Hero's Journey meme example and template.

The Hero's Journey

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Updated Mar 09, 2023 at 05:47PM EST by Zach.

Added Mar 08, 2023 at 11:05PM EST by Brandon.

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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[1] 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).

Return (Gift of the Goddess) Atonement Call to Adventure KNOWN UNKNOWN The Hero's Journey Transformation REVELATION mi Abyss death & rebirth Supernatural aid Threshold Guardian(s) Threshold (beginning of transformation) Mentor Helper Challenges and Temptations Helper


On January 24th, 2015, the grad student David Wood[2] 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).

Wizard of Oz

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[3] 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).


Various Examples

Acceptance of cat master Rebuilding the relationship with food Atonement But I still love her. Bombardment of Cute cat compilations, memes, gifs Call to Adventure Return Transformation Known Unknown Cat Owner's Supernatural Aid owning a cat) The Hero's Journey Scratches and Bites (Cat doesn't love me) The Abyss (Death and Rebirth) power of the internet (research on _Threshold Becoming a "cat" person SPCA training The Mentor Buying way too many cat products Challenges and Temptations. ALMOST HOME DON'T TOUCH FACE! Return HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE TOUCHED THIS CARD READER?? ACCIDENTAL 1 Atonement GOT F SO BRAVE! (Gift of the Goddess) THOS BEANS WELL, I GUESS 2% MILK IT IS. CILANTRO Call to Adventure RAN OUT OF COFFEE BEANS aid HOW ABOUT TORTILLA CHIPS INSTEAD! KNOWN Threshold YOUR HOUSE Guardian (s) LIKE A BLOCK AWAY CATS, UNKNOWN PROBABLY SAW A GUY IN A GAS MASK The Hero's Journey Supernatural Transformation REVELATION M₂ TO GET GROCERIES DAMN, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TORTILLAS? Mentor FRIEND WHO IS OBSESSING HAND SANITIZER (IT'S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE TAKE THIS) Threshold (beginning of transformation) Temptations TIME TO TOUCH THE SHOPPING CART I Helper GOOGLE Helper "CORONA VIRUS(SIC) SHOPPING CART" GUY WHO CROSSED TO THE OTHER SIDEWALK WRITINGA HERO'S JOURNEY AND NOT KILLING OFF THE MENTOR WRITINGA HERO'S JOURNEY AND KILLING OFF THE MENTOR WRITING A HERO'S JOURNEY NOT KILLING THE MENTOR, AND STILL HAVING IT BE A GOOD STORY imgflip.com WF VENT TAFF CURRY QUEST (THE HERO'S JOURNEY) Bingos BINGO RETURNS HOME, HAVING CHANGED BINGO FACES THE ULTIMATE QUEST A SECRET IS REVEALED BINGO IS IN HER COMFORT ZONE 7 2 GOING 3 BINGO ARRIVES TO WHERE SHE'S ADVENTURE CALLS S FIRST CHALLENGE IS REVEALED BINGO ADAPTS! I'M SORRY, GUYS, BUT WE SIMPLY DO NOT FIT DOWN imgflip.com L THE HERO'S JOURNEY CRITERIA WHO embarking on the hero's journey (going to buy a tasty little treat

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Slashme

[2] Slideshare.net – David Wood

[3] Imgflip – HayK47

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Top Comments


you know … idk if I am being nostalgic or not , but I kind of wanna see and old style hero's journey , not a deconstruction, not a subersion , not a "the bad guy was the good guy actually" deal , I'd had plenty of those the last decade, I want an ACTUAL hero's journy , completed with good writting and characters , that is charming and good, and that while not really unique , its creative with what it does.

Idk why , after reading this article I got a craving for it… like when one sees a good burger on tv and suddenly you wanna eat a good burger, like that , I want a story like this seen I havent seen one like this in a while.


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