Monomyth or the hero's journey is a basic pattern found in literature from all around the world. It is “one of the dominant archetypal pattern in literature, film, and even video game text.” Some examples of monomyths are Snow White, Star Wars, and even Casablanca. Although at first these three stories don't seem to have much in common, when you look a little closer you can see that they all follow the three steps of the monomyth, separation, struggle/Initiation, and return or reintegration. This analysis will examine the essay "The Steps Not Taken" By Paul D'Angelo, and will explain how the protagonist journeyed through the three stages and how he was transformed as a result.
The story begins with a man torn with indecision on whether or not to help a complete stranger, which he ultimately decides not to do, and ends with him feeling remorse for his behaviour and apologising to the stranger after coming to the epiphany that his inaction was wrong. In the first stage, the separation stage, the narrator steps onto an elevator at work, something we can assume he does every day without incident. There is nothing that makes him assume this day will be any different. He is followed onto the elevator by a young man who is described as "typical junior executive material". The call to adventure happens when the young man inexplicably burst into tears.
This is how we enter the second phase of the monomyth, the struggle or intiation phase. Paul is faced with a decision, does he help the man, or does he try to pretend he doesnt notice. He decides to walk away and exits the elevator "without looking back". Once the elevator door closes behind him he is faced with guilt and insecurity about his decision. He stands in the hallway " a bundle of mixed emotions, wondering what to do". He contempletes looking for the man, even going office to office to find him, but worries it might embarass him and make things worse. He wonders if the stranger was " metally...
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