Study Guide

The Story of Atalanta The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey is a framework that scholar Joseph Campbell came up with that many myths and stories follow. Many storytellers and story-readers find it a useful way to look at tale. (That's actually putting it lightly. Some people are straight-up obsessed.) Chris Vogler adapted Campbell's 17 stages of a hero's journey, which many screenwriters use while making movies. Vogler condensed Campbell's 17 stages down to 12, which is what we're using. Check out a general explanation of the 12 stages.

The story of Atalanta doesn't fit perfectly into the Hero's Journey structure, but we're giving it a shot. As the gross old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. This structure actually works best if you zero in on Atalanta's time on the Calydonian Boar hunt. Check it out:

Ordinary World

Atalanta is famous all around Arcadia for being an amazing huntress. Her typical days are spent tracking wild game and chilling in her own private grove.

Call To Adventure

A dude named Meleager shows up and asks Atalanta to join him in the hunt of the century. There's a giant boar wreaking havoc in Calydonia, and Meleagar needs Atalanta to help put an end to its funny business.

Refusal Of The Call

No refusal here. Atalanta signs right up.

Meeting The Mentor

There isn't really a specific mentor in this tale, unless you count Meleager who invites Atalanta along. She's just as good at hunting as Meleager is, though, so it's kind of hard to think of him as a mentor.

Crossing The Threshold

Atalanta hoists her quiver of arrows onto her back and follows after Meleager on the quest to nail one nasty boar. (Secretly, they both have crushes on each other too.)

Tests, Allies, Enemies

Atalanta finds that Meleager is the only dude in the hunting party who's nice to her. All the other dudes are mad that a girl is along for the trip.

Approach To The Inmost Cave

We don't get a lot of details about the approach, but we're guessing Meleager, Atalanta, and the rest of the hunting party were getting pretty nervous as they got near boar territory.

Ordeal

The heat is on when the hunting party finds the boar. Atalanta shows she's got the stuff when she's first to bloody the boar with her spear. Meleager finishes the beast off, but Atalanta totally makes her mark. (Meleager is head-over-heels smitten at this point.)

Reward

Meleager rewards Atalanta with the hide of the boar for efforts. Atalanta is super happy that her abilities are being recognized despite the fact that she's a woman. (Man, that Meleager sure is dreamy.)

The Road Back

Yeah, we just kind of skip right over this part.

Resurrection

Ironically, Atalanta's closest call with death doesn't come from the vicious beast she set out to hunt. Instead, it comes when the members of her own party, Meleager's uncles, try to take the hide from her. Meleager defends her, though, and kills them. For this offense, his mom, Althaea, kills him remotely by throwing a cursed log on a fire.

Return With The Elixir

Atalanta returns with the boar's hide as a prize. It's a prize that comes with a lot of pain, though. The boar didn't leave a scratch on her, but she's definitely not unscathed. Not only has she lost like, the only guy she's ever started to fall for, she's also been reminded of just how tough it is to be a woman who doesn't follow the rules. Still, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and Atalanta returns to her life tougher than ever before.

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