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In narratology and comparative mythology, the hero's journey, or the monomyth, is the common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed.
Earlier figures had proposed similar concepts, including psychoanalyst Otto Rank and amateur anthropologist Lord Raglan. Eventually, hero myth pattern studies were popularized by Joseph Campbell, who was influenced by Carl Jung's analytical psychology. Campbell used the monomyth to analyze and compare religions. In his famous book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), he describes the narrative pattern as follows:
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
Campbell's theories regarding the concept of a "monomyth" have been the subject of criticism from scholars, particularly folklorists (scholars active in folklore studies), who have dismissed the concept as a non-scholarly approach suffering from source-selection bias, among other criticisms. More recently, the hero's journey has been analyzed as an example of the sympathetic plot, a universal narrative structure in which a goal-directed protagonist confronts obstacles, overcomes them, and eventually reaps rewards.
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