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  • Sanjukta Moorthy

Joseph Campbell and the Hero Myth

"What do Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, and Frodo all have in common with the heroes of ancient myths?"

That's how this Ted talk by Matthew Winkler begins, and you can bet I was hooked instantly. Two franchises I love and one I worship? Yes please, let's hear more!

It's based on American writer Joseph Campbell's 'Hero with a Thousand Faces', which looks at the Hero's Journey.

A cycle begins and ends in the hero's Ordinary World, and goes through a Special World. We begin with his status quo in his Ordinary World, where the hero receives his Call to Adventure. In the Special World, he faces obstacles, battles, treasures, powers, and then returns to his Ordinary World.

But not all is the same once they go home. Sometimes they find themselves changed, or their World. So the status quo can't be the same, and it has to change - so we have Resolution.

What does this tell us about our stories and how we tell them? How can we better focus on one person or one group of people and tell their stories in the same sequence?

If we describe a case study of our work, we need to look beyond one person's thoughts to describe the world they live in, to develop the Ordinary World and to tell their full story using this structure.

This TED talk really inspired me to focus on these distinct moments in a story's structure and to build a case study around these chapters. I'm working on a case study template that follows these steps, so stay tuned!

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