Hero or Victim?
by Meredith B. Mitchell, Ph. D.
Meredith B. Mitchell (1995)
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (7/06)
Dr. Mitchell has used a simple, direct writing style to introduce Jungian theory and concepts as it relates to understanding the hero and the victim in everyone’s personality. One of the primary purposes of the book is to provide vivid descriptions of the characteristics of the hero and victim within so that we can recognize these inborn parts of ourselves when they emerge.
In a unique and fanciful way Dr. Mitchell draws illustrations and examples from an amazing repertoire of myths, and fairy tales to bring to life the hero and victim in each of us. These fictional and fantasy characters help in our self examination of the hero and victim within us.
I personally enjoyed the delightful Lithuanian tale “The Fairy of the Dawn. ” Petru’s story describes dedication, commitment, and the persistence as the hero’s charge to kill a dragon. We learn from this story: “For the hero to act means to take risks and make sacrifices. ” According to Jung, “This is the highest level principle that operates within us”. The stories of “Jack the Cunning Thief”, “Big Klaus and Little Klaus” and “The Two Brothers, ” are also used to illustrate the development of the hero.
Mitchell states: “The hero’s journey is an inner journey to gain understanding of the reasons for our behavior…with the resulting understanding and insights, we can more effectively return to approach life’s problems with what we have discovered about ourselves. ”
The chapter on Heroism in Communication was particularly interesting and helpful to me personally.
Detailed tables within the text are valuable tools for further study and for future reference. The format and detailed presentation of these tables add a scholarly dimension to the book. Dr. Mitchell provides practical tools for the individual reader for developing strengths, potential, and talents. He provides perceptive advice for personal healing. This is more than self help book. It can be useful as a reference for the lay and professional counselor.
Dr. Mitchell’s more than twenty-five years as a clinical psychologist, President of The C. G. Jung Institute, University Professor, and Lecturer validate his qualification to author this remarkable book.
In “Hero or Victim” Dr. Mitchell has presented indispensable insights for anyone who has ever felt victimized, for those looking for hope in facilitating their life journey, and for those providing private counsel in the area of victimization.