Approach To The Inmost Cave Heros Journey Essay

Ordinary World 

Theseus is enjoying his place as hero, prince, and heir to the throne of Athens.

Call to Adventure 

The young hero finds out that every few years, young Athenians must be sent off to the island of Crete to be sacrificed to the man-eating Minotaur, who lives in an inescapable Labyrinth.

Refusal of the Call 

Theseus doesn't refuse the call at all. He jumps at the chance for adventure.

Meeting of the Mentor

Theseus convinces his father, King Aegeus, to let him go. Unlike a lot of mentors, King Aegeus doesn't really give Theseus any advice to help him along the way, and he doesn't even encourage his son to go on the dangerous voyage.

Crossing the Threshold 

Despite his father's reservations, Theseus hops on the boat to Crete determined to slay the Minotaur and save the young people marked for human sacrifice. He promises Aegeus that he'll change the black sail of the ship to white on his return to Athens to show his father that he made it back alive.

Tests, Allies, Enemies 

Theseus makes a great ally in the Cretan Princess Ariadne. The beautiful maiden falls in love with him and tells him how to escape the Labyrinth by trailing string behind him.

Approach to the Inmost Cave

Theseus prepares to enter the Labyrinth and battle the Minotaur.

Ordeal 

Theseus fights the ferocious Minotaur and defeats him.

Reward (Seizing the Sword) 

The young hero takes the Princess Ariadne with him as he sails back to Greece with the young Athenians.

The Road Back 

For some reason, Theseus decides to abandon the Princess Ariadne on an island on the way back to Greece. Unlike a lot of heroes, who become better people over the course of an adventure, Theseus becomes more of a jerk.

Resurrection 

This section of the story veers away from Vogler's formula. Theseus is so busy thinking about how awesome he is that he forgets to change the sail to white. When Aegeus sees the black-sailed ship approaching Athens, he thinks Theseus is dead and kills himself. So, Theseus doesn't face another obstacle from which he barely emerges alive. Instead, he actually causes the death of his own father.

Return with the Elixir 

Theseus is now a totally famous hero, because of his defeat of the Minotaur. Because of his father's death, he's also the King of Athens. Theseus's reward is bittersweet, since it was accomplished (literally) over his father's dead body.

Ever notice that every blockbuster movie has the same fundamental pieces? A hero, a journey, some conflicts to muck it all up, a reward, and the hero returning home and everybody applauding his or her swag? Yeah, scholar Joseph Campbell noticed first—in 1949. He wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he outlined the 17 stages of a mythological hero's journey.

About half a century later, Christopher Vogler condensed those stages down to 12 in an attempt to show Hollywood how every story ever written should—and, uh, does—follow Campbell's pattern. We're working with those 12 stages, so take a look. (P.S. Want more? We have an entire Online Course devoted to the hero's journey.)

Ordinary World

It all starts in suburban California, home of Elliott and his family. Thought Elliott doesn't know it yet, E.T. has just been left behind in the nearby forest.

Call to Adventure

Elliott hears some mysterious noises in his backyard. Then he sees a strange glow coming from the toolshed, so he chucks his baseball in there—and something tosses it back.

Refusal of the Call

Nope, there's no refusal in this story. Elliott resolves to monitor the backyard until he uncovers what's out there, even if it means sleeping in a super-comfy lawn chair.

Meeting the Mentor

Elliott and E.T. come face-to-face in the cornfield and scream their heads off.

Crossing the Threshold

Elliott lures E.T. back to his house with Reese's Pieces and secretly moves him into his closet. They're roomies; no going back now.

Tests, Allies, Enemies

Elliott's first tests include keeping E.T. a secret and learning how to communicate with him.

Next, Elliott scores two important allies: Michael and Gertie. Letting them in on his secret makes it a lot easier to keep E.T.'s existence from their mom. They'll also come in handy for future trials.

Then it's time for more tests. First of all, E.T.'s getting sick. Second of all, he needs to phone home, pronto. So Elliott has to help E.T. build a communicator out of household items. Then he has to sneak E.T. out of the house so he can set it up. He hatches a plan with his allies, Michael and Gertie, on Halloween. The plan works, and so does the communicator.

Approach to the Inmost Cave

Super-sick, Elliott makes it back home after they plant the communicator. E.T. goes missing. Michael finds E.T. and brings him home. The gang's all there, and Elliott and his siblings finally introduce Mom to E.T., setting the stage for Elliott's biggest test yet.

Ordeal

The federal agents invade Elliott's house and set up shop. Elliott has to pull from the deep well of compassion that E.T. drew in him in order to help his alien BFF survive the government's battery of tests and frightening lack of empathy. Oh, and did we mention that Elliott's health is still on a steep decline at the moment, too?

Reward (Seizing the Sword)

E.T. pulls through. He's alive! He's alive!

The Road Back

This stage is a short one. Elliott celebrates with Michael, and then boom! They're loading E.T. into a stolen van and getting pumped for their final clash with Keys' task force.

Resurrection

Resurrection's a weird title for this stage, don't you think? Really, it's more about Elliott's final battle: getting E.T. back to the forest in time to meet his spaceship. He evades federal agents by van, by bike, and by air to return E.T. to the forest just in time. If you ask us, this stage should be called "Boss Battle."

Return With the Elixir

E.T.'s extra-terrestrial buddies return in their spaceship, and Elliott says goodbye. He's sad, for sure, but he's stronger. E.T.'s going to be okay now, and so is Elliott.

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