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Heros Cycle

  • Date Submitted: 02/22/2012 02:24 PM
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S. Seifert

Sheila's Books

Scholars categorize similar elements in stories to help them classify manuscripts into various types.
In the mid-1900s, Joseph Campbell's book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces,offered just such a classification. He found a list of common elements in mythic adventures and defined what we now call the Hero's Journey.
This journey can be found in Homer's The Iliad and Lucas's Star Wars. It is in Beowulfand The Matrix. Any successful adventure of mythic proportion seems to follow the Hero's Journey.
The table below demonstrates these internal and external plot patterns. The terms for each stage are in the first column. Abbreviated definitions for the terms are in second. The third column has been left empty. If you print up this chart, you can put the elements of your adventure story in the blanks.
Hero's Journey Chart
The stages in this table are based on Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey.
***Note: Not all steps will occur in all stories nor will they appear in any particular order. In any given journey, readers can find from seven to twenty elements, but most successful adventures average approximately fourteen recognizable steps.  

The Hero's Journey



I: Departure (The protagonist is separated from the known and steps into the unknown.)
Home Culture The protagonist has a "home," a place that s/he thinks is normal, familiar, and common to others in his/her culture.
Call to Adventure A normal occurrence motivates the protagonist to acknowledge an unknown aspect of his/her world, feel a restlessness with the constraints of his/her life, or find a new world that s/he was not aware existed.
Refusal of the Call The protagonist chooses not to move forward in life because s/he chooses to not give up his/her position, power, ideals, goals, or responsibilities; the refusal is often based on his/her fear of the unknown and comfort in the familiar. Usually secondary characters support...


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