My Experience with the “Hero’s Journey” – Alexander Lewandowski

I remember first hearing about the hero’s journey in a writing book a few year’s ago. Back then I wanted to desperately debunk the pattern by finding a well-known and relatively successful story (an adventure or the like) that deviated from it, but I was unsuccessful. Interestingly, I find myself in a similar situation now. Maybe my mental library of movies and books is too small or maybe I simply haven’t found the right story yet. Or maybe we simply enjoy hero’s journey type stories too much enough to never grow tired of them. Honestly, the answer is probably a little bit of both.

Not to say that I hate the hero’s journey. I honestly find it quite interesting that so many movies, novels, and other stories can fall into such a recognizable pattern of the ordinary character who rises to greatness, but I find something about it off-putting. I think it’s that I’m disappointed to find that so many of my favorite stories fall into the same storyline (and even more that I never noticed until it was pointed out to me). It also takes away the wonder in some stories for me, since it really seems that the creator is following a well-trodden path. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy the stories, but that I don’t enjoy seeing the patterns.

Also, on a slight (and possibly incorrect) tangent, I wonder if one of the reasons why we see the hero’s journey so often is because the definition and steps involved with it are so vague. The hero’s journey can apply to almost any character, any story, and any situation if viewed from the right (or wrong) lens. The character doesn’t even have to be a very strong protagonist. All they seem to (loosely) need to be a part of the hero’s journey is help, a goal, and opposition that leads to conflict. Is it just me, or is that starting to sound a little like the five elements to a good story…


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