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Crossing of the First Threshold

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Campbell's 'Hero's Journey' > Crossing of the First Threshold

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Previous: Acceptance of the Call

Next: Entering the Belly of the Whale

 

Description

The crossing of the threshold is the point of no return as the hero sets out on the journey.

Example

In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo crosses the threshold both of his house at Bag End and also out of the Shire, into lands totally foreign to him.

In Star Wars, Luke leaves his home planet of Tattoine.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson leave the comfort of 221b Baker Street and set out for the scene of the trouble.

Discussion

Crossing of the first threshold echoes the Acceptance of the Call with physical action, proving that the hero can follow intent with positive action.

Crossing of thresholds is a highly symbolic act, such as in the rites of passage of transition to adulthood or the carrying of a bride by a husband over the threshold of their first house. It indicates commitment and change, leaving behind the old and accepting the new.

This is a defining moment in the life of the hero, often the first active decision of responsibility and independence. This is stepping into a bold new world and is often a very scary act, going from the safety of home into an unpredictable and dangerous world, where the rules are different and the cost of failure is high.

Thresholds are often guarded by people, monsters or other difficulties which have to be overcome, for example when Luke enters the bar and aliens attack (fortunately, Obi-Wan and  Han are there to help).

See also

Departure: Hero leave on mission

 

Campbell, J. (1949). The Hero With a Thousand Faces, New York: Bollingen

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