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The Hero’s Quest. . . . and The Kite Runner. Mouse over the images in this presentation to move on. Introduction. Joseph Campbell wrote about an overall pattern in narratives that he described as the mono-myth – the great myth behind all stories. . This mono-myth is called the hero’s quest.

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the hero s quest

The Hero’s Quest

. . . and The Kite Runner

Mouse over the images in this presentation to move on



Joseph Campbell wrote about an overall pattern in narratives that he described as the mono-myth – the great myth behind all stories.

This mono-myth is called the hero’s quest.

For Campbell, all great heroic action, regardless of the culture, can be described in terms of this cycle.



The hero is introduced in his ordinary world, where he received 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 test and helpers. He reaches the innermost cave where he endures the supreme ordeal. He seized the sword or the treasure and is pursued on his road back to his world. He is resurrected or transformed by his experience. He returns to his ordinary world with a treasure , boon, or elixir to benefit his world.



The Call to Adventure

The call to adventure is the point in a person’s life when they are first given notice that everything is going to change, whether they know it or not.



Refusal of the Call

Often when the call is given, the future hero refuses to heed it. This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that hold the person in his current circumstances.



Aid or Mentor

Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his or her guide or mentor appears or becomes known.



Crossing the first threshold

This is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known...


The Belly of the Whale

This is sometimes described as the person’s lowest point , but it is actually the point when the person Is transitioning between selves. The separation has been made between the old self and the new self. The experiences that will shape this new self are often symbolized by something dark, unknown, or frightening. By entering this stage, the person shows their willingness to go through a metamorphosis, to allow the old self to die.




The Road of Trials

The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails at one or more of these tests.



The Meeting with the Goddess

This represents the point in the adventure when the person experiences a love that has the power and the significance of the love that a fortunate infant may experience with his mother. This is often represented by the hero finding the other person he loves most completely but is also the process of understanding, accepting and loving self.



Atonement with the Father

In this step the person must confront whatever holds the ultimate power in his life. This is the centre point of the journey. For the transformation to take place, the person must be “killed” so that a new self can come into being.



The Ultimate Prize

The ultimate prize is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the person went on the journey to get. All previous steps are to prepare and purify the person for this step. The prize is often a symbol like the Holy Grail.



The Flight

Sometimes the hero must escape with the prize, if it is something the gods have been jealously guarding. It can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on it.


Rescue from without

Just as the hero may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, often times he or she must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by that experience. Or perhaps the person does not realize others, too, are in need of the prize.



Crossing the Return


The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world. This is usually extremely difficult.



Freedom to Live

For the human hero, this step may mean achieving balance between the old self, the old life, and the new self, the new life. This is sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.