Joseph Campbell's Monomyth is an invaluable storytelling structure. It’s responsible for some of the most famous stories of our time: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Goonies—the list goes on. But more importantly, the monomyth is a critical investigative tool. Using Campbell’s 12 Stages of The Hero's Journey, we can actually uncover important truths about some of our favorite stories.
For example, most people think that Ellen Ripley was the main character of the 1979 classic sci-fi film, Alien. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. By holding the film up against the monomyth structure, one can easily see that Alien’s real hero was hiding right under our noses.
Life is good for Jonesy and the crew of the Nostromo. Though it is a little peculiar that they drifted so far off course while sleeping…
Call To Adventure
After investigating a derelict ship’s distress call, the crew returns to the Nostromo in dire straits. Something unnatural has attached itself to Kane’s face.
Refusal Of The Call
The first one to realize they’ve been infiltrated, Jonesy is none too happy about the prospect of fighting an alien. Seen here: Jonesy literally cannot run away fast enough.
Meeting The Mentor
Wise, crotchety, full of one-liners: Harry Dean Stanton is just the mentor Jonesy needs right now. The crew of the Nostromo longs for a hero and Jonesy is the only one who can save them.
Crossing The Threshold
His mentor viciously killed before his very eyes, nothing in Jonesy's world will ever be the same.
Tests, Allies, Enemies
The crew is getting picked off one by one. It’s time for Jonesy and his human companion, Ripley, to get the hell outta dodge. He might not love getting shoved into a box, but it’s better than getting left behind.
Approach To The Inmost Cave
But first, Jonesy and Ripley must go straight through the belly of the beast if they want to get out alive.
They fight for their very lives.
Reward (Seizing The Sword)
Safely aboard the lifeboat Narcissus, Jonesy and Ripley share a tender moment. The real treasure was friendship the whole time.
The Road Back
Time to settle down for the long trip home. A hypersleep chamber is just the thing Jonesy needs to shake the terror of his adventure.
But the alien has other plans. Injured, it sneaks aboard the Narcissus for one last shot at Jonesy and his human sidekick. Not pictured here: Jonesy telepathically giving Ripley the idea to blow the alien out of the ship.
Return With The Elixir
The beast finally "cooked," Jonesy will return home with the knowledge of alien existence. He’ll never be the same, but maybe he’s better off for it.
This post is sponsored by PAWS in Old City, Philadelphia. This week, we're teaming up with local cat shelters to celebrate the release of Quirk's first graphic novel Manfried the Man, a hilarious and poignant look at cat ownership — except in Manfried, the pets are men and cats rule the world. Learn more about #QuirkCatWeek here.
#QuirkCatWeek runs from April 30 to May 4, 2018.