Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

November 3, 2014

The Hero’s Journey

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:41 AM

Rites of Passage are the actual tests or challenges an adolescent faces. I’ve written of an example we see for females in the Hunger Games.

While the rites of passages vary from culture to culture, the process of initiation – this passage from child to adult – is almost always the same.

It involves risk.

Bret Stephenson explains.

Risk is the most common and necessary factor in a rite of passage.  Initiations are set up to create an ego death of the boy (or the girl), or put another way, to create a developmental shift.  The process simply sets a boy up in a situation that requires a man to complete.  Risk is the doorway to this internal shift.  Risk, however, has a dubious and often negative connotation in this modern culture.  Indeed, risk is the opposite of insurance, which strongly drives our culture in its desire to eliminate risk in America.  The fear of injury and/or legal liabilities makes it almost impossible to create true rites of passage for our youth.

Rites of Passage are simply a manifested, choreographed implementation of the Hero’s Journey.  Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, or the hero’s journey, is a basic pattern that its proponents argue is found in many narratives from around the world.

Every traditional culture found the need to create these processes, thus ensuring a healthy transition from adolescence into manhood and womanhood.

An example is Star Wars and my new soon to be released novel MURRAN.

As in MURRAN, Stephenson states:

Another universal dynamic in all rites of passage is ‘community acceptance.’  Quite simply, what a youth goes through as part of his or her initiation must be accepted and supported by his or her community.  This creates a clear expectation for the youth to follow and the adults to expect.  There is no question as to whether what the youth experienced counts or not.  Everyone has agreed beforehand that it does.  This is a critical issue that is all but impossible in a melting-pot culture with no common or unifying threads. 

Much of our teen violence, drug addiction, gang involvement, teen pregnancy, etc., can be attributed to the loss of these rites of passage.


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