temptation to stay in Basilica)

Atonement with the Father (Ender and Graff, Nafai and Volemak)

Becoming God-like (Ender's victory over the Buggers earning him the respect of the entire Earth, Nafai's connection with the Oversoul and marriage to Luet)

The ultimate boon (Ender defeating the buggers, Nafai reaching Earth)

Part III: Return

Refusal of return (Ender's troubles with Bonzo?, Nafai's frequent returns to Basilica)

The "magic flight" (Ender's journey to Battle School and Mazer Rakham, Nafai's journey to the desert and to Earth)

Rescue from without (Ender's assistance from his friends, Luet's rescue of Nafai)

Crossing the return threshold (Ender's battles with the buggers, Nafai's murder of Gaballufix and retrieving the Index)

Master of two worlds (Ender commands the respect of the IF, Nafai is recognized as a prophet)

Freedom to live (Ender defeats the buggers, Nafai repopulates Earth)

Other common mythos elements:

Mundane/special world (Earth and Battle School, Basilica/Harmony and the desert/Earth)

The mentor (Ender and Graff/Rakham, Nafai and Luet/Oversoul)

The Oracle (Graff, Luet)

The Prophecy (Ender will defeat the Buggers once and for all, Nafai will lead humanity and the Oversoul back to Earth)

Failed Hero (Bonzo, Elemak)

Wearing the enemy's skin (Nafai does this literally through the holograms, but I can't think of how Ender does this. Oh well, can't win them all [Razz] )

Unstrustworthy/Trustworthy figure becomes Trustworthy/Untrustworthy (Ender accepts the trust of his friends and commanders, Nafai accepts the trust of Luet and the Oversoul/loses the trust of Rash)

Animal familiar (Ender's computer program, Issib's chair?)

Chasing an animal into an enchanted area (Ender chases his dreams to the former bugger planet, Luet chases her dream through the forest behind Rasa's house)

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"Wearing the enemy's skin (Nafai does this literally through the holograms, but I can't think of how Ender does this. Oh well, can't win them all [Razz] )"

How about Ender knowing his enemy, knowing him so thoroughly that you love him, and only then can you defeat him.

I believe this is a theme that only plays out subconsciously for Ender, but it is a concept that is referred to in both the Ender and Shadow series.

I think that works.

Off on a tangent, as usual, in other discussion group, with respect to Harry Potter, I have said that great literature draws on universal and timeless themes. I think this is true of Ender, Bean, and Harry, as well as others. To truly connect with the reader, you have to touch the reader on a deep, timeless, and universal level.

That's why the great epic Myths have lasted hundreds if not thousands of years. I suspect the East Indian mythology is probably the oldest, and it certainly touches on the grand, broad, deep, and universal truths.

For what it's worth.


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I think Nefai's animal familiar was a baboon or something of that sort.
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Interesting and true. We are going over hero/myth archetypes and such in my English and Theater Arts classes, but I don't know if either of my teachers have read OSC.
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I haven't read campbell, so I can't really comment. I am reading OSC's Worthing Saga right now. Its very interesting to compare it to Asimov's Foundation series. OSC mentioned in the forward that Foundation was what inspired a lot of the Worthing saga. The two books stand on their own just fine as stories, but it is interesting to see where they have similarities.
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Unstrustworthy/Trustworthy figure becomes Trustworthy/Untrustworthy

Petra falling asleep fulfills this well.

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