Department Chair

Ralph L. Wahlstrom, Ph.D.. Associate Professor of English

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

English, M.A.


English Department


Karen Sands-O'Connor, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English

Department Home page

First Reader

Craig Werner, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English

Second Reader

Aimable Twagilimana, Ph.D, Professor of English


This thesis argues that Harry Potter, the main character in the series of novels written by J.K. Rowling, is a mythic hero. A character in literature deemed a hero can only be a mythic hero by completing a series of events both predetermined and determined by the hero. Joseph Campbell’s work A Hero With a Thousand Faces outlines these qualities a character must possess and the events he must complete in his life called the initiation, the departure, and the return of the hero. Using Campbell’s seminar work as a critical perspective, I read the protagonist of the Harry Potter novels as a mythic hero. Starting life with nothing, he overcomes his circumstances while remaining virtuous and strong. His strength and virtue allow him to rid the wizarding world of evil, thus solidifying his status of a mythic hero.