Why is the hero's journey important?

A type of narrative used to tell stories is the hero's journey. The "monomyth" concept was developed by anthropologist Joseph Campbell and published in his 1949 book "The Hero With a Thousand Faces."

The hero's journey has long been used in adventure, romance, and even children's movies and books, and it is now an essential marketing strategy for those who work with storytelling to tell brand stories.

What are the fundamental pillars of the hero's journey?

The hero's journey has the main objective of presenting a story of a protagonist who faces several challenges to reach the desired result and becomes from that moment the "hero" of that community.

But for this narrative to make sense and encourage the viewer, it is necessary to respect the 3 basic pillars of this process. Are they:

  • Call – Initial step that introduces the hero and the challenge he intends to solve.
  • Initiation – Part of the plot is where the protagonist goes through several adventures.
  • Return – It's the grand finale of the challenge! At this point, the hero returns to the community with the experience, knowledge, and goals he has acquired during the journey.

Let's take a practical example?

Remember the movie Lion King you saw as a child? The narrative of this children's story carries with it the "hero's journey," represented by the character Simba.

The plot begins with the puppy Simba being introduced to the animals. Then, after some small challenges, the lion grieves over the loss of his father. Then he initially refuses the call to rule as he is afraid of the challenges. 

After many adventures and reflection, Simba finds allies and mentors and resolves to accept his calling. First, however, she will need to face the challenge of the "final battle" with her uncle, Scar. After combat, he manages to resolve the issue and becomes the “hero” of the community.

What are the stages of the hero's journey?

In addition to the 3 pillars described above, there is a process for the story to be entirely understood, called the "stages of the hero's journey." However, it is necessary to point out that they are not always followed by the letter, but it is important to know them to adapt your strategy.

Check out what they are below:

  • Common world – Presentation of the hero and the community in which he lives. At this point, the main character's characteristics and personality are valued.
  • Call – Identification of the challenge that influences the hero to leave his comfort zone to fulfill his mission.
  • Refusal – The main character initially refuses the challenge, usually because he is afraid or unable to fulfill it.
  • Mentorship – Here, the hero finds a mentor who transmits knowledge and wisdom, motivating him to face the mission.
  • First Challenge – At this moment, the main character goes into the ordinary world and faces the first challenge.
  • Trials, allies, and enemies - In this stage, he finds allies and faces enemies in the first tests, thus learning the new world's rules.
  • Approach – Here, the hero wins the first battle and decides to retreat into a secret cave to reflect on what he has learned.
  • Difficult Challenge – Right now, he faces a big challenge.
  • Reward – The character escapes the tragic end, overcomes fear, and acquires the “magic formula” for the gratification of having accepted the challenge.
  • Return – The situation calms down, and the hero returns home.
  • Final Battle - At this moment, commonly called resurrection, a final challenge occurs, decisive in the character's life, where he faces dangers and needs to use the "magic formula" vehemently.
  • Return with Final Denouement - Finally, the moment of the hero's grand coronation arrives, and he returns home with the "magic formula" to save everyone in his community.

Why is the hero's journey important?

We are connected to our ancient and prehistoric ancestors through the hero's journey.

In earlier times, when linguistic nuances did not exist, and oral tradition was not nearly as prevalent as today, Nomadic human communities traveled the world's wildernesses in search of food and other resources. As the groups traveled, they dispatched scouts to explore the land ahead of them to locate sources of food and water, shelter, and potential dangers.

These scouts' journeys were meant to return information that would improve the clan's survival chances. These were the first journeys undertaken by heroes. These scouts provided narratives for the group. Legends of their journey through the mountains, plains, and forests, during which they encountered various creatures and phenomena. It's not fiction... it's a fact.

Mythology results from those tales being embellished with later additions of observations of natural occurrences and mixing them.

Now, tell me why the hero's journey is so significant. First, it is a comprehension of the history of our ancestors. Mythology and religion both have their origins in this fundamental element.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.

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