Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Hero's Journey

I've read a little bit of The Hobbit by JR Tolken when I was young, but not enough to remember. Nor have I watched Lord of the Rings trilogy entirely. Maybe this is a good thing since nothing from the movies can spoil the book. Picking up this book again was very enjoyable though. The book was easy to read and attention grabbing for there was something always happening. Tolken's descriptions were simple to follow and just the right amount of detail to imaging what was going on. Not too much to the point where you forget what is being describe and just enough to get the big picture and keep the story moving. My favorite environmental description is of Baggins home in the Shire. His home sounds incredibly cozy and lovely. I would not mind the life of a hobbit. Especially their eating behaviors, multiple meals a day of a wide assortment is a dream come true. The food and drinks Tolken describes are so delectable.

The development of Bilbo Baggins character is a true representation of the Hero's Journey. According to Joseph Campbell's chart of the Hero's Journey, also known as Monomyth, involves three stages; departure, initiation, and the return. The stepping out of the comfort zone into the unknown and learning about one self and abilities makes the comfort zone dull and boring. The journey equips the traveler with new found wisdom and responsibility but leaves the traveler craving for more adventure and unsatisfied with the comfort life style. Once the traveler is out in the wild, he doesn't want to go back to the simple life. Bilbo Baggins experiences bliss and enlightenment and is required an outside force to bring him back down. The refusal to return is a difficult journey within its self. How to integrate back into everyday life and to have experience something great in the supernatural world. The solution to this stage is to become a master of both worlds and learn how to share his findings in his home world. By using a fictional fantasy setting, the author can create a scenario for the reader to get lost into. A chance to observe life in a different environment. Many of the challenges Bilbo Baggins face are similar challenges we face in our life. As we read more of Bilbo Baggins adventure we learn more about our selves.

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