Tag Archives: Project 2: The Hero’s Journey

Project 2: Exercise 2 – Character Archetypes

I came up with of few other examples of archetype beyond those already suggested. As a recap those already suggested in my work book were:

  • Protagonist
  • Antagonist
  • Mentor
  • Sidekick
  • Shapeshifter

I drew up a different list below:

Illustration of Archetypes








  • Hero (Antagonist)
  • Villain (Protagonist)
  • Joker/Fool
  • Sibling
  • Mother
  • Victim
  • Coward
  • Lover
  • Damsel
  • Monster?
  • Fate?
  • Female Hero or Female Architect.

I came across a few new ideas or concepts of archetypes reading this udemy blog guide to literary characters, namely, Mother & Female Architect. I also found an interesting page from a Cambridge university site which proposed a slightly different structure to archetype’s.

It briefly names Vladimir Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale (1928) and a list of seven archetypes of fairy tales. I think some of these translate across several story telling mediums. 

  1. The Villain
  2. The Provider
  3. The Helper
  4. The Princess and her Father
  5. The Dispatcher
  6. The Hero
  7. The False Hero

Archetypes present in: ‘The Hunger Games’

Scan of front cover of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, published by Scholastic Ltd, 2011.

Scan of front cover of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, published by Scholastic Ltd, 2011.










Female Hero/Protagonist – Katniss Everdeen

Katniss is a complex character. The Hero because she fights for what is good, her love of her sister, defends the weak (Rue) and doesn’t kill gladly. But she is also a survivor, and willing to use deceit , to trick people into believing that she is in love with Peeta (at least that’s initially the idea). She defies the normal stereotype of a male character as the Hero.

Protagonist – President Snow/The Capital/The Games

The man behind the games, and who makes several threats and deals with Katniss is President Snow. Their relationship is interesting, he could easily order her killing but chooses not to. He is frightened by her lack of compliance with the capital, and perhaps a little jealous. He cannot get rid of her and risk rebellion by the other states, but he also cannot seem to control her into doing what he wants. He is a source of fear in her life, he even has his own calling card to intimidate her in the form of a rose.

The Games themselves are also the protagonist of the piece, they keep the story going, forcing the Hero to endure hardship after hardship. They seek to Kill all but one of contestants, and the game seems unfairly set against Katniss (the Hero) at several points within the story.

Mentor – Haymitch

He is literally supposed to be their mentor for the games, as a former contestant. He defies the normal fit of mentor, with his flaw, he is an alcoholic. Nevertheless he forges a strong, somewhat bitter relationship with Katniss and Peeta. He guides them through training for the games and acts as a mentor guiding their interaction with the capitol once the games are over.

Sidekick – Peeta Melark

Another complex relationship. I’ve said Peeta is the sidekick because he works to help Katniss stay alive throughout the games at any cost. However he is not purely the sidekick, as he is actually in love with her. He is also perhaps a Hero figure too, as he often rescues Katniss and believes in the good in people.

Lover – Gale/Peeta

Gale is the man that Katniss really loves from back home. They spend hours as young adults learning to hunt in the woods. He emerges as her lover in the series of novels, but again he is a darker character. He knowns Katniss is somewhat torn between him and Peeta.

Joker/Fool – Caesar

I wasn’t 100% sure who fulfilled the archetype of Fool or Joker. But I suppose Caesar does to some degree. He’s the face of the Hinger Games show as the presenter, he has a ridiculous flamboyant appearance. He is also entirely at the mercy of the games producer and the capital, a fool, not wise enough to make a stand. He seems to make light of the gruesome reality of a tv-show in which the contestants hunt each other down to the death.

Sibling – Prim/Rue

Katniss’s literal sister is Prim. She occupies a lot of Katniss’s inner world and is her motivation for survival. However Rue, a younger contestant of the Games represents a surrogate sister for Katniss. Katniss mourns her death in a manner like that of a loved one or sibling.

Damsel – Prim/Rue

I’ve called Prim/Rue joint Damsel’s because in the story Katniss enter’s into the games to save her sister from them, her sister is effectively the damsel she is protecting. But once inside the games she finds herself drawn to saving Rue, a young girl who is at risk from the older, stronger contestants. Rue becomes the secondary damsel in distress literally when she is captured in a net and Katniss rescues her.

Victim – All the participants in the games/ those under control of the capitol.

Project 2: My Own Hero’s Journey

Using the Hero’s Journey template from the first half of the exercise I have come up with my own plot. I think it’s probably best as the outline to a short story, but could make a sweet film. My Hero’s Journey focuses around a female lead character called Betty. Betty is a travel agent who is afraid of travel, or more accurately the unknown. The story really focuses on how she overcomes her fears to lead a more free life.

Act 1:

Ordinary World: Betty is a travel agent who lives in small flat in London. Her world is her job, helping other people reach their dream destination. Her world is entirely predictable, she shops in the same places, see’s the same people she always has etc.

Call to Adventure: Betty’s Travel agency is part of a larger firm. The firm is running a competition to acknowledge the ‘best travel agent’. Unbeknownst to Betty she has been nominated by her manager. Inevitably Betty wins the competition, the prize however is an all expenses paid trip to Umbria, Italy.

Refusal of the Call: She refuses to take the prize, finally admitting to herself and her boss that she has never been abroad because she is afraid of what might happen. She continues to carry on working, doing her best to ignore that feeling of disappointment.

Meeting with the Mentor: A man in his late twenties visits the shop she works in. He, Peter, wants to book a trip to Umbria, Italy. He has severe anxiety and has been wanting to take this trip for years. Betty feels able to open up to him about the prize. He convinces Betty to go with him to Umbria, saying he will help her overcome her fears.

Act 2:

Tests, Allies, Enemies: Everything is a test for Betty. A test of her resolve, but also of her courage. It takes courage for her to take her first flight, the taxi to the hotel. Staying somewhere unfamiliar overnight is a huge test. Peter is obviously the first of her allies, but she meets another named Sophia. Sophia finds Betty having a panic attack in a local store. She calms Betty down and helps her back to the hotel. The two become friends. Betty’s enemy has been with her all along – her anxiety and fear of change. It rears it’s ugly head throughout the trip!

Approach to the Inmost Cave: Betty is feeling demoralised and wants to return home. She feels like she must complete one activity alone before returning. She has always wanted to see one particular town in Umbria. She plans a trip to this town.

Ordeal: Along her journey to the town she becomes lost. She asks a stranger for directions, he deliberately misdirects her, and she becomes even more lost.

Reward: She refuses to give up and despite being alone and lost, continues on. The stranger’s direction leads her to a beautiful elevated view of the countryside and town below. He directed her to a view which allowed her to see all the town but from a different perspective. She also gains new faith in her ability to manage the unknown.

Act 3:

The Road Back: Betty’s journey back home gives her time to re-access her life, as she travels she comes to an epiphany.

Resurrection: Betty’s Resurrection is a new life, new job – as a travel guide in Italy. She finally gets to travel to all the places she studied and put the Italian she learnt at University to good use.

Return with the Elixir: The Elixir for Betty is a transformed view of herself, and freedom from her anxiety. She is able to share this and help others, including Peter.

Notes on process:

At first I found this task really difficult, I didn’t know where to begin. I feel like art and creative writing for me a strongly linked to drawing from personal experience. I didn’t know how to write something really fantasy based or comical. But I know what it’s like to experience anxiety and to have to find ways to overcome it in the everyday activity of life. I used this as my idea for the story outline.I don’t think it’s a masterpiece of creative writing but I do think it makes good use of the metaphor’s in the Hero’s Journey by putting them in a very human, down to earth scenario.

I also took some time to create an image to go with this post, using some photo’s from my own trip to Italy when I was a teenager. I used Photoshop to do this, it’s not perfect but I enjoyed doing it and it helps me not to forget all the things I learned to do in my graphic design module.



Project 2: Exercise 1- The Hero’s Journey

I chose the film ‘Spirited Away’ by Hayao Miyazaki to map the stages of the hero’s journey. I decided to take a two fold approach to mapping the hero’s journey by creating illustrations of the stages as well as writing about them here on the blog.

Act 1:

Heros Journey Act 1








  1. Ordinary World: The story begins with 10 year old Chihiro, the Hero, and her parents travelling together in their car to their new home. Her ordinary world is her life with her parents but her world is changing with the move.
  2. Call To Adventure: Chihiro’s father takes a detour to their new home and they find themselves at the entrance to a tunnel, what appears to an abandoned theme park. Chihiro feels the wind pulling her into the tunnel, she see’s this as a call to adventure.
  3. Refusal of the Call: Chihiro’s parents enter the tunnel to explore beyond. She initially refuses the call to go in, instead insisting they should stay by the car.
  4. Meeting the Mentor: Chihiro changes her mind and enters the tunnel with her parents. On the other side is what appears to be an abandoned theme park. But as her parents get closer to the building they smell food. They find a restaurant that has placed hot food out, despite there being no people to be seen. Her parents start to eat the food, Chihiro refuses and turns away. When she turns around her parents have been turned into pigs! In shock Chihiro runs further up the path, to find a bath house. The sun is setting and suddenly a boy appears in front of her who urges her to leave. She leaves only to find the field they walked through earlier is now a river which she cannot cross. The boy, Haku, finds her, and gives her food to eat saying she needs it or she will disappear. He then acts as her mentor, instructing her to ask for a job inside the bath house, from the boiler man.
  5. Crossing the First Threshold: Haku, the mentor, takes Chihiro to the bridge to cross into the bath house. She has to hold her breath in order to remain hidden, humans are not welcome in the spirit world she has entered. Together they cross the threshold into the bath house.

Act 2:

Heros Journey Act 2








6. Tests, Allies, Enemies: Chihiro’s first test is to find Kamaji the boiler man, and ask him for a job, Haku, says she must not meet the witch who runs the bath-house. She fails her test, Kamaji will not give her a job, but he asks Lin, a worker, to help her find a job elsewhere. He becomes her ally, risking his own job to help her find one. Lin, at first seems hostile to Chihiro, seeing her as a nuisance more than anything else! Chihiro makes her way to Yubaba’s rooms, she is the owner of the bath-house, it quickly becomes clear she is evil and an enemy, wanting to feed Chihiro’s parents (now pigs) to the guests. She gives Chihiro a job working with Lin cleaning the bath tubs. Chihiro then faces her next test, helping out a river spirit who has become clogged up with human rubbish. Another test follows when a strange spirit, No Face, enters the bath-house and follows her around, becoming aggressive. Chihiro discovers Haku is also a dragon, and he has been stealing from Yubaba’s magic. Lin and Kamaji act as allies, helping her to prepare to leave the bath-house.

7. Approach to the Inmost Cave: Haku is injured having stolen magic from Zeniba, the twin sister of witch Yubaba. To save Haku, Chihiro sets out on a journey to Zeniba’s house. She catches a train with No Face in tow, this is her approach to the Inmost Cave. 

8. Ordeal: Chihiro reaches Zeniba’s house expecting conflict, but discovers Zeniba is a kind witch. Zeniba tell’s Chihiro she has to look within herself to find answers to saving Haku and bringing her parents back, this is her ordeal. 

9. Reward: Haku appears in dragon form at Zeniba’s, he takes Chihiro back to the bath-house. On the journey Chihiro remembers Haku’s real name, this free’s him from being a dragon spirit, and allows him to cancel his working contract with Zeniba. His happiness and freedom is Chihiro’s reward because she loves him.

Act 3

Heros Journey Act 3








10. The Road Back: Once back at the Bath-house Chihiro carries out her last test from Zeniba. She is then free to take the road back to the human world, and finds that the river has turned to grass allowing her to cross back to the tunnel.

11. Resurrection: Along the path back to the human world Chihiro finds her parents, this is their resurrection as a family back together heading to normal life.

12. Return with the Elixir: The family find their car and discover the tunnel and car are overgrown with plants. As they leave Chihiro’s father comments that moving home and making new friends is a bit intimidating. Chihiro replies that she thinks she can handle it, her elixir is her new found confidence and removal of fear about moving.