All cultures, throughout time, have had hero figures. Joseph Campbell in his book examining ancient hero myths writes, The Hero with a Thousand Faces:
" Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring myth" (Campbell, 1949).
Though each may seem different from the others, their life’s journeys have common traits. Campbell states that "herohood is predestined, rather than simply achieved" (Campbell, 1949). In the contemporary fantasy novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, author J.K. Rowling introduces a new hero, the young wizard Harry Potter. Beginning with his birth and separation from his parents, his childhood exile, his call to adventure, his descent into the underworld, and finally, Potter’s triumphant return, he becomes a modern day mythological hero.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The story begins with the introduction of Harry Potter as an orphaned boy living with the Dursleys, his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and Cousin Dudley. Although he knows that his parents died when he was an infant, the details of their death are kept from him. Life with the Dursleys is unpleasant at best with Harry often being relegated to the closet under the stairs. However, as his eleventh birthday approaches, daily life at the Dursleys take an unexpected turn, Potter receives an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It is at this time that Harry realizes his true nature....