Sunday, October 5, 2014

Begin the Week with Words

This is a simplified version of the Hero's Journey**

My ninth grade Honors English class just finished studying Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, which I took from The Hero With a Thousand Faces. What a great study, showing how all stories connect to each other and ultimately to our lives. To do this we read an easy comprehension text, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. The storyline was easy, but the thought processes were not. Tracking a 17 step journey took some extra attention. We then watched Bruce Willis's movie, 16 Blocks. Not only did I randomly watch the movie years back and realize it fits the Hero's Journey perfectly, but it also has an amazing quote in its alternate ending that is the epitome of the Hero's Journey:

“When man faces destiny, his destiny ends and the man becomes who he really is.” Andre Malraux

I had chills when I heard it. The Hero's Journey completely embraces the idea of becoming a better person, or becoming who you really are. Also, my point of connectedness between text and life was made so well, so crystal clear. Also in the Hero's Journey, the hero has a point of realization where the world he left and the world of his journey are connected in some way. It's not that he needed the new place or new landscape necessarily, but that he needed new eyes to see what was before him all along. 16 Blocks is a cop chaser movie, there's no mythology, so Bruce Willis stays firmly planted in New York City on the planet Earth. And yet, the journey he goes through makes him see the world around him gives him new eyes.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

Who says fiction doesn't teach us about life? Fiction is life's Hero Journey.



  1. Replies
    1. There are some quotes you just want to wrap yourself up in because the truth is so strong!

  2. You looking at the graph depicted above..., I could see this being used to plot out a book. Like a different sort of structure I could use to outline. (Yeah, thinking about actually outlining this next one and avoid some headaches!) It says "simplified version." I'm thinking I can Google and get it - the completed version?

    1. Yes, Google will bring up more detailed versions. Or even if you look for the actual text explanation of the journey. Campbell was a mythologist, so the steps are written about mythological things, but can be applied to the most realistic of circumstances.

      The cool thing is Campbell made this charted journey from the most common elements he found in already existing stories. People generally write following this model without even knowing it - hence the connectedness factor.