Last time we discussed the Road of Trials in the Hero’s Journey, up next is the Belly of the Whale.
The Belly of the Whale
After a long and arduous journey from leaving the comfort zone and traipsing through untold toils, the hero will eventually find himself/herself trapped in the antagonist’s backyard.
The name for this stage obviously comes from the Biblical story of Jonah famously misinterpreted by Disney in a scene in Pinocchio, (Jonah was neither in a whale nor alive). But just as Pinocchio faced certain death with no escape, so too do heroes.
A classic example is Frodo and Sam in Mordor.
But the convention has existed in myriad other stories such as the aforementioned Pinocchio as well as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, or Luke in Return of the Jedi just to name a few.
The overarching idea here is that the hero is trapped and must somehow defeat his/her enemy to find a way out. Frodo is stuck in Mordor, Pinocchio is in the Whale, Dorothy is locked in the Witch’s castle, and Luke is on the New Death Star.
All of this stage really accomplishes is to foreshadow and set-up the Supreme Ordeal which we will unravel next time.
Peace and Long Reads