Study Guide

Sabrina Hero's Journey

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Hero's Journey

Ever notice that every blockbuster movie has the same fundamental pieces? A hero, a journey, some conflicts to muck it all up, a reward, and the hero returning home and everybody applauding his or her swag? Yeah, scholar Joseph Campbell noticed first—in 1949. He wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he outlined the 17 stages of a mythological hero's journey.

About half a century later, Christopher Vogler condensed those stages down to 12 in an attempt to show Hollywood how every story ever written should—and, uh, does—follow Campbell's pattern. We're working with those 12 stages, so take a look. (P.S. Want more? We have an entire Online Course devoted to the hero's journey.)

Ordinary World

Sabrina starts out in Long Island, which is grim and bleak and boring because David doesn't know she exists.

Call To Adventure

She's supposed to go to Paris to cooking school, which is an exciting adventure because Paris is the city of love and sauces.

Refusal Of The Call

She tries to refuse the call to adventure by suffocating herself with carbon monoxide poisoning. But Linus saves her (which means he's the real romantic prize).

Meeting The Mentor

While ruining her soufflés in cooking school, Sabrina meets Baron St. Fontanel, who promises to cut off her hair and teach her about love and sophistication, not necessarily in that order.

Crossing The Threshold

The heroic journey starts to not fit so well onto the bubbly romantic comedy at this point. But you could see Sabrina's return to Long Island as crossing a threshold of sorts. She's been transformed into an enchanting woman—David doesn't even recognize her. (Of course, David is something of a dim bulb, but still.)

Tests, Allies, Enemies/Approach To The Inmost Cave

Again, the whole flirting and partying-with-intent thing doesn't really match up too well with the heroic journey. Still, Sabrina's effort to marry David does encounter obstacles in the form of the scheming Linus, who tries to make her fall in love with him instead.


Sabrina falls in love with Linus, and then he dashes her hopes by revealing he's been stringing her along the whole time. This is unpleasant and ordeal-like.

Reward (Seizing The Sword)/The Road Back/Resurrection/Return with the Elixir

Linus realizes he loves Sabrina, and they take the road back to Paris (or the boat back). Linus is reborn as someone who is less of a jerk.

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