Myths and Legends

EAC 297 – Myths and Legends

Research Essay Topics (25%)

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1)  Choose a modern hero (for example a comic book hero) and compare that

hero with one found in an ancient myth.  You may choose heroes from any

culture, but the myths  must be written; they cannot be films.  This topic requires

two primary sources and at least five secondary sources.


2)  Pick a myth with which you are familiar (religious or otherwise) and show how that myth fulfills all four of Joseph Campbell’s four functions of myth.  For this topic I strongly recommend using The Power of Myth as a secondary source.  This topic requires at least one primary source and at least five secondary sources.


3)  Pick a myth with which you are familiar and examine how a character or characters exhibit the various aspects of Jung’s notion of the self (the ego, the persona, the animus, the shadow etc.)  It is strongly that you use Jung’s work (Man and His Symbols or Four Archetypes) as secondary sources for this topic.  This topic requires one primary source and at least five secondary sources.


4) Pick a hero from mythology and show how that hero follows the steps in monomyth as outlined by Joseph Campbell.  Make sure that your analysis is very specific; you are required to show how your hero follows the steps and the substeps.  For this topic you must use The Hero with a Thousand Faces as one of your secondary sources.


5)  Take any full-length book or epic poem (not the text for the course) that is a

mythological story (fiction) and come to a conclusion regarding one of  its central

themes.  In your essay your argument should be more specific than simply trying

to prove that the theme exists (ex. an essay in which you try to prove that the

theme of friendship exists in Harry Potter would not work).




No matter which topic you choose, you are required to have at least one

primary source (myth) and a minimum of five secondary sources (literary












EAC 297 – Myths and Legends-Research Essay Guidelines


25% of the mark in EAC 297 is allotted to a research essay due no later Monday of week twelve by 11:59 PM.  You are expected to submit your research essay to the digital drop-box found in the “Virtual Classroom” tab of Blackboard.  Because the due date for the research essay is near the end of our term, I cannot grant extensions.  There are five topics on the “suggested topics” sheet and you may choose whichever you wish.  If there is a topic not listed on this sheet that you’d like to explore, please don’t hesitate to ask me about it.  If you do choose another topic, you must clear it with me first.  The point of this research assignment is to provide a critical analysis of a myth of your choice.  Your thesis should be argumentative.  Your essay should be 5-7 double-spaced, typewritten pages in length (times new roman 12pt font with one inch margins).


Please remember that your primary source must be something that is written.  You cannot use a film for your primary source.  If you wish to use a comic book hero for a primary source, you must clear the topic with me first and you must acquire a copy of the comic book/graphic novel itself.  Also, you cannot use as a primary or secondary source anything found in our course textbook, especially if it was studied on the course. 


In your bibliography, you are expected to cite your primary source and no less than five secondary sources.  A secondary source is considered valid if it is literary criticism.  Some strong secondary sources that may be helpful for your essay include:


-Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces (the full version, not the abbreviated version in your text)

-Any of Joseph Campbell’s other works on mythology

-Carl Jung’s work Man and his Symbols

-Carl Jung’s work Four Arcetypes

– Otto Rank’s work The Myth of the Birth of the Hero

-Articles found in the Seneca College library databases


When searching for secondary sources, it is important to remember that you are not permitted to use anything obtained from the internet unless it was accessed through the Seneca College Databases.  This rule includes general interest sites (ex and articles attained through search engines (


It is also important to remember the distinction between primary and secondary sources.  If I have chosen Harry potter and the Deathly Hallows as my primary source, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone would not be a valid secondary source.  Harry potter and the Philosophers Stone would be another primary source (because it is fictional).


All papers will be checked for plagiarism on


In your research essay I urge you very strongly to avoid summarizing the plot of the myth that you’ve chosen.  The point is to develop a thesis and support that thesis through the body of your essay.  The suggested topics involve a reasonable amount of freedom and so you are required to generate your own thesis.  I urge you very strongly not to leave the assignment until the last minute.  If you are unsure of your topic please don’t hesitate to ask me about it.  I cannot write the essay for you, but I’d be happy to review essay outlines and make suggestions.














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