The Hero’s Journey

by RS on July 18, 2013

No, I haven’t read Joseph Campbell or maybe I did in college? I can’t recall. Nevertheless, the hero’s journey is brought up often in fiction. What is it exactly? It’s based on the monomyth. It’s a pattern that’s found in many novels and films. Campbell described it in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The term was borrowed James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

According to Campbell, a number of myths from different eras and regions share basic structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

Need a better example and less time-consuming one to understand it?  Here’s a video produced by Glove and Boots.

And if you like charts, here’s one that I made based on one that D.D. Falvo (you all know her as my friend Denise) created. As you can see, I filled it out and included who I thought fit in each category.

The Hero's Journey

You don’t necessarily need to have all these elements in your story, but I was actually surprised that I have them so I guess I must have studied Campbell in college because it all seemed to ring a bell.

Now off to your own journeys!

 

3 comments
cecilieaux
cecilieaux

My problem with Campbell is that he is a fraud. He stole everything from Jung, whose works he translated into English, and then credited himself for Jung's ideas.

D D Falvo
D D Falvo

I love the monomyth writing theory. Nice job on introducing a beloved writer's tool. :D

RebecaSchiller
RebecaSchiller moderator

@D D Falvo Thank you! But you deserve the big kudos for posting the video on P&P and for creating the chart. I'm just the messenger. 

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