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Joseph Campbell described the hero's journey as occurring in a cycle consisting of three phases or Acts: Departure, where the hero leaves his comfortable and familiar world and ventures into the darkness of the unknown; Initiation, where the hero is subjected to a series of tests in which he must prove his character; and Return, in which the hero brings the boon of his quest back for the benefit of his people.
The hero's journey is about growth and passage. The journey requires a separation from the comfortable, known world, and an initiation into a new level of awareness, skill, and responsibility, and then a return home. Each stage of the journey must be passed successfully if the initiate is to become a hero. To turn back at any stage is to reject the need to grow and mature.
Source: Ubelhor, A. (2014). The Hero's Journey Define. World Literature ENG 104: Fairy Tales, Myths, and Other Archetypal Stories. Retrieved from https://engl200-fall2014.community.uaf.edu/
The Stages of the Journey
Act 1: Departure
The first act consists of five stages that show how our hero comes to find himself on a hero's journey. In these stages, the hero or protagonist lives in the ordinary world and receives a call to go on an adventure. The hero is reluctant to follow the call but is helped by a mentor figure.
The five stages that make up the narrative of Act 1 are:
THE ORDINARY WORLD THE CALL TO ADVENTURE THE REFUSAL OF THE CALL MEETING WITH THE MENTOR CROSSING THE THRESHOLD
As we explore these stages, I will make reference to popular stories to help illustrate each stage.
THE ORDINARY WORLD
This is when the story actually begins. We learn who the protagonist is, where they are, and who some of the other characters are. This is generally a peaceful time in the story. We are just learning about the world and characters and watching them interact. Everything isn’t completely peaceful here, though. Often we can tell that something is..off, or we can tell that the hero WANTS something that they don’t have.
In Harry Potter, we see Harry’s life at the Dursley house. The “something wrong” is incredibly obvious. They treat him like trash, and he wants to leave.
In Rocky, Rocky Balboa is introduced as a mediocre boxer and loan collector — just doing his best to live day-to-day in a poor part of Philadelphia.