Ann Maksymowicz
Classical Mythology

The Hero Pattern applied to the life of singer Tori Amos

Tori Amos' mother's side of the family is Cherokee Indian, who could be considered the virgin people of the "United States" (1.). Her father is a Methodist minister (2.). Tori believes that she chose to become a member of the Amos family (4.); she is a big believer in past lives. Tori's grandparents-to-be forbade her mother to return home as a result of the stage of her pregnancy (6.). They thought that it would be risky to travel since Tori's mother was almost due to give birth to Tori. Tori's mother did not listen and decided to make the trip anyway.

Tori spent six years (from age five to age eleven) at Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory of Music (7.). She was able to live vicariously through the sixties with her older friends at the Conservatory (8.). Tori's variations on classical piano pieces was considered to be inappropriate (if not blasphemous) by her professors (16.). After she was not readmitted to the institute because of her style, Tori's father took her to area gay bars so that she would still be able to perform (11.).

Many people may not be familiar with the childhood Tori lived because she was born Myra Ellen and later decided to change her name, and her life (9.). Tori moved to the east coast so that she would be able to experiment more musically (17.). There she made her first album, "Y Kant Tori Read?", but it was not well accepted by the music industry (14.). This rejection almost caused Tori to stop performing. One of her close friends made her sit down at the piano and forced her to play (11.). This allowed her to begin the creative process for her first solo album, "Little Earthquakes." The making of "Little Earthquakes" also allowed her to cope with the rape she had experienced in the past. This was done through the cathartic song "Me and a Gun."

Her rape also encouraged her to form the organization R.A.I.N.N. R.A.I.N.N. Allows victims of rape and/or incest to seek out help (15.). One way that they do this is by paying for phone calls to hotlines since many victims may not be able to afford counseling on their own.

Tori Amos recently married her sound engineer (12.). Even though Tori Amos is still among the living, it is obvious that many people worship her (22.). Two examples are the many Toriphile websites, including the Church of Tori, and a character modeled after her that appears in the "Sandman" comic series. She is also considered to be a pixie goddess by many of her loyal fans (13.).

This application of Tori Amos to the hero pattern satisfies fifteen of the criteria to be considered a hero. I would hope that she does not meet any more only because that would mean that she dies mysteriously without any children. I also know that it is better to apply the hero pattern to individuals who have dies, but I believe that anyone can be a hero. Why should someone have to die before her or his achievements are recognized?

This document was placed on the web by a student in Professor Thomas J. Sienkewicz' CLAS230 Classical Mythology at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois.  If you have any questions, you may contact him at