Hero's Journey Defined

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The Hero’s Journey is a specific pattern found in films, this is called a Monomyth and was described by Joseph Campbell in his film, The Hero with a thousand faces. Joseph described the Hero’s Journey to follow three specific phases; Departure, Initiation, and Return. The Hero’s Journey according to Joseph is about growth and learning, escaping a boring ordinary life and entering an extraordinary life with a new level of skill, awareness, and responsibility. A hero is a person who has given their life to something or someone bigger than himself. In order to even be considered a Hero, one has to be a male, often his parents are detached or absent from his life. A hero usually has a boring, ordinary life, where he is often criticized for his actions or is treated as an unequal. Sometimes a hero may have hidden powers or abilities that they do not know about, but will later discover.

In a Hero’s Journey the Departure phase consists of five steps, Call to adventure, Refusal, A mentor or companion, Crossing the threshold, and Belly of the whale. The call to adventure is when the hero is summoned to the quest, often to save the goddess in distress. Refusal occurs after the call to adventure and is when the hero will refuse the call out of fear and lack of confidence in him self. The mentor will come into the hero’s life and offers the hero knowledge and prepare him for his adventure to come, and convinces him to embark on the quest. As the hero prepares to exit the ordinary world and enter the special world, he will have to Cross the threshold to begin his journey. After crossing the threshold the hero will become trapped or has an obstacle that he must over come, this is known as The belly of the whale.

The next phase of the hero...

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...n the menor and enjoy bringing chaos into the ordinary world.

The Hero's Journey has specific elements that make it the Hero's Journey, but a story does not have to go in the exact order that Joseph Campbell oulined it. If a story hits all the required stages, it doesn't have to be in order, but if it leaves out major parts, like the transformation of the hero, it can no longer be considered a Hero's Journey. The transformation of the hero is the key component throuhout the entire story and it can not be ignored because it is the meaning of the hero becoming the master of two worlds. Other parts of the Hero's Journey can be left out for example, there is not always a refusal in the first phase. This can be left out because it is not a major step and does not effect the Hero's ability to learn and enter back into the ordinary world with new knowledge and abilities.
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