Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark

4 April 2015
A critical review of the novel, focusing on the protagonist’s definition as a classic hero.

The paper shows how the journey of Thea Kronborg, the protagonist in Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark, models a classic hero’s journey, as defined by Joseph Campbell. She experiences the three primary life stages of departure, initiation, and return, which result in a personal odyssey. These three stages are explored in-depth, to highlight Thea’s identification with a classic hero.
The coming-of-age story of Thea Kronborg in Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark models a classic hero’s journey, as defined by Joseph Campbell. She experiences the three primary life stages of departure, initiation, and return, which result in a personal odyssey. Within the departure stage is a call to adventure which the hero initially refuses. She can eventually succeed, with supernatural aid, to cross the first threshold, and into belly of the whale. Having experienced a rebirth after struggling within this belly, the hero begins the initiation stage. On the road of trials, he has a meeting with a goddess and struggles with woman as a temptress. In Thea’s modernized case, this is a struggle to define and identify her love for a man. The hero then experiences atonement with her father, apotheosis, and an ultimate boon. The final return stage begins with a refusal of the return, followed by a magic flight and a rescue from without before finally crossing the return threshold to become master of the two worlds. The final result is the hero establishing that she has freedom to live. The story deviates from the model in one notable aspect: Thea does not return to her roots in body but in spirit.

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Willa Cather's The Song of the Lark. (2015, Apr 23). Retrieved July 7, 2020, from https://newyorkessays.com/essay-willa-cathers-the-song-of-the-lark/
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