A brief outline of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey consists of:

  1. The Departure:
    The Ordinary World
    The hero starts at home. Even if she is not happy here, she is at least able to comprehend the world around her.
    The Call to Adventure
    The hero is compelled to leave her world. A herald appears that gives her purpose and a sense of the quest ahead.
    Refusal of the Call
    The hero resists leaving. She sees what needs to be done, but she's reluctant to do it.
    Supernatural Aid
    The hero encounters a Mentor who inspires the hero to take action. The Mentor trains and prepares her for the journey.
    Crossing the First Threshold
    The hero overcomes some obstacle between her world and the world outside. She leaves her old life behind and starts her quest.
  2. The Intitiation:
    The Road of Trials
    The hero has a series of adventures which lead her progressively closer to the objective of the quest. The hero finds friends and allies.
    The Ordeal:
    The hero alone has a confrontation with her nemesis. During this fight, she is transformed in some major way (see apotheosis.)
    The Ultimate Boon:
    The hero completes her quest and acquires the prize.
  3. The Return:
    Refusal of the Return:
    Now that she's succeded, the hero wants to stay in paradise and not go back home.
    Crossing the Return Threshold:
    On the way back, the hero has one last battle to fight. Often this is with the true antagonist (the nemesis' boss).
    Master of Two Worlds:
    The hero returns triumphant and shares her boon with the public.

The Hero's Journey is often depicted graphically as a circle. I'm not even going to try to draw it here. Roughly, though, The Ordinary World is at 12:00, Crossing the First Threshold is at 9:00, The Ordeal is at 6:00 and Crossing the Return Threshold is at 3:00. The path is travelled counter-clockwise.

Campbell's book about the Hero's Journey is The Hero With a Thousand Faces.

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