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Intellectual Credit Joseph Campbell

So, this post basically has to start with an apology for my absence. It has been a little more of a hectic month than I thought it would be with the newborn, finishing the school year, and starting summer school.

But now I am starting a class teaching 6th and 7th graders about reading and using Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey as the class theme.

The basic premise is to read one fantasy novel and follow the hero through the nine stages of his journey.

And since I am a soon to be a self-published author in the fantasy genre, I felt that the lessons would be very a pro pos.

The World of Common Day

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Credit NBC- Jim and Pam at work.

The Hero’s journey is a simple one and can be found in just about any story. These types of stories are most common in fantasy where a simple person goes off on some quest to become a hero.

But no matter how the story pans out or evolves, every Hero’s journey takes root in what is known as The World of Common Day

This world is, simply put, the protagonist’s every day life. (Think Hobbits in The Shire or the Pevensies in our world, England) It is the comfort zone. It is the bubble that cannot be shattered. (But, of course, will be shattered.) It is the ultimate boring life that nags at all heroes and makes them urge, nay desire, nay yearn for Excitement and Adventure! (Though many, I’m sure, would claim they do not want adventure. Common Hobbits fit this description.)

But do not let this stage fool you, oh no! It is the mother of all stages. It is the first stage. It is what allows all readers to get their feet wet. It is the stepping off point for all other steps the hero will take in the journey. Though sometimes lacking in drama, tension, or suspense, this first stage in the Hero’s Journey is essential in order for the reader to have a baseline for the transformation that is to take place.

And for those aspiring writers out there who envision taking the plunge into their own writing journey, I urge you, do not shrug this stage off! It can be the most beneficial to you!

How?

For a deeper understanding of this first step into the Hero’s Journey, let us take a look at an example from the iconic Star Wars. (And, yes, I do mean A New Hope.)

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Mr. Skywalker in all his awesomeness

Luke Skywalker, the protagonist, lives with his aunt and uncle on a moisture farm in the middle of a desert planet called Tatooine. Though he does not live the perfect Leave it to Beaver life, his life is pretty comfy, complete with protocol droids, igloo-like stone houses, and blue milk.

And as we find out in the infamous and aforementioned blue milk scene, Luke has a distaste for the governing empire and wants to leave this World of Common Day to join the rebels in their fight.

Now, if this was the entire story setting, we would have all bled from our eye sockets due to boredom because the common day is just that, common. There may be some minor conflict, but all in all nothing happens here.

Lucky for us, Luke does not stay in The World of Common Day for very long. His journey through the stages takes a wild turn when he meets an unexpected stranger and progresses into the Call to Adventure. More on this stage of The Hero’s Journey next time.

Until then, Peace and Long Reads.

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