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On Writing: Amulet and Elixir

I have always been a fan of Joseph Campbell, one of America’s most important thinkers and a prolific writer who has influenced generations with his philosophy. His ideas of the hero struck a chord after I read The Hero with a Thousand Faces and I could see them represented in many of my favorite movies, television shows, books, and fairy tales.

No matter how strong the hero is, however, he or she is given help, usually in the form of some protective figure like the fairy godmother in many fairy tales. In addition to providing the hero with guidance and help, the protective figure often gives the hero a very powerful tool, the amulet or the elixir.

Examples of this abound in fiction, but they exist in real life as well. On April 15th, after the tragedy in Boston, NBC Sports reported that runners donated blood. They ran another 2 miles to the nearest hospital (on top of the 26 miles of the marathon) to provide this life-saving elixir to their friends and neighbors. Their selfless actions will help those injured to recover. To me, the runners exemplify the protective figures that every hero needs in his/her life.

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