Archetypes in “Where the Great Bear Watches”

In this story the protagonist is a young Inuit boy who is paddling through the ocean and admiring the animals and land which he calls home. The protagonist does not show any superhuman gifts or extraordinary talents rather he is quite normal. He is brave as he says “I am alone but not afraid”(Where the Great Bear Watches), this is an admiral trait but nothing extraordinary. He is the Everyman hero, he does not possess any special abilities but rather he has the admiral traits which make him a hero. He is thankful, brave, smart, and a provider for his family and sled dogs.

The story follows Phil Cousineau`s model of the heroes journey, the story starts off with step number 1 when the young boy sets off on his journey on his kayak to hunt for meat. He continues on his journey to the road of trails which is step 2 where he faces his fears of being alone and surrounded by the animals. Step 3 is the vision quest, this is fulfilled when the hero calls out the the “Great Bear” to make a truce with it. Step 4 the meeting, the hero calls out to the bear yet again and is not replied to by the bear but rather the wind, showing that the bear is not interested in the boy. Step 5 the boon occurs when the boy realizes that the bear is not there to hurt him and he has nothing to worry about. The hero then remembers the purpose of his journey, to provide meat for his family and sled dogs, thus fulfilling step number 6, the magic flight. Moving towards the end the hero fulfils his purpose of being the master of the two worlds, mastering the wild and being able to provide for his family back in his village, fulfilling the last step of the heroes journey.

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