The Hero's Journey
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The Hero's Journey is the name given to the specific steps taken by a literary main character in the course of their story, as well as an exploitable flow chart showing a circle representing the journey, which is frequently used in object-labeling memes. The Hero's Journey trope is often seen as the requirement for a story hero to fully be actualized, with many heroes in both old and modern stories undertaking similar challenges and experiences that qualify as positions on the circular flow chart. The phrase, entering into existence during the 1950s, is believed to be much older than this due to how storytelling has existed in similarity for centuries.
Though the concept of a Hero's Journey has existed for centuries, as all stories involving great heroes have common threads and similarities between them. However, in 1949 Joseph Campbell released his book titled The Hero with a Thousand Faces in which he called out what previous writers were copying off each other — essentially the stereotype of a hero that goes off on an adventure and comes back after overcoming adversity with various riches. On November 20th, 2009, Wikipedia editor Slashme uploaded the earliest known example of the illustration of the Hero's Journey that would later serve as the template for the most commonly used meme format parodying the concept in the following years (shown below).
On January 24th, 2015, the grad student David Wood gave a presentation on the Hero's Journey, with several examples being used inside the PowerPoint. These examples of various Hero's Journeys would mirror later exploitable memes that eventually came years later with the same general style (shown below).
Aside from the flow chart format, the general concept of the Hero's Journey also became a popular reference in memes poking fun at the trope during the 2010s and 2020s. For example, in early 2019, Imgflip user HayK47 uploaded a still from Star Wars: The Force Awakens in which Rey is holding up the compressor that she bypassed, with the caption instead reading that she "bypassed the Hero's Journey," a thought shared amongst fans in the Star Wars fandom (shown below).
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Mar 09, 2023 at 08:24PM EST
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