The Hero with a Thousand Faces by J. Campbell: Book Review

Pages: 2
Words: 317

“A blunder—apparently the merest chance—reveals an unsuspected world, and the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly understood” (Campbell, 2008, p. 46). The author describes the beginning of the typical adventure story and the factors involved in launching the plot. Prior to making that statement, Campbell demonstrated how a typical hero story begins, using the Frog King story’s introduction as an example.

Then it was shown that several other stories from different corners of the world are bent to the same logic. Overall, this is a demonstration that throughout times and cultures, stories have common premises and most of them include the concepts described by Campbell in the opening thesis. Simply saying, Campbell means that in many cases, stories start because the protagonist or some other important character engages with forces beyond their comprehension. Also, frequently the main characters do so without intent, only by chance, or in order to achieve something entirely different initially. However, as a result, the main characters find themselves drawn into a relationship with a new and incomprehensible world and characters.

The mentioned quote is the summary of the first part of the Departure stage of a hero’s adventure. This stage tells the reader how the story started and what actions caused the status quo to change in the first place. Overall, the Departure stage describes the story’s main ‘problem’ to be solved and the reasons for the main character to start their adventure and overcome the obstacles that prevent them from facing their fate. Moreover, this stage also introduces some supernatural external aid, in the form of a protective figure, to help the adventurers on their difficult journey. It can be argued that the initial thesis reflected and summarized most of the mentioned aspects of the Departure stage – the main hero’s actions, external circumstances and their impacts, and the introduction of an ‘unsuspected’ new world.


Campbell, J. (2008). The hero with a thousand faces (3rd edition). Princeton University Press.