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The Hero's Journey
Transcript of The Hero's Journey
The ONLY Story Ever Told
Why does this matter?
Universal -- every culture, every time
Most profound and enduring truths
Most persistent theme
It's the basis for every story ever told, including our own lives!
The Father of the Journey
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Call to Adventure
Refusal of the Call
Meeting the Mentor *
Crossing the Threshold
Road of Trials: Tests, Allies, and Enemies
Approaching the Cave *
The Road Back
Death and Resurrection
Freedom to Live/
Master of Two Worlds
The Ordinary World
The Special World
A Hero on a physical &/or emotional journey
Hero grows and changes
Not just epic adventures
Almost every story follows this framework
The beginning of a story
Characters, setting, basic situation, beginnings of conflict(s)
Where the hero lives
Very normal, even boring
Hero often lacking something
Establish what's at stake
Hero presented with a challenge or conflict that must be solved
May be more than one call
Internal or External
Could be a message, declaration of war, temptation, sudden disappearance, etc.
May even be an actual "call"
Natural to refuse the call at first
Opportunity to bond with the Hero
Must be overcome -- persistent refusal can lead to tragedy
Some willing Heroes will just accept the call (no refusal at all)
Emotional suspense -- Is the Hero ready? Can he do it?
* can happen any time early in the story
The Mentor helps prepare the Hero for the Journey
Not necessarily a character; can be something within the Hero
Often an experienced Hero who's already been on a Journey
May only appear once or may return throughout the story
Can change to a Threshold Guardian* or a villain
*What's a Threshold Guardian?
Will test the Hero with fears, doubts, and questions
Not usually the main villain or antagonist
Can be positive, negative, or neutral
Hero can be his/her own Threshold Guardian
Mentor may act as a Threshold Guardian to teach or train
Purpose is to demonstrate the Hero is ready for the Journey
Return with the "Elixir"
Hero decides to embark on the journey and crosses over into the special world.
Can be physical, emotional, and/or psychological
External "crossings" -- villain hurts someone, rough weather forces a ship to sail, hero runs out of options, etc.
Internal "crossings" -- Hero must make a decision, can't go on without making a change, etc.
Often, a concrete difference between the Ordinary World and the Special World
Requires a "leap of faith" for the hero
The journey begins in earnest
The stakes are higher
Different rules, don't know who to trust
Requests must be honored by the hero
The local "watering hole" is extremely important
One of the most important tests is figuring out the "rules" of the Special World and who can be trusted
Hero is confronted with increasingly difficult challenges
Character is highlighted and developed
Enemies may be the villain or his helpers
Events may begin a chain reaction
Hero must prepare for his biggest test yet -- gathering supplies, preparing for battle, etc
Hero on his own, must use all he's learned; may be a (seemingly) impossible task
Usually another threshold (with a Guardian)
Hero may pause -- builds tension
No exit at the end of the approach -- the Hero must enter the cave
* The lair of the dreaded enemy
Crisis (NOT the climax)
Battle with the Hero's primary villain
Hero must be victorious to earn the Reward (Elixir) and get back home
Internal or external
Hero will be forever changed
Acts like a true hero and a native to the Special World
Hero takes possession of whatever he/she came for (treasure, love, knowledge, etc)
Often the reward is an ELIXIR -- medicine, potion, or knowledge
May be a self-realization or epiphany
The journey isn't over, but there's a celebration for now
Hero has to choose to go back to his Ordinary World
Hero is tested and demonstrates what he has learned; will have to face a final test
Rededication to the journey; must leave the comfort of the Special World
Retaliation from villains and set backs are possible
Shift in purpose -- the Hero has what he came for, now he has to get back home
The CLIMAX of the story
The secret of the Journey: The Hero must DIE and be REBORN!
Stakes are highest for the Hero; he may have to sacrifice something to show he has changed
Death is usually metaphoric, but can be literal
Hero is reborn, forever changed, and cleansed of fears, but retaining the lessons learned in the Special World
"Old" Hero is completely dead and the "new" Hero returns to the Ordinary World
Death and Resurrection may occur one after the other or at separate times
Hero returns home, forever changed
Elixir is the key to the final stage; the hero must share something with others back in the Ordinary World (antidote, knowledge, love, money, etc)
Return also includes handing out of final rewards and punishments
Returning home and sharing the Elixir prove that the Hero has completed his journey
The end of the story
The "problem" has been resolved or worked out
Does not have to be a happy ending, just an end to the conflict (for now)
Freedom to Live - having overcome the trials and found what may have been "missing" in the beginning, the hero has earned the right to live life as he/she chooses.
The life of the hero from here may take many paths, often one of wisdom. They may become rulers, teachers or advisers. They may get married and settle down or perhaps go adventuring again.
Master of Two Worlds - the hero is now a master of both the ordinary and special worlds and can pass over the threshold between the two without further tests
Traditional Plot Line*
*NO! TOO BORING!
Mrs. Jessica Sharp
English Teacher, Buckeye Valley High School
Talisman - a weapon or protective device given to the hero that will be useful on the journey.
Supernatural Aid - a supernatural helper may be the one to give the hero the talisman or to tell him or her about it/how to use it.
Makes hero wiser, stronger, better able to face the challenges of the adventure.
Talisman may be discovered by the hero, but is often furnished by a mentor of some kind.
Can be obtained, appear, or be used at any time in the story, even before the hero crosses the threshold.
"The Belly of the Whale" is a dangerous place for the hero because, for the first time, he faces challenges and/or danger alone.
The hero may enter the "belly of the whale" as soon as he crosses into the Special World or later in his journey.
Based on the Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale.
The Belly of the Whale