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Sunday, September 13 2020

This is # 10 in the Crossing the Threshold series.

The Hero’s Journey

Act One: Separation

 

Ordinary World

The Hero is first introduced in a very Ordinary World. There is nothing special or remarkable about the hero at this point and certainly not his world. All is not well though, as a problem or challenge is presented to the hero. Think of Chuck Noland the Tom Hanks character in the movie Cast Away. He is just a regular guy in a FedEx world who doesn’t have time for anything, not even a trip to the dentist. Or consider Balian the common blacksmith in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. It is winter in 12th c. France; Balian’s young wife has committed suicide after the death of their infant son leaving him in state of shocked numbness. For a heroine take Rapunzel in Disney’s new animated movie Tangled. She is confined to her tower doing her everyday chores wondering and singing “when will my life begin”. The story starts in the mundane world and zeros in on one character and then something happens.

The Call to Adventure

The hero receives a Call to Adventure which requires him to make a choice: stay in the Ordinary World or step into the adventure. For Chuck Noland the call comes through his pager on Christmas Eve, responding to it puts him on that ill fated flight over the ocean. Balian’s call comes through his real father who suddenly appears and identifies himself and offers Balian a new life in the Holy Land. Adventure beckons to Rapunzel yearly on her birthday when mysterious floating lights appear in the sky speaking to her in a special way. However the Call to Adventure may come the hero will be faced with a choice to make, and a risk to take.

Refusal of the Call

Usually the Call to Adventure is at first refused. Why? Because of fear. Fear of the unknown is very powerful and that is why there is so much risk involved. Will the hero overcome the very first obstacle; the initial fear of leaving what is known. Will Frodo leave the safety of the Shire and step out onto The Road?

Meeting with the Mentor

At this point a wise man or woman may show up to help the hero. Cinderella is in the Ordinary World of her Stepmother’s house when an invitation to the King’s Ball arrives. The shredding of her hand me down dress by the ugly step sisters forces Cinderella to refuse the call. Now the fairy godmother appears with exactly what she will need for her adventure. A mentor may supply special gifts like the godmother does to help the hero overcome fear. Old Ben Kenobi gives Luke Skywalker his father’s light saber and invites him into the world of the Jedi; but he can only take him so far. There comes a point where the hero must continue on his own.

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