Star Wars and the Hero's Journey

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Todd Hansen
Ms. Nicholson
English 263 Block 4-5B
September 30, 2009

Star Wars and the Hero’s Journey
In “Star Wars: A New Hope” created by George Lucas, the elements of the movie are very similar to those of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces or “The hero’s journey”. This paper will describe how Lucas’s picture meets the elements departure, initiation, and return. Campbell describes all these elements in his book…the motivation for many of the themes and characters in that of Star Wars.

“The point in a person’s life when they are first given notice that everything is going to change, whether they know it or not,” (Campbell). This is how Joseph Campbell describes “The Call to Adventure”, the first step of departure. The movie that is Star Wars uses the element of departure through Luke Skywalker, the hero. When Luke’s aunt and uncle were killed by Imperial Army…this is when he is called to help the rebellion fight back. This is Luke’s “Call to Adventure”, which begins his departure as the hero on his journey.

The Initiation. According to Campbell the Initiation is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation,” (Campbell). In the case of George Lucas’s “Star Wars: A New Hope”, the person, Luke Skywalker, goes through 2 difficult tests. As the first test of Luke’s “initiation”, he has to try to use the force by defending himself with his light saber while “blindfolded”. He succeeds this test after a couple of tries, passing his first test. Towards the end of the film, Luke is past the challenge of destroying the death star, which he also passes with flying colors. These two challenges helped Skywalker pass his “initiation” towards saving the universe.

The last element of “the hero’s journey” is the return. After destroying the death star, Luke flies back to base and is greeted by everyone. Later in the movie, he receives a medal for his courageous acts. This symbolizes...
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