The Hero’s Journey is not built well on stereotypes. It excels on archetypes. Below I have listed the sequence of the hero’s transformation. These are recognized patterns in great stories. It is seen in everything from High Noon to Star Wars to Lord of the Rings.
- Discover the hero in his ordinary world, but hinting at the seeds of change.
- Call to adventure. The hero must do something. He has to undertake a challenge.
- The hero usually refuses the call the first time for one reason or another.
- Refusal is overcome via advice from a mentor, which gives him the “magic”/information/wisdom that he needs…
- …To cross the first threshold/challenge that brings him into a new world.
- In this new world, he will meet enemies and allies that will test and train him.
- He will begin to approach the secret, the inner most cave of the story.
- In that cave he will face his greatest fears and it may transform him or test him by some great ordeal.
- Then a reward or pay off for having endured the ordeal and faced his fears.
- Then there is the road back where he turns around commits to finishing the adventure with some new twists.
- The resurrection where the hero will be challenged once more on all the levels. The transformation is complete and the hero is redeemed.
- Comes back into the ordinary world with something he has learned, a new love, a new realization, a great story to tell.
I gave a speech (more of a stand up routine) in McKinney, Texas at Collin County Conservative Republicans (CCCR) back in 2009. I loved doing it. It was my first captive live audience. I did not pick an easy topic. I mixed it with my style of humor to lighten things up. My talk was based on Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism, a great book!
I know my talk upset a woman in the front row. She interrupted me two or three times. She did not want to accept what I was presenting. It did not match her worldview. Years ago, I would not have been able to grasp it either.
Below is mini-version first part of that talk, which is a brief explanation of my awakening and breaking out of modes of thought handed to me by media, music, and art. I will break up the rest of the talk in bite size pieces in the near future. Let’s see if I offend you, too.
H. G. Wells, who has written some great books, was the first to utter the term. He did not mean it as an oxymoron or an indictment; he meant it as a rallying cry. In his speech at Oxford in 1932, he told the Young Liberals that progressives must become “liberal fascists” and “enlightened Nazis”. Yes, you read that right. Look it up.
I’m not a master but a student of history. I’m not an armchair historian, I’m more like a barstool historian. I’m a lot like you; a regular person looking at my country and wondering what is happening and on a quest for the deep reasons why.
In the late 70s my mind was occupied with girls, I watched Happy Days and thought the Fonz was cool. I went to Rocky and Star Wars and I listened to Top 40 on KIKM, Kick ‘em. I thought John Lennon’s song “Imagine” was the real anthem. The biggest world event was the hostage crisis in Iran, the beginning of the modern Jihad, but it was far away from a teenage boy. I watched the news, ABC’s World News Tonight. It was about things happening in faraway places that I could not reach riding my bike. Even if I got the car I was dying for, I couldn’t get there. It was in a galaxy far far away. Closer to home, ABC caused me to be more worried over Ronald Reagan than Jihadist, because even in 70’s the media had a ‘liberal’ bias against ‘conservatives’. The media’s summation of Reagan said, if he could find the White House, he would stumble in, launch the Nukes at Russia, like Marvin the Martian, and blow up the earth in the process. Jimmy Carter had gone good-bye and Armageddon was obviously next, and it was all Reagan’s fault.
However, Reagan’s speeches did not match the hideous bias I heard on ABC World News Tonight and 60 Minutes. I wasn’t very discerning then. I watched Reagan’s soaring State of the Union addresses and his delightful banter with the press. He would have me pumping my fist as if I was at a Van Halen concert, then Peter Jennings, or whoever, would come on, and ruin it. I did not think Jennings had an agenda in those days. He pretended to be unbiased. I could not withstand it when they dissected Reagan speeches. No one stepped to enlighten me further on what Jennings & Co would say. Eventually Reagan won my heart and mind, anyway.