Cipollini 1 Noelle Cipollini Professor Simmons ENC 1102 3/4/2010 The Strenuous Ways of Earning Your Cape How many times have you been called on an adventure? Now, how many times have you accepted the call to adventure? Refusing the call is easy to do because all adventures initially seem dangerous and difficult. Have you ever thought about the rewards of going on the adventure compared to the boring, repetitive routine of refusing the call? Call to adventure and refusal of the call are stages one and two of mythologist Joseph Campbell’s seventeen-stage hero cycle. Campbell believes that the hero must experience every stage of the cycle to complete the adventure. He also states that the hero must go through all seventeen stages in order. Stages of the hero cycle exist in all kinds of media, from songs to poems, from short stories to films, from the tales of ordinary people to those of fictional characters. In order for a hero to start an adventure they must be inspired by a herald. Inspiration best describes what it takes for a person to start an adventure. Lynne Cox wrote “A Dip in the Cold” where she was inspired to do what Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had done in 1960. She wanted to successfully swim portions of the Northwest Passage. Amundsen was the first successful captain to sail through the Northwest Passage, and Cox relied on Amundsen’s accounts of his journey to guide her through the Northwest Passage. Christopher Gilson was also inspired in his writing “Flunking Out, Then Flying” where he explains how he flunked out of college, and then he was inspired by a community college teacher who was able to explain a poem that Gilson felt explained him. Cox and Gilson were both inspired by other people to start Cipollini 2 their adventure. They both had supernatural aid which helped them to begin their adventure. Supernatural aid is stage three of Campbell’s seventeen-stage hero cycle. The supernatural aid provides the hero with advice that the hero must have in order to begin the adventure. Cox had Amundsen guiding her from waterway to waterway: “I had traveled through the same Artic world as Amundsen has… but first I need to turn south, as Amundsen had”. Amundsen was not physically present, but the journals he kept gave her advice and knowledge to help her on her journey. Gilson’s community college professor helped him realize that he could do well in college: “Not the poet’s words, but rather, the teacher’s words…this was my second wakeup call in my college experience”. Gilson realized that he was a good student, and that finishing college was a feasible option. Gilson’s community college professor gave him the tools he needed to realize his ability to be a good college student. Gilson then reapplied at the University of Connecticut, and was later accepted. Inspiration from a supernatural aid significantly helps the hero in the adventure to begin his journey. In the short story “Eveline”, James Joyce writes about Eveline, a girl who has taken care of her family her whole life. Eveline has the opportunity to leave the life she has led for the past twenty years and embark on a new adventure to Buenos Ayres. Eveline, at the last moment, decides not to leave with her boyfriend, Frank. Joyce shows that Eveline refuses the call. Refusing the call is stage two of Campbell’s seventeen-stage hero cycle. All heroes initially refuse the call to adventure, but they eventually realize the benefits of the adventure will outweigh the dangers. Eveline refuses to board the ship with Frank. Eveline makes up the excuse “he would drown her. She gripped with both hands at the iron railing. ‘Come!’ No! No! No! It was impossible” (Joyce). Eveline makes herself believe Frank will smoother her, but in reality Eveline doesn’t have the strength to leave a place she has known her whole life. Eveline Cipollini 3 knows deep down that it is easier to stay where she is comfortable than to leave and experience a new, unexplored world. Eveline refuses her call to adventure. Refusing the call doesn’t necessarily mean verbally refusing because refusal can come in different forms. In the film The Devil Wears Prada Andy Sachs gets hired at a highly competitive fashion magazine. She accepts the job and is looked down upon because of her lack of fashion. People at work make fun of her outfit and her hair. She returns to work the second day and has not changed her look at all. Sachs arrives in the same type of clothes and same hair style. Sachs has refused the call. Sachs is shown refusing the call because even though she was hired for the job, her coworkers do not accept her and make fun of her clothes and hair. Rather than prove them wrong on the second day she returns in the same type of fashion she wore the previous day. Sachs has yet to change in anyway. This is Sachs still refusing the adventure because she doesn’t change anything about herself. She stays in the same, boring clothes she is comfortable wearing. Sachs has not made any change. In the poem “We Real Cool” Gwendolyn Brooks writes about a group of boys who dropped out of high school and are acting very mischievous. Brooks shows that these boys have refused the call to adventure because they stay in the same comfortable environment they have known their whole life. The boys refuse the call to adventure because the town they live in is safe for them. They do the same behavior, and they will be protected in their town. The town is their comfort zone, and they don’t want to venture off into the unknown which is what all heroes need to do in order to start their adventure. The narrator shows that the boys dropped out of school and continue to do the same things when she writes, “[w]e real cool/ [w]e [l]eft school/ [w]e [l]urk late” (lines 3-5). In order for a hero to go on an adventure he must leave his comfort zone, and enter a new environment that the hero is not familiar with. Brooks shows that these Cipollini 4 boys continue day after day to do the same activities which are harmless to them. The boys are not heroes because they have refused the call to adventure and continue to go through the motions of their repetitive, rebellious life. In all three cases of refusal of the call, the potential heroes refuse their call in their own way. In order for a hero to begin their adventure they must change in some way. Eveline, Sachs, and the boys from “We Real Cool” have not made a change because they are scarred of leaving a life they have become so comfortable in. After refusal of the call the hero then receives supernatural aid which helps the hero to cross into the first threshold. In the song “Give Me One Reason” Tracy Chapman is about to cross the first threshold. Crossing through the first threshold is stage four in Campbell’s hero cycle. Crossing the first threshold means the hero is traveling from an environment she has never left into a new and challenging environment. The hero is nervous for this journey, but she is still going to embark on it. Chapman is the hero who sings, “Give me one reason to stay here—and I’ll turn right back around… you got to make me change my mind” (lines 2-4). The hero is going on the journey even though she is unsure what it may hold. Chapman realizes that there is more out there that she needs to explore, and she is going to have to leave to find out what it is. The song depicts Chapman crossing into the first threshold and moving from a place she’s known all her life to an unknown and unfamiliar journey. She knows it will be hard, but she says, “there ain’t no more to say” (line 27), but she has made up her mind of continuing on this unknown mission. Chapman expresses her worries about crossing though the first threshold. Moving on in the hero cycle, the film The Devil Wears Prada Andy Sachs has quit working for the extremely difficult Miranda Priestly. Sachs applied at a newspaper to be a writer, and when her interviewer called Priestly for a reference, she told him Sachs was her biggest disappointment, and he would be crazy not to hire her. Priestly telling the interviewer both Cipollini 5 positive and negative things about Sachs is referred to as magical flight. Magical flight is stage thirteen of Campbell’s seventeen-stage hero cycle. Magical flight is when the hero is either helped or hindered by supernatural powers. In Sachs’ case she was both, hindered and helped, by Priestly, who was the supernatural power. Priestly lets the interviewer know that Sachs did disappoint her. However, because Sachs was a hard-working employee the interviewer would be crazy not to hire her. Priestly’s opinion is respected so highly that Priestly telling the interviewer he would be crazy not to hire Sachs gave Sachs’ the job. Priestly is the supernatural power that helped and hindered Sachs to eventually successfully complete the adventure. This is Sachs’ magical flight in her adventure. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King also depicts magical flight. In one scene, Sam and Frodo, two hobbits that just destroyed the ring, are stranded on a rock while lava is rushing by them. They realize there is nowhere they can go, and they believe there is no hope. Sam and Frodo start reminiscing about normal hobbit life, and of times they remember before starting their adventure. Both Sam and Frodo believe they are going to die. Then, out of the sky three eagles emerge, and swoop down to rescue Sam and Frodo. The eagles are able to bring Sam and Frodo to safety. This scene depicts magical flight because the eagles are the supernatural beings. They flew down into lava covered land to rescue the exhausted hobbits. Sam and Frodo would surely have died if it had not been for the eagles picking them up and carrying the hobbits to safety. Without the help of the eagles, Sam and Frodo would have died and not been able to complete the adventure. Due to the eagles picking up the hobbits, the heroes were able to arrive home safely and complete the cycle. The eagles helped the hobbits return home to complete their adventure. Cipollini 6 The final stage of Campbell’s hero cycle is depicted Eudora Welty’s short story “A Worn Path” which portrays the main character Phoenix as the master of the two worlds. Master of the two worlds is stage seventeen. Being the master of two worlds means the hero is able to travel between home and the adventure with great ease. The hero possesses the skills to pass between the two worlds. Phoenix is the hero in “A Worn Path” who makes very long trips to retrieve medicine for her sick grandson. Phoenix explains that she makes multiple journeys between the two worlds when she says, “So the time come around, and I go on another trip for the soothingmedicine” (Welty). Phoenix shows that she has previously been on the trip between home and the doctor’s office. Phoenix is an elderly woman but is able to make the long journey. Earlier in the story she speaks of encounters she has had on the path in previous journeys, “a pleasure I don’t see no two-headed snake coming around that tree, where it come once. It took a while to get by him, back in the summer” (Welty). Phoenix shows the hardship she encountered in previous trips, and she now has tools that she has learned on how to prevent future hardships. Phoenix in “A Worn Path” shows that she is the master between two worlds when she makes her long journey to town but is able to foresee trouble along the way. This is a successful finish in a hero’s adventure. The hero cycle is certainly all around us in anything we do. The call to adventure happens more frequently than you realize, but the call is refused quite a bit. Inspiration helps the hero to stay on track and complete their adventure. Along the way, the hero will encounter numerous hardships which are preparing the hero for the ultimate completion of the adventure: the ability to travel between normal life and adventure life. Not everyone has what it takes to complete or even start their adventure, but the real test comes when your herald is trying to lure you on an adventure. Will you accept his call? That is what it takes to earn your cape. Cipollini 7 Works Cited Brooks, Gwendolyn. “We Real Cool.” Academy of American Poets. Web. 23 Feb. 2010. Chapman, Tracy. “Give Me One Reason.” New Beginning. Elektra Records, 1995. CD. Cox, Lynne. “A Dip in the Cold.” The New Yorker 21 April 2008. Web. 23 Feb. 2010. The Devil Wears Prada. Dir. David Frankel. Twentieth Century Fox, 2006. DVD. Gilson, Christopher. “Flunking Out, Then Flying.” The New York Times 24 July 2009. Web. 23 Feb. 2010. Joyce, James. “Eveline.” Read Print Publishing. Web. 23 Feb. 2010. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Dir. Peter Jackson. Miramax, 2003. DVD. Simmons, Robin. “The Hero Cycle.” 2010. Valencia Community College. PowerPoint. Web. 14 Jan. 2010.