(German 298a, Comp Lit 200a, Lit 298c)
What makes a hero? Why do we need heroes? What happens when heroes fail us? In this course, we explore the characteristics of heroes in literature and film from antiquity to today. The formal and psychological structures of heroism will be analyzed under the rubrics of admiration, identification, seduction, and disillusionment. We will interrogate how both genre and gender impact the representation of heroes, and examine characters such as Achilles, Odysseus, Ms. Marvel, Antigone, Jesus, Satan, Buddha, Zarathustra, Winnetou, Wonder Woman (and other Amazonian Warrior Princesses), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Students will work in groups on creative projects to create heroes of their own.
- Students will write one essay over the course of the quarter on their own heroes. They will work on the formal, critical, and rhetorical elements of this essay in three installments, expanding and revising as they go. (Option for W Credit)