Heroic/Anti-Heroic Narratives: The Quests of Sherron Watkins

Mark Hillon, William Smith, Gabriel Isaacs


With the recent collapse of Enron and the need for sense-making, opinions of Sherron Watkins'status in the Enron spectacle abound. Competing narratives portray her as both heroic whistleblower and anti-hero of corporate greed. Was she a hero or not? Rather than add to this dialectic controversy, we first define the classical typology of a hero as originally set forth by Homer and later detailed by Joseph Campbell. We next analyze the texts of Watkins' quest chronology in order to elucidate the complex circumstances surrounding the creation of both narratives. The textual analysis then leads to a clarification of the anti-hero typology, followed by a new prototype, the quasi-hero, which possesses some classical hero attributes, yet is devoid of other essential qualities. Our contribu- tion extends the current hero typology, thereby providing a necessary expanse of classification for understanding today's corporate spectacles. 

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