Personal Recollection of a Journey: My Journey Through Kyphosis
Using the outline of Campbell’s 17 stages of the monomyth from Does the Presence of Joseph Campbell's Monomyth Predict Any Variance in the Box Office for Big Budget Movies to describe a personal journey of your own. This can be a long journey that may still be happening, or a shorter glimpse of something that you have lived through. Be sure to fully explain the stage of the monomyth before applying it to your personal recollection.
After reading about Campbell’s 17 stages of the monomyth from Does the Presence of Joseph Campbell's Monomyth Predict Any Variance in the Box Office for Big Budget Movies I found that a few of the stages could be applied to my life. I will be applying the stages to the journey I took when I discovered that I had kyphosis. Kyphosis is a curvature of the spine similar to scoliosis. The first stage of Campbell’s 17 stages of the monomyth is the call to adventure; this is when “a character who is uneasy with his or her situation, and is ready to do something about it, is suddenly presented with an invitation to do something about it” (Connolly 6). My call to adventure was when my spinal doctor informed me that spinal fusion surgery could be done to correct the curvature of my spine and stop it from ever harming me. The next stage my journey encountered was stage 4, crossing of the First Threshold; this is when “the character who has heeded the gods and taken the first step almost immediately encounters a guardian that blocks his or her passage in to an environment of great power” (Connolly 6). In my case the guardian who blocked my passage was my father, out of concern for the risks of the surgery. I was able to convince my father that the surgery was something I wanted to do because I did not like having it hanging over my head and that I was better off having it done while I was young enough to heal quickly. The next stage of my journey would be the fifth stage, belly of the whale; this is the stage where “the hero is swallowed whole by a beast, and changes within it undergoes a change which renders him/her better prepared to take the next step into an unknown land” (Connolly 6). For me this is when I had the surgery, I entered the hospital for the surgery and left changed, my spine curvature had been fixed. This change has allowed me to be better prepared for the rest of my life, I no longer had the weight of need to have the surgery done hanging over me nor did I need to worry about how kyphosis could affect the rest of my life. The only other stage that could be applied to my journey is the ninth stage, the hero seizes the sword or reward; this is the stage where the hero has survived death, won, and now takes his or her reward. For my journey this would be when I woke up in the recovery room having survived the surgery without complications and knowing that I would live the rest of my life without the worry of how my kyphosis would affect the quality of my life.
Connolly, Sean. "Does the Presence of Joseph Campbell's Monomyth Predict any Variance in the Box Office for Big Budget Movies?" Order No. 1556849 Indiana University, 2014. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2008. Print.
Manganaro, Marc. Myth, Rhetoric, and the Voice of Authority: A Critique of Frazer, Eliot, Frye & Campbell. New Haven: Yale UP. 1992. Print.
Campbell’s 17 stages of the monomyth
1) The Call to Adventure: a character who is uneasy with his or her situation, and is
ready to do something about it, is suddenly presented with an invitation to do
something about it.
2) Refusal of the Call: however, it is scary and uncomfortable to leave the confines of
every day routine, and the call to adventure is rejected.
3) Supernatural Aid: ‘the gods’ in some form help the character who is truly ready for
this journey become aware of the true opportunity before him/her
4) Crossing of the First Threshold: the character who has heeded the gods and taken the
first step almost immediately encounters a guardian that blocks his or her passage in
to an environment of great power.
5) Belly of the Whale: the hero is swallowed whole by a beast, and changes within it
undergoes a change which renders him/her better prepared to take the next step into
an unknown land.
6) Road of Trials: this is a series of tests or tasks that let the hero learn what must be
learned in order to confront the unknown forces beyond.
7) Meeting with the Goddess: the character encounters the perfect love, comfort, and
bride with whom nothing can go wrong; unfortunately, she is unattainable
8) Woman as the Temptress: seductive magic introduces the character to new and
tempting ways of thinking and acting; ways different from the rules with which he or
she was raised
9) Atonement: in a very Oedipal way, the angry tyrant-father confronts the character for
seeking the knowledge of temptresses and goddesses, and the character must destroy
the tyrant-father (or steal a source of his power) to equalize or surpass him.
10) Apotheosis: confronting the tyrant-father costs all of the character’s energy and the
character “dies”, going all the way to the liminal edge of consciousness and death,
and there leaves behind the last residue of the no-longer-useful-self.
11) The Ultimate Boon: In this liminal state with death, the character can touch and
interact somewhat, not with the gods, but with the source of the gods’ power, beyond
12) Refusal of Return: being so blissful in having moved beyond the bounds of mortality,
the character, or, those who have gone along with the character, may not wish to
return from the source of the power of the gods.
13) The Magic Flight: the character takes some of the source of the power of the gods and
flees with it back to the mortal world; if this elixir is stolen without permission, the
character is chased.
14) Rescue from Without: being still mostly human, the character could not complete
escape from the gods without intervention from another god, or some allies that were
formed along the way.
15) Crossing the Return Threshold: the character returns to the human world bringing
terrible power, such that even former friends and community members may tremble.
16) Master of Two Worlds: the character unites his or her new terrible power with the
beneficial parts of his or her more humane ways of being.
17) Freedom to Live: the character brings the force of the adventure back to his or her
community frees them all with this two-worlds gift, and refuses to become the new
tyrant-father, instead returning to a new, though still human life.