Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2012

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Martina Sciolino

Advisor Department



Monomyth’ is the term coined by James Joyce and popularized by Joseph Campbell in his seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Its structure is delineated by Campbell, and it follows that of the traditional heroic myths that permeate human culture and history. Margaret Atwood’s two companion novels, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, incorporate Campbell’s monomyth and transplant it into the realm of postmodern dystopia. In this way, Atwood offers an escape from the existential dilemmas that face the postmodern subjectivity through the self-perpetuated, neo-shamanic journey toward the recognition of immanence. The monomyth bridges this immanence with the separateness of the physical world, embodied by the individual hero, and thus the monomyth functions as a tool for understanding human existence.