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A Practical Guide to Hero With a Thousand Faces

A Practical Guide to Hero With a Thousand Faces - A...

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A Practical Guide to THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES by Joseph Campbell, as explained by Chris Vogler (slightly abridged and reorganized by your instructor) THE SHORT FORM OF THE HERO STORY: The hero is introduced in his ordinary world, where he receives the call to adventure. He is reluctant at first but is encouraged by the wise old man or woman to cross the first threshold, where he encounters tests and helpers. He reaches the innermost cave, where he endures the supreme ordeal. He seizes the sword or the treasure and is pursued on the road back to his world. He is resurrected and transformed by his experience. He returns to his ordinary world with a treasure, boon, or elixir to benefit his world. The stages of the HERO are: 1) THE HERO IS INTRODUCED IN HIS ORDINARY WORLD. Most stories take place in a special world, a world that is new and alien to its hero. If you're going to tell a story about a fish out of his customary element, you first have to create a contrast by showing him in his mundane, ordinary world. In WITNESS you see both the Amish boy and the policeman in their ordinary worlds before they are thrust into alien worlds -- the farmboy into the city, and the city cop into the unfamiliar countryside. In STAR WARS you see Luke Skywalker bored to death as a farmboy before he takes on the universe. 2) THE CALL TO ADVENTURE. The hero is presented with a problem, challenge, or adventure. Maybe the land is dying, as in the Arthur stories about the search for the Holy Grail. In STAR WARS again, it's Princess Leia's holographic message to Obi Wan Kenobi, who asks Luke to join in the quest. In detective stories, it's the hero accepting a new case. In romantic comedies it could be the first sight of that special -- but annoying someone the hero or heroine will be pursuing/sparring with the remainder of the story. 3) THE HERO IS RELUCTANT AT FIRST. Often at this point, the hero balks at the threshold of adventure. After all, he or she is facing the greatest of all fears -- fear of the unknown. At this point Luke refuses Obi Wan's call to adventure, and returns to his aunt and uncle's farmhouse, only to find they have been barbqued by the Emperor's stormtroopers. Suddenly Luke is no longer reluctant, and is eager to undertake the adventure. He is motivated. 4) THE HERO IS ENCOURAGED BY THE WISE OLD MAN OR WOMAN. By this time many stories will have introduced a Merlin-like character who is the hero's mentor. In JAWS it's the crusty Robert Shaw character who knows all about sharks; in the mythology of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, it's Lou Grant. The mentor gives advice and sometimes magical weapons. This is Obi Wan Kenobi giving Luke Skywalker his father's light sabre.
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The mentor can only go so far with the hero. Eventually the hero must face the unknown by himself. Sometimes the wise old man is required to give the hero a swift kick in the pants to get the adventure going.
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