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Refusal of the Return

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Campbell's 'Hero's Journey' > Refusal of the Return

Description | Discussion | See also

 

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Description

Having gained the Ultimate Boon, the hero wants to stay in the place where they have found bliss and enlightenment.

In comparison, the dull monotony of 'normal life' seems unacceptable, making the hero want to re-live the excitement in some way.

Example

In the Cracks of Doom, Frodo is so tired he just wants to give up. When the battle is finally won, the party tarries in Gondor.

Holmes tarries at the place where he has announced the solution.

In Star Wars, Luke stays with the rebels rather than going back to Tattooine.

Discussion

We associate different emotions with locations as well as experiences. Thus places feel good or bad depending on whether we felt good or bad there in the past.

Heroes feel very alive in their adventuring, paradoxically living as they do, on the edge of death. And there little more exciting than the climax of the story. It is not surprising that the thought of going home to humdrum is unappealing.

This happens in real life too, for example where students in university, associating the place with the fun and learning never want to leave. So they do further degrees and eventually end up working in the college or somewhere nearby.

See also

Association principle

 

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

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