12 Steps of the
Hero’s Journey
Story Arc:
12 Steps of Hero’s Journey:
Falling action
Hero’s Ordinary
Special World
of the
Back to the
12 Steps of Hero’s Journey:
Hero’s Ordinary
Special World of
the Journey
Back to the
1) The Ordinary World
• Shows the regular world, hero’s normal
• EX: Aladdin in the streets, Jasmine in the
2) The Call to Adventure
Hero is presented with a challenge or
adventure (usually by a herald or
Establishes stakes of the game and hero’s
goal (win treasure, lover, revenge, right a
wrong, change a life, confront challenge)
EX: Aladdin meets the old man while in
jail (Jafar in disguise)
3) The Refusal of the Call
Hero is not fully committed, thinks of
turning back. Fear.
Some further influence causes hero to
cross the threshold and overcome fear.
EX: Aladdin is a bit unsure, even after
accepting the old man’s offer. He
becomes resigned when the cave closes
on him.
4) Meeting with the Mentor
Hero meets Mentor.
Mentor trains hero to face unknown
(gives advice, sometimes magical
• EX: Genie helps Aladdin get out of cave,
gives wishes and advice.
*This step can happen at any time before
the hero enters the special world—may
not be in order.
5) Into the Special World
(Crossing the 1st Threshold)
Hero finally commits to adventure,
enters Special World of the story.
Story really gets rolling.
Turning point between Ordinary and
Special World
EX: Aladdin finally accepts that he gets
the wishes, and with the help of Genie,
sets out to become a prince.
6) Tests, Allies, and Enemies
The hero may encounter several
Threshold Guardians
The hero makes friends and enemies
The hero learns the rules of the Special
EX: Aladdin becomes the Genie’s friend,
gets an elephant, makes an enemy of
Jafar, and learns how to act like a prince
(his “special world”).
7) Approaching the Inmost Cave
Most dangerous place.
Sometimes actually underground, but sometimes a
metaphorical “cave”
Where object of quest is hidden
Sometimes the headquarters of the villain.
EX: In Aladdin, the object of his quest is Jasmine.
He goes metaphorically into the inmost cave when
he goes to the palace (the same place that is Jafar’s
headquarters) to gain her love. Dangerous because
of Jafar, and because he may be unmasked as really
being a street rat.
8) The Supreme Ordeal
Fortune of hero hits rock bottom.
Direct confrontation with Shadow (villain,
hero’s greatest fear, or both)
Audience wonders if hero will live or die.
EX: Aladdin loses control of the lamp, and
Jafar takes over, trying to humiliate Jasmine
and her father, and get rid of Aladdin. We
wonder if Aladdin can still survive without the
9) Seizing the Sword (the Reward)
Hero defeats Shadow, celebration! (usually
love scene or comedy here)
Hero takes possession of treasure. Could be
weapon, elixir, knowledge, love, object.
Hero may settle a conflict with a parent.
EX: Aladdin defeats Jafar with wits instead of
strength, and rescues Jasmine (his treasure).
He finds out she still loves him, even though he
is a street rat. They kiss, and Genie adds
10) The Road Back
Hero is not out of the woods. Has to
deal with consequences of confronting
Sometimes dark forces chase hero here.
Decision that special world must be left.
EX: No chase scene in Aladdin. Jasmine,
father, and castle transported back to
11) The Resurrection
2nd life-or-death moment. Shadow gets one
last shot at hero.
Hero is tested to see if he or she really learned
the lessons from the Supreme Ordeal.
Hero is transformed by these life-or-death
moments, will be able to return to ordinary
world “reborn” with new insights.
EX: Aladdin must face his shadow (inability to
be himself), decide to wish the Genie free and
remain a street rat, or wish to be a prince and
marry Jasmine. Overcomes shadow (his
insecurities), chooses the right thing (sets
Genie free).
12) Return with the Elixir
Hero returns to ordinary world, bringing
back elixir, treasure, and/or lesson from
special world.
EX: Aladdin returns to being himself, but
now has the love of Jasmine, and is now
happy with who he really is. And because
he has proven to be worthy, the Sultan
changes the law and Aladdin can marry
• The order in which these steps fall is only a
FRAMEWORK. This means that while some literature
and film can follow this basic construct, these steps CAN
happen out of order, happen more than once or not
happen at all.
• When deciding how the Hero’s Journey pans out in your
book and film, you will need to not only identify the
steps, but also explain how you know this step is
happening and why it is where it is (or why it is NOT
• This will make more sense once you get into your
Now, you try:
• You will now apply this to your book and film.
• Complete pages 3-4 in your packet for your
• Pages 2-5 are due Monday, April 8 at BEGINNING
of hour.
• I will give you a separate page 5 so you can turn in
the first part of your packet separately.
• Page 5 will be a more fleshed out CEW version of
what you have on your archetype chart.
• You will work the rest of the week on this
assignment. You will write it out by hand or type
it up at home.
• Make sure you fill it out completely and thoroughly.
• Pages 6-9 for your film are due Friday, April 19th
by the END of the HOUR even if you are absent!
• I will give you a separate page 9 so you can keep
the rest of the packet.
• If you are working towards an A or B, you MUST
meet these deadlines. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!!!!
• I will give more details about deadlines for the B
paper and A paper later.
• You will have SOME time in class to work on this,
but may have some homework depending on
how good you manage your time.
Non-fiction reading
• As I collect and read through your packets, you will be reading a
non-fiction book of your choice. Non-fiction means it is real life and
based on facts.
• I have a selection of books to choose from, but I will send groups of
students down on a pass to the library tomorrow and Friday.
• I would find a book ASAP so you can get started on it.
• These are the assessments:
Quiz #1 Friday, April 12
Quiz #2 Thursday, April 18
Book Talk Monday, April 22 (no make-up; written work instead)
These are all summatives; yes, you have do them all.
• I will give you class time from April 8 to April 19 to read your book.
However, you will need to read outside of class as well to get done
in time for the book talk.

12 Steps of the Hero`s Journey