The Step Not Taken
Have you ever been through a situation where it changed your perspective on how you see things? Or even changed you as a person? This is called an ‘archetype.’ This is seen to shape the behaviour, belief, and identity of an individual and community. This can also be called an ‘epiphany’ which is a moment of sudden understanding, clarity, insight, or illumination that has a lasting impact on an individual and shapes his or her identity. That is exactly what happened in the essay, “The Step Not Taken” by Paul D’Angelo.
There are three stages in the Monomyth; Separation, Struggle or Initiation, then Return and Reintegration. The narrator of the essay, Paul D’Angelo, went through all three stages. In the first stage, Paul stepped into the elevator not knowing that that very moment will change his life forever. When the “well-dressed young man carrying a briefcase” burst into tears, Paul refused to see what was wrong with him because of a sense of fear and inadequacy. He was afraid of what might happen if he asked him to go for a cup of coffee together. ”What would his reaction have been to that? Would he have turned even further to the wall? Or would he have turned on me? Cursing me? Telling me to mind my own damned business? Would he have lashed out at me? Sorrow and insecurity turned to rage? Would he have physically attacked me? Or would he have gone with me for that cup of coffee?”
The second stage is Struggle or Initiation. What this means is when the hero figure endures a series of physical, emotional, and/or spiritual hardships and tests, over which he or she may or may not triumph. In this case, he did not. Paul was going through a lot of mixed emotions at that time. He didn’t know what to do because he’s never come across that situation before. The final stage is Return and Reintegration. Paul decided to walk out of that elevator without looking back. Once the elevator door shut, there was no turning back to...
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