Building the Dam Story

At the end, if there is success, one wonders how. Through this wonder one discovers the story. This blog is dedicated to that discovery.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hero's Journey part 1

According to Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey is an archetypal pattern forming the under-structure of every story ever told. It is a pattern that illuminates the stages everyone must go through in order to grow. It's a journey of personal evolution that every human being can identify with. And it all begins with The Call to Adventure.

The Call to Adventure is the point at which the person is first given an idea or notice that everything is going to change, whether he or she knows it or not.

In the historical fiction novel Hard Luck, newly orphaned 14 year old Jake Adams arrives at the site where the Hoover Dam will soon be built. Camping in Ragtown, near the Colorado River, with thousands of others like him waiting to get a job at the dam, he is confronted with three things informing him that change is in the forecast. For one, he meets his antagonist Eddie McIntyre, a bit older and a lot more independent, Eddie sees Jake's hidden side the way a gardener knows what's planted underground. Secondly, there's Cora White, a pretty girl that is ill when Jake meets her and he's able to help her get well using his family medicine. Thirdly, there's the big boss that arrives in Ragtown with an entourage to investigate the passage upriver to the dam. Jake is impressed with the way he stays cool despite men literally begging him for a job.

For this story it is other people in Jake's life that furnish the impetus for change. As Jake confronts the mystery that these three individuals hold for him in his life, he can't get closer to them without sensing the change that is about to occur in his life.

Part II will consider what Campbell refers to as The Refusal of the Call.