The Hero's Three-Part Journey
Campbell on the Hero’s Journey  Van Gennep on initiation rituals  Propp’s 31 folktale functions
1.  Separation  "The hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder. . ." (30). 
The hero sets forth, or "is lured, carried away, or else voluntarily proceeds to the threshold of adventure" (245). 
1.  Separation  The person or sacred object is separated from the rest of the community, either physically or ritually.  In The Odyssey, a young heifer to be sacrificed is separated from the herd by gilding its horns (48).  Functions 1-11.  Propp's first eight functions detail  the villain's efforts to create a situation for which a hero might come to the rescue.  For example, the villain might abduct someone, cause someone to fall asleep (Snow White), transform (Circe) or murder someone, etc.  Also, something (like a bride, a magical agent) may be lacking.  The hero is sent out (functions 9-11) to remedy the "misfortune or lack."
2.  Initiation "fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won . . ." (30).  At the "threshold of adventure," the hero may meet a guardian whom he "may defeat or conciliate"; then he may go "alive into the kingdom of the dark (brother-battle, dragon-battle; offering, charm), [Odysseus' moly] or be slain by an opponent and descend in death (dismemberment, crucifixion) [Dionysus]. The hero meets "familiar yet strangely intimate" powers who test him / her, or give "magical aid (helpers)."  After a "supreme ordeal," the hero gains a reward:  union with earth goddess (sacred marriage), recognition by a father-creator, divine status, or the theft of some boon (bride theft, fire-theft).  2.  Transition  Through a series of rites and/or physical experiences (circumcision, dancing, trances, fasts, shows) the initiate experiences a religious transformation or illumination.  Sometimes, as in Bacchic rites, the initiate is possessed by the god, or en theos ("in the god"--source of our word enthusiasm).  After the ceremony, initiates to the mysteries of Demeter felt that they had the chance of a better afterlife.  Walter Burkert says that "the basic idea of an initiation ritual is generally taken to be that of death and rebirth" (99).  Sacrificed animals undergo transition when killed and cooked (Odyssey 48).  Functions 12-19.
12.  Hero "is tested,   interrogated, attacked." 
11.  "donor . . . enters" 
14.  "Hero acquires use of magical agent."
15.  "Hero is led . . . to object of search."
16.  "Hero and villain join in direct combat." 
17.  "Hero is branded." 
18.  "The villain is defeated." 
19.  "Initial misfortune or lack is liquidated." 
3.  Return "the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power 
to bestow boons [gifts] on his fellow man" (30). The hero returns either with protection, or "he flees and is pursued."  The hero comes back "from the kingdom of dread (return, resurrection)," sometimes bringing a boon that "restores the world (elixir)" (246). 
3.  Incorporation After the ceremony, the initiate is incorporated back into the community at large, though perhaps with an altered social status.  In puberty rites, for example, boys become men.  In the case of animal sacrifice, the cooked meat is incorporated (literally "put in the body" [Latin]) or eaten by the worshippers.  Functions 20-31.  Propp offers two paths for the hero's return:  A.  The hero returns (20), and/or is pursued , or is rescued from pursuit (21-22).  B.  The hero arrives home unrecognized (23); false hero makes unfounded claims (24); hero must perform a task (25-26); hero is recognized (27); the false hero is exposed (28); hero is given  a new appearance (29); villain is pursued (30); hero marries and ascends the throne. 

Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folktale (1929, translated 1958) presents an elaborate pattern-sequence of 31 "functions" that make up any hero story.  Propp defined a "function" in a story is an event interpreted "according to its consequences" (67).  In other words, a function is a plot motif or event in the story.  Propp claimed that the sequence of functions is limited and that the functions always occur in the same order (20-25).  According to him, a tale may skip functions but it cannot shuffle their unvarying order.

Propp's 31 Functions of the Folktale:  Preparatory Section:

l. One of the members of a family absents himself from home.
2. An interdiction (ban) is addressed to the hero.
3. The interdiction is violated. (The villain usually enters the story here.)
4. The villain makes an attempt at reconnaissance.
5. The villain receives information about his victim.  (The villain gets an answer.)
6. The villain attempts to deceive his victim by using persuasion, magic, or deception.
7. The victim submits to deception and thereby unwittingly helps his enemy. (Hero sleeps.)

Villainy / Lack (Plot set in motion):

8. The villain causes harm or injury to a member of a family.
8a. One member of a family either lacks something or desires to have something.
9. Misfortune or lack is made known: the hero is approached with a request or command; he is allowed to go or he is dispatched.
10. The seeker (hero) agrees to or decides upon counteractions.
11. The hero leaves home.
12. The hero is tested, interrogated, attacked, etc. which prepares the way for his receiving either a magical agent or helper.  (The donor usually enters the story here.)
13. The hero reacts to the actions of the future donor.
14. The hero acquires the use of a magical agent.
15. The hero is transferred, delivered, or led to the whereabouts of an object of search.

Path A: Struggle and Victory over Villain; End of Lack and Return:

16. The hero and villain join in direct combat.
17. The hero is branded.
18. The villain is defeated.
19. The initial misfortune or lack is liquidated.
20. The hero returns.
21. The hero is pursued.
22. The hero is rescued from pursuit.

Path B: Unrecognized Arrival, Task, Recognition, Punishment, Wedding:

23. The hero, unrecognized, arrived home or in another country.
24. A false hero presents unfounded claims.
25. A difficult task is proposed to the hero.  (Trial by drink, fire, riddle, test of strength.)
26. The task is resolved or accomplished.
27. The hero is recognized, often by a mark or an object.
28. The false hero or villain is exposed and / or punished.
29. The hero is given a new appearance.
30. The villain is pursued.
31. The hero is married and ascends the throne.

Dramatis personae: (seven roles which any character may assume in the story)

1. the Villain, who struggles with the hero;
2. the Donor, who prepares and/or provides hero with magical agent;
3. the Helper, who assists, rescues, solves and/or transfigures the hero;
4. the Princess, a sought-for person (and/or her father) who exists as goal and often recognizes and marries hero and/or punishes villain;
5. the Dispatcher, who sends the hero off;
6. the Hero, who departs on a search (seeker-hero), reacts to the donor and weds at end;
7. the False Hero, who claims to be the hero, often seeking and reacting like a real hero.

Works Cited

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