Here I go again on my own… (where’s my Tawny?)
Shortly after the end of the Season Three episode “The Brig,” DocArzt posted a theory as the result of what he refers to as a “geek gasm.” The article can be found in its entirety at the Tail Section (http://www.thetailsection.com/lost-mythology/lost-is-locke-the-primary-hero.php).
I’d like to take another look at Doc’s article. Doc is discussing the idea of a monomyth (google James Joyce). He feels that it is elusive because it is virtually impossible to pin down the stories protagonist, or hero. He states, “Lost has become a veritable case of ‘Can’t see the forest through the trees’ by keeping the hero of the story a moving target [;] Jack seems obvious, so does Kate, and even Sawyer”(emphasis mine). He further asks, “Who is the hero of the macro story? It cannot be everyone.” And I agree. There is four : Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Locke (and if someone wants to write an article explaining how it’s also Sayid, Sun, Hurley, or Claire, be my guest, but I believe they are merely supporting Characters to the four above; that doesn’t mean we love them any less). Why is this important? As Doc points out, “for you theorists out there, you can look at the remaining stages…to comp up with a path to the end that makes sense.”
Now Doc laid out his map based on Joseph Campbell’s journey, but I’m going to lay mine out based on Christopher Vogler and Michael Hauge’s “The Hero’s 2 Journeys” DVD (Vogler’s book, “The Writer’s Journey ” was inspired by Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey”). In it Vogler and screenwriting guru Michael Hauge discuss how the hero has two journeys; an outer and inner journey. The outer journey is primarily the stuff you see happening on the screen, the action. The inner journey is the all important character points; their evolution or arc. The one affects the other. It is through exploring the inner journey that the outer journey becomes clearer and we’re able to trace the steps of our heroes in Lost.
In today’s article I will merely introduce the outline of the journey. In the next article I will go in more detail, breaking the outline down into the acts (1,2, and 3) of the monomyth, and explain how we can trace most of Act One (Steps 1-5)through Season One. The third article in this series will deal with Act Two (Seasons 2- 4) and the last will deal with Act Three. I will show how knowing the step of the monomyth will allow readers and fans to theorize with greater clarity the outcome of this, their favorite show. Now, keep in mind, these predictions will be a “best guess” based on the story thus far. No matter how logically sound these predictions might be, don’t run off thinking, “That’s it. I know how it’s going to end.” I do not have any insider information. Think of me as a carpenter standing outside a home telling you how they built the house. Sure, you’ll be able to appreciate the craftsmanship, but will you be able to build your own house? Will you be able to build a really great house?
With all that said, here are the twelve major steps according to Vogler and Hauge in the Hero’s Journey.
1. The Ordinary World – Start of Act One
2. The Call to Adventure (or Catalyst)
3. The Refusal of the call
4. The Mentor (or Sidekick)
5. The First Threshold (or Big Event) – End of Act One
6. The Tests, Allies, and Enemies – Start of Act Two
7. Approach to the Inmost Cave (or Pinch)
8. The Ordeal (or Crisis) – End of Act Two
9. The Reward – Start of Act Three
10. The Road Back
11. The Showdown (or Resurrection)
12. The Realization (or Return with the Elixir) – the End.
Now in his article Doc brought up the point that trying to deconstruct a writer’s work may appear disrespectful (primarily in comparing it to previous works). I can honestly say that I’ve taken several film theories courses and that when you actually do understand how a story was put together, you appreciate the artist that much more. Sure, it all seems formulaic. And it is! But like any formula you’ll find that if you change one piece of the code just slightly, you get a very different and unique product. For example, this journey is most often applied to a single protagonist, so what happens when you have multiple protagonists?
Hopefully at the end of this journey you’ll understand why, the next time you hear someone say that the writers of Lost have no idea what they’re doing and they’re just making it up as they go, you can shove this article under their nose!
The Hero’s 2 Journeys. Dir. Joe Mefford. Per. Michael Hauge and Christopher Vogler. Screenstyle.com, 2004.
The Tail Section. 03, May 2007. DocArzt. 24, March 2008.