Epic Quests – The Hero’s Journey (Part 1)

This image outlines the basic path of the mono...

Image via Wikipedia

This is the first half of a discussion on The Hero’s Journey. The idea of this format or template for myth, legend, fiction and drama was identified by Joseph Campbell, an American scholar. A selection of the stages, if not every step, can be seen in all literature that deals with a hero archetype.

The Seven Steps Are:

  1. The Ordinary World. The hero is at home, doing his/her normal thing, same as every day. There’s probably something that’s not going right for him/her; something that’s causing him/her conflict. [From here on I’m just going to call the hero him, as in most mythological and legendary sources the hero is a guy. Unfair, but historically correct. Plus it’s annoying to write and read him/her every few seconds.]
  2. The Call To Adventure. Something big happens. The little annoying problem suddenly becomes worse and can no longer be ignored, or a simmering conflict explodes. Whatever the case may be, it needs the hero’s attention and action.
  3. Refusal of The Call. The hero freaks. Up to now he’s lived a life he’s used to, and now everything starts to change. He’s afraid to act, and doesn’t know what to do.
  4. Meeting With The Mentor. The hero meets a wise, mature, possibly mystical person who helps him and guides him on his way. He teaches him and persuades him to take up the quest. Mentors are the Gandalfs, Yodas and Dumbledores of the world.
  5. Crossing The Threshold. The hero takes te first step in his journey, doing something he can never take back. He’s committed to his task and can’t just turn home. He must complete it.
  6. Tests, Allies and Enemies. He fights people, makes friends, gets stuck in quicksand. The usual hero stuff.
  7. Approach. Everything’s getting more tense, the conflict is building up…

I’ll finish going through the next few stages of the Hero’s Journey in a new post within two day’s time, and compare it to some old stories and some modern books. I’ll also be posting a poll on which types of Posts you prefer.

Meanwhile, I’ve committed to posting at least one paragraph a day. You may have noticed that a few of my previous posts have grainy pictures as I snapped these with my phone and emailed he post in. I apologise for the quality, but I decided it was better than leaving it ’til I had computer access. Which actually came sooner than I thought…

Anyway, it will be all mobile posts next week as I’ll be camping. Sorry about any typos, as there’s no spell checker on my phone.



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