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The 12 Steps to a Hero's Journey

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Ryan Bacic

on 6 May 2014

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Transcript of The 12 Steps to a Hero's Journey

Born on March 26, 1904 in White Planis, NY.
Alma Mater: Columbia University, University of Paris, University of Munich
Works: The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Oriental Mythology, Creative Mythology.
Death: October 30th, 1988, Honolulu, Hawaii
Obsessed with myth at a young age as he immersed himself with Irish Catholic rituals, and Native American beliefs.
While studying in Europe he discovered European artists such as Pablo Picasso, and psychologists such as Sigmund Freud, who lead him to believe that myth was a creation of the human psyche.
His first solo authorial work, which is also his most famous, is titled, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
This book is a study of the myth of a hero. It coined the monomyth, a universal pattern that is common to heroic tales in every culture.
Joseph Campbell
12 Stages of a Hero's Journey
12 Steps in Modern Stories
The 12 steps are seen time and time again in modern mythology.
George Lucas cites Campbell's monomyth as one of the main influences for the plot of Star Wars.
We will be relating the Hero's Journey to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
An originally drafted, 17 stage cycle, that can be found in many heroic narratives around the world.
Classic examples that Campbell drew influence from were Ancient Greek mythology, such as the epics of Osiris and Prometheus, and theological prophets, such as Moses and Gautama Buddha.
The basic essence of the monomyth is that it follows the epic of hero, who is initially stuck in a world common to him/her, who is then called into a world of adventure and self-discovery.
The hero discovers something about themselves that they didn't know, and has to use this new found knowledge to face a climactic ordeal, where if victorious, the hero is rewarded.
The monomyth is now commonly referred to as the "12 Stages in the Hero's Journey."
Clare Allen, Ryan Bacic, Kirk Basto, Nicole Dimas, Anthony Pietrangelo, Amanda Leonetti
The 12 Steps to a Hero's Journey
1. The Ordinary World
2. A Call to Adventure
3. Refusal of the Call
4. Meeting a Mentor
5. Crossing the First Threshold
6. Tests, Allies and Enemies
7. Approach to the Inmost Cave
8. The Supreme Ordeal
9. Reward for Seizing the Sword
10. The Road Back
11. Resurrection
12. Return with the Elixir
(These steps can be manipulated, changed and even eliminated depending on the story)
1. The Ordinary World
Harry Potter, residing in his normal, under the stairs in his aunt and uncle's house. Here he is denied the basic life of a child.
2. A Call to Adventure
Hagrid comes to the house where Harry and the Dursley's have moved to. Here Harry is told to go to Hogwarts.
Refusal to the Call
The refusal comes from Harry's uncle who does not allow Harry to open the letters from Hogwarts.
Hagrid becomes
Harry's mentor
He offers
both knowledge and emotional support for Harry.
4. Meeting a Mentor
5. Crossing the Threshold
Harry crosses the threshold at Diagon Ally. Here he sees what being a wizard is truly like and it projects him into a world of magic
6. Tests, Allies and Enemies
Test: Fighting the Troll
Allies: Meeting Ron and Hermione
Enemies: Professor Quirrell
7. Approach to the Inmost Cave
This occurs for Harry inside the cavern where he and his friends must use their new found skills to confront their inner fears and anxieties.
8. The Supreme Ordeal
The confrontation with Professor Quirrell/Voldemort. Harry needs to use his new found heroism in order to survive.
9. Seizing the Reward
The defeat of Voldemort and the attaining of the Sorcerer's Stone.
11. Resurrection
Harry waking up in the hospital bed. Harry realizes that he is a stronger person and a better wizard.
12. Return With the Elixir
Knowledge of a wizard world where is appreciated and he even calls it his home.
The acquisition of two close friends: Ron and Hermione.
Stronger in character, Harry is now a far more experience individual.
Why are these steps included in heroic narratives?
There is a single goal in mind of any author who wishes to write a heroic narrative: create a protagonist whom the audience will be empathetic towards.
An audiences empathy towards the protagonist of a heroic narrative, will result in the audience becoming more intertwined and captivated by the story.
The 12 steps to a hero's journey are utilized by authors of any genre, in order to create this narrative empathy.
The 12 steps to a hero's journey offers the audience the chance to follow in the adventures of a seemingly ordinary, or isolated, individual, as they become hero's of epic proportions.
This journey, and all the trials and tribulations that encompass it, strikes a feeling of empathy in the audience as they want to see epic tales that challenge them to become more than what they currently are.
These stages also allows the audience to create an emotional attach with the story it self, so that a greater understanding of the story can be created.
10. The Road Back
On Harry's journey home, he is not being chased by enemies. Rather, he is returning to his oppressive home with the Dersley's, but now he carries with him the knowledge that he is a wizard and a very important child.
12 Steps in Fifth Business
Dunstan, as the predominant role of Fifth Business, is the observer of action throughout the novel.
As a result, the 12 steps of a Hero's Journey in relation to Dunstan are primarily psychological in nature.
Rather than seeing observable changes in Dunstan's actions throughout the progression of the novel, as we do in Harry Potter, we see changes in Dunstan's disposition towards himself, his peers and his overall journey.
As the thoughts of human being tend to be scattered, the steps to a Hero's Journey will be out of order as a result.
Order of the 12 Steps
1. Ordinary World
2. Call to Adventure
5. Crossing the Threshold
4. Meeting the Mentor
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
7. Approach To The Inmost Cave
11. Resurrection
9. Reward
8. Supreme Ordeal
10. The Road Back
12. Return With The Elixir
12. Return with the Elixir
The return for Dunstan occurs when he goes back,
not to
a physical place, but rather to a previous mental

with the new found knowledge that he is Fifth
Dunstan states, as he rests in his home in Europe, "I have been cast by Fate and my own character for the vital though never glorious role of Fifth Business."
Dunstan has finally come to terms with the fact that he is merely the observer of action.
On top of this, Dunstan is no longer trying to run from his past. Instead he chooses to relate the entirety of his life's story, including parts that both show his pleasant and distasteful disposition, to his school's headmaster.
Dunstan has finally been able to escape the clutches of the guilt that has been holding his mind hostage.
1. The Ordinary World
Dunstan's ordinary world, in retrospect to his journey, beings with the premature birth of Paul Dempster.
Dunstan's mother has devoted a majority of her time caring for the infant Paul, and it has left Dunstan's house in a state of "disorganization."
With the constant state of disorganization in his household, the further weakened mental state of Mary Dempster, and the utter ugliness and frailty of the newborn Paul, Dunstan cites himself as the cause of it all.
Dunstan pinpoints the root of his mental anguish as he states “I was perfectly sure, you see, that the birth of Paul Dempster so small, so feeble and troublesome, was my fault.”
Here we see that Dunstan has just entered the now, ordinary world, of his guilty frame of mind.
Unlike like a traditional heroic narrative, the ordinary world, for Dunstan, is not a place he will eventually return to. Rather it is a place that he will have to gain knowledge, values, and skills in order to escape from.
2. The Call to Adventure (1)
• In relation to Dunstan’s journey, two specific calls to adventure can be cited.
• Dunstan’s first call to adventure is not so much a call as it as demand from his mother.
• As his mother was doing so much for the Dempster’s already, she required extra assistance in order to do the remedial, manual labour tasks which were necessary to complete.
• Dunstan was commanded by his mother to fulfill these tasks, and instead of resisting, Dunstan is compliment with his mother’s demand.
• Dunstan alludes to this instance as one that “brought me much into the company of Mrs. Dempster.”
• As he spends more and more time with her, and the town begins to isolate her more and more, Dunstan beings to obsess over Mrs. Dempster as he states “the stranger her conduct became, and the more the village pitied and dismissed her, the worse my obsession grew.”
• Through his mother’s command, Dunstan has been able to transform his guilt into an obsession over Mrs. Dempster, which will eventually manifest itself into his journey.
2. Call to Adventure (2)
• Dunstan’s second call to adventure is when he wants to go back to Europe for a second time in order to search for the little Madonna.
• Before he comes home from Europe, Dunstan exclaims that he became “a happy goat, who had wandered into the wondrous enclosed garden of hagiology, and I grazed greedily and contentedly.”
• Dunstan has now combined his obsession over Mrs. Dempster, which was brought on by his incessant guilt, with a new found love of studying saints. Dunstan has found hagiology, the study of saints, during his second calling and will now fully embark on his journey in attempting to prove that Mrs. Dempster was in fact, a saint.

5. Crossing The Threshold
• In this one instance, Dunstan’s crossing of the threshold has nothing to do with his journey, initially.
• Dunstan crosses the first threshold when he decides to enlist in the army and go off to fight in the Great War, in order to escape his mother and Mary Dempster.
• While in Europe, Dunstan is thrust into a completely foreign setting as he had “never been away from home before.”
• Dunstan relates his inner most feelings as he states “I was desperately homesick.”
• Dunstan’s decision to go off to fight in the war introduces him to a world that he is in no way familiar with. This unfamiliar setting forces Dunstan to mature, and exposes him to the irrational actions that occur in men when war arises. (Decision to raid the German machine gun nest).
• While in the war Dunstan’s true journey advances as well, as he is exposed to the little Madonna for the first time, an event that will eventually compel him to come back to Europe.

4. Meeting the Mentor
Dunstan acquaints himself with three main mentors that assist him throughout his journey, in a variety of ways.
These mentors are Diana Marfleet, Padre Blazon, and Liesl.
Diana Marfleet:
Diana becomes Dunstan’s mentor in both a physical and an emotional sense.
Padre Blazon:
Padre Blazon proves to be the most significant mentor for Dunstan, in regards to the overall progression of his journey.
Padre Blazon makes Dunstan question the very notions as to why he is attempting to prove that Mrs. Dempster was a saint.
Liesl is the mentor responsible for addressing Dunstan to his true role as Fifth Business.
As a mentor, Liesl challenges Dunstan to acknowledge the one person that he has ignored throughout the entirety of his journey; Dunstan Ramsay.
6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies
• The biggest test placed upon Dunstan throughout the entirety of the novel comes in the form of the friendship that he endures with his friend, and enemy, Percy Boy Staunton.
• The petty quarrels between Dunstan and Percy when they were children, led to underlying animosities between the two that would continue to follow the two diametrically opposed characters far into adulthood.
• However, the rivalry between the two boys escalated following the snowball incident with Mary Dempster.
• The blatant inability of Percy to admit that he was the cause of Paul’s premature birth, drove an insurmountable stake between the two boys.
• When questioned about whether or not this is truly what he thinks, Percy responds with “you bet it’s what I think.”
• This proved to leave Dunstan alone with his guilt, and Percy was left to live in blissful ignorance throughout the rest of his life.

6. Tests, Allies and Enemies (2)
• When Dunstan ventures off to study at the University of Toronto he is again confronted by Percy.
• This time, Percy seems to have a far more pleasant demeanor towards Dunstan, who states “he must have liked me.”
• This sudden change in attitude towards Dunstan, has compelled Percy to rely to him investment opportunities, which have allowed Dunstan to lay the “foundation for the modest but pleasant fortune” that he has attained in his senior years.
• However, Dunstan makes it a priority to point out the fact that this “kind of liking… was not easy to bear.”

6. Tests, Allies and Enemies (3)
• Throughout the relationship between Dunstan and Percy, there would prove to be many prominent tests that would challenge Dunstan’s current course of action and mental state.
• The most evident of these occurs when Dunstan is being shown photos of Leola, Percy’s wife whom Dunstan desires, directly in front of Leola.
• Out of embarrassment, Leola states that she’s does not want “Dunny to see them while I’m here.”
• As an act of pure dominance, Percy is trying to exemplify the fact to Dunstan that Leola is his bride.
• At the same time, Percy is also putting Dunstan’s current mental state to the test as he knows fully well, that an action like this will more than likely provoke a response.
• However, Dunstan does not respond, he does not say a single word, and rather lets the night continue the way that it had been progressing.

8. Supreme Ordeal
The supreme ordeal, for Dunstan, occurs during his confrontation with Percy and Paul.
In this instance, Dunstan is finally able to come to terms with the guilt that has been gnawing away at his mind for years.
Dunstan expresses his inner most thoughts, the factors that led him on this journey, as he states "a form of piety. A sense of guilt unexpiated. Indolence. I have alway been meaning to put them in some proper place..."
Dunstan is now able to face the entirety of emotions that have corrupted his mind throughout the majority of his life.
Dunstan finally confronts the ordinary world of this peculiar mental state, and through a confrontation withe Percy and Paul, is attempting to escape from the aforementioned world.
7. Approach to the Inmost Cave
Dunstan's approach to his inner most cave occurs when he travels to Brussels to work with the order of the Jesuits.
As Dunstan enters the library of the College de Saint-Michael, Dunstan is amazed at the sight of over hundred and fifty thousand books about saints.
However, Dunstan often finds himself reflecting upon his life, his endeavors, and his overall purpose in life.
Dunstan criticizes himself as he states "Dunstan Ramsay, what on earth arer you doing here, and where do you think this is leading?"
Later on he attempts to focus his attention upon getting his life together as he states "Wake up, man! You are dreaming your life away!"
However, no matter how hard he tries to escape from this misguided path, he simply cannot remove himself from the trail as he soon finds himself pondering the events of Mary Magdalene's life.
Dunstan's approach to his inner most cave occurs only for a brief; there is no profound effect that occurs when he attempts to personally turn his life around.
Only when an outside source relates to him the true place that he is headed towards, does Dunstan recognizes the detrimental significance of his actions.
Relation to Hamlet
Shakespeare, having no knowledge as to what the 12 steps of a Hero's Journey were, managed to utilize them in their entirety.
This can be seen quite evidently in Hamlet.
Although the audience is never subjected Hamlet in his former ordinary world of harmony, they are given glimpses into this former life of the Prince throughout the progression of the plot.
The audience is then forced to picture a time in which Hamlet was sane, happy, loved, and filled with hope.
This creates an emotional attachment to the protagonist as now, after cycling through Hamlet's former life, the audience can fully see the disheartening development of character who becomes selfish, hated, isolated, and suicidal.
11. Resurrection
Dunstan's resurrection moment occurs after the fight with Liesl.
Upon the conclusion of the fight, Liesl reveals everything in his life that he has either looked, or simply ignored.
She relates to him the importance of acting, in accordance with good virtue, to one's self, as she states, "you are a decent chap to everybody, except one special person, and that is Dunstan Ramsay."
More importantly, Liesl reveals to Dunstan the role that he fills in life.
She tells Dunstan that he is neither the man who acts, nor is he an extraneous character, he is merely the observer; he is fifth business.
Dunstan has now been resurrected anew. This revelation of imperative knowledge has finally allowed Dunstan to recognize the role that he fills in life.
While this role may be shocking to Dunstan, it allows him to put his mind at ease, and pursue the conclusion of his journey.
9. Reward
The reward becomes evident after the fight with Lisel, although it is never proclaimed.
The reward for Dunstan is a new found sense of courage and complete recognition of the self.
Dunstan now has the courage to gather Percy and Paul together in order to finally proclaim his guilt, and attempt to do away with this useless emotion.
With this new found recognition the self, Dunstan finally recognizes who he truly is in life, and with that knowledge he is able to live his life in peace.
Dunstan is now finally able to have the courage, and self-recognition, necessary in order to retell the entirety of his, both beneficial, and detrimental aspects.
10. The Road Back
For Dunstan, the road back occurs upon learning that Paul murdered Percy.
This shocking revelation appears to be too much for Dunstan as he states, "I had my seizure, and was to the hospital."
While in his hospital bed, Dunstan receives a postcard from Lisel which beckons back to Europe, "I beg you not to resist this one: come to Switzerland and join the Basso and the Brazen Head."
With the rewards that Dunstan has been able to accumulate, he evidently decides to head back to Europe in order to begin his life anew, with all of the virtues he has finally attained.
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