Hero’s journey

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Definition and Origin
– The hero’s journey is a common template in stories involving a hero on an adventure.
– It is also known as the monomyth.
– Psychoanalyst Otto Rank and amateur anthropologist Lord Raglan proposed similar concepts earlier.
– Joseph Campbell popularized hero myth pattern studies.
– Campbell’s book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” describes the narrative pattern.

Key Elements
– The hero starts in the world of common day.
– They venture into a region of supernatural wonder.
– Encounter fabulous forces and achieve a decisive victory.
– Return from the adventure transformed.
– Gain the power to benefit others from the experience.

Influence and Criticism
– Campbell was influenced by Carl Jung’s analytical psychology.
– Hero myth pattern studies were used to analyze and compare religions.
– Scholars, particularly folklorists, have criticized Campbell’s monomyth concept.
– Criticisms include non-scholarly approach and source-selection bias.
– Recent analysis views the hero’s journey as an example of the sympathetic.

Application in Literature and Film
– The hero’s journey template is widely used in literature and film.
– Many famous stories and movies follow this narrative structure.
– Writers often use the hero’s journey as a guide for crafting compelling narratives.
– It provides a framework for character development and plot progression.
– Audiences are drawn to stories that adhere to the hero’s journey structure.

Cultural Significance
– The hero’s journey is a universal concept found in myths and legends worldwide.
– It resonates with audiences across cultures and time periods.
– The narrative pattern reflects human experiences of growth and transformation.
– Cultural heroes and legends often mirror the hero’s journey template.
– Understanding the hero’s journey helps in appreciating and analyzing diverse storytelling traditions.

Hero's journey (Wikipedia)

In narratology and comparative mythology, the hero's journey, also known as the monomyth, is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed.

Illustration of the hero's journey

Earlier figures had proposed similar concepts, including psychoanalyst Otto Rank and amateur anthropologist Lord Raglan. Eventually, hero myth pattern studies were popularized by Joseph Campbell, who was influenced by Carl Jung's analytical psychology. Campbell used the monomyth to analyze and compare religions. In his famous book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), he describes the narrative pattern as follows:

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.

Campbell's theories regarding the concept of a "monomyth" have been the subject of criticism from scholars, particularly folklorists (scholars active in folklore studies), who have dismissed the concept as a non-scholarly approach suffering from source-selection bias, among other criticisms. More recently, the hero's journey has been analyzed as an example of the sympathetic plot, a universal narrative structure in which a goal-directed protagonist confronts obstacles, overcomes them, and eventually reaps rewards.

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