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The Hero's Journey - The Wizard of Oz

The Hero's journey or Monomyth explained through the 1939 film 'The Wizard of Oz'

Darci Smith

on 14 March 2013

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Transcript of The Hero's Journey - The Wizard of Oz

The Hero's Journey The Theory... Joseph Campbell
Best known as an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, Joseph Campbell examined mythology and mythic figures in various cultures. He believed that all stories were different forms of the same storyline or pattern. Each story represents the monomyth (Hero's journey). He found a sequence of actions could be found in many "The cave you fear to enter, holds the treasure you seek" - Joseph Campbell stories. In 1949 Campbell published a book called 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces' retelling a variety of stories from all different cultures and explaining how all of them represents the monomyth. He believed that humans created stories with the monomyth to help themselves overcome their own life challenges as they are comforted in the thought that hero's have faced similar before. But what is the Hero's Journey? Call to Adventure: The Hero of the story is faced with a problem, challenge or adventure. It is something out of the characters ordinary living and usually comfort zone. Presenting the Hero with a challenge or adventure they have not yet faced. This is the based of the Hero’s Journey and is usually what they story is based around. Example: This can be seen in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy makes the decision to run away her farm home to protect her dog Toto after Mrs. Gulch has an order to put him down. The Hero's Journey is Joseph Campbells Monomyth put into simple steps. This can be seen in many stories. For Example: The Wizard of Oz.
Though The Wizard of Oz may not have a crime fighting hero it still follows the guidelines of the hero's journey. Assistance: This is when the hero requires help or receives help from a mentor. The mentor is usually older and/or wiser then the hero, sometimes having experienced a similar challenge or journey in the past. Giving him or her guidance or advice to set them on the right track. The mentor can only go so far with the hero as they must complete majority of it by themselves. Example: Professor Marvel sets Dorothy on the right track and encourages her to go back home and make mends with her aunty and uncle. Departure: The crossing of the worlds. This is when the hero leaves their ordinary lifestyle and enters the special world where he or she must face their challenges. It may not necessarily be a physical environment that they have entered into but a mental or emotional one. Example: When Dorothy arrives home there is a huge Tornado. When she gets inside of her house, it is lifted up by the tornado and taken to Oz. Trials: This step can be called many different things. It is when the hero encounters a different challenge and test, makes allies and enemies and begins to learn the rules and environment of the special world. The hero is set on a journey in the special world with a goal. Example: Dorothy's goal is to find the wizard of Oz by following the yellow Brick Road. In the hopes that he will be able to send her back to Kansas. On the way, Dorothy makes friends the the scarecrow, the tin-man and the lion. And also makes enemies with the wicked witch as she is wearing the ruby red shoes that hold a lot of power to the witch. Approach: The hero will come to a very dangerous place in the story and usually confronted or connected with their enemy. This is often the time in the story when the ‘big battle’ scene occurs. Is usually the most dangerous place in the special world. Heroes often pause here to prepare, plan and outwit the villain. Example: After going and seeing the Wizard of Oz, he tells her she needs to bring back the wicked witches broomstick. Dorothy sets off, with her friends, to the wicked witches castle. Crisis: This the the darkest time of the hero’s journey. They have lost their battle or something important to them. There appears to be no way out or resolution. The hero is faced with failure/forfeiture or even death. Example: While Dorothy is heading to the wicked witches castle, she is taken by flying monkeys (The witches minions) and captured. This is so the witch will be able to take the ruby red shoes. Treasure: After passing the hero’s major test, they will rewarded with an object, a message or knowledge symbolizing their goal. This reward can be the main reason or goal for the hero’s adventure and journey. Example: Dorothy and her friends (The Lion, The Scarecrow and the Tin-man) all defeat the witch and take the broom needed to get home. Result: This is not the end of the hero’s journey but merely the turning point. The hero still faces events and dangers on their return journey but all manage to sort themselves out. Example: Dorothy's visits the Wizard of Oz again and discovers that her journey has made her realize the importance of family. Return: This is when the hero can return back to their ordinary world and home. The hero returns to the ordinary world, but the journey is meaningless unless some elixir, treasure, or special lesson is brought back. If this does not occur, the hero is doomed to repeat the whole process, though in a different story. Dorothy finds out that the only way to get home is with the knowledge of how important family is and is able to go home by clicking her heels together in the ruby red shoes. New Life: Once the hero returns back to their ordinary life, they are no longer the same. Their views and morals have been changed. Example: Once Dorothy has returned home she make mends with her aunty and uncle. She realizes the value of family and the importance of a home. Resolution: Hero must be reborn and cleansed after returning from the special world.Hero returns to the ordinary world, but the journey is meaningless unless they bring back some elixir, treasure, or lesson from the special world. The Status Quo is the hero's current lifestyle and mindset. This occurs both before and after the hero's journey. However, The hero's status quo will have changed after their life changing experience. Example: This can be seen in the wizard of Oz as Dorothy believes she will never fit in or be accepted in her world. After visiting Oz she realizes that she was always accepted at her home in Kansas. Example: This is very similar to 'New Life' in the Wizard of Oz as Dorothy realizes the value of family and home and has a stronger bond with her aunty and uncle than she did before her journey to the special world (Oz).
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