From The Journal Of Screenwriting V1 Issue 2: The physical and emotional threads of the archetypal hero’s journey: proposing common terminology and re-examining the narrative model by Craig Batty

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


The physical and emotional threads of the archetypal hero’s journey: proposing common terminology and re-examining the narrative model by Craig Batty

This article will discuss how, in mainstream film screenplays, the protagonist undergoes both an actual, physical journey and an internal, emotional journey, pulled together by the invisible hand of the screenwriter in order to create the complete narrative experience. Central to the article is an evaluation of how character transformation (arc) is positioned against physical action (plot), arguing that the two can be mapped out as individual yet symbiotic threads of a narrative: the physical and the emotional journeys.After mapping the territory of what is already written on this subject, the works of Joseph Campbell and his protg Christopher Vogler (Clayton 2007: 210) will be drawn together to offer a re-examination of the model of the Hero’s Journey. Assessing these two narrative threads (physical and emotional) as both distinct and symbiotic, it will be clear that a special relationship exists between plot and character, where character transformation is encouraged to take place within the frame of the physical action of the plot. The substance of such a transformation, the emotional core of the narrative experience, is what lives on in the audience, post-text; the physical action of a film story may frame emotion, but emotion has the power to break the frame and take on a life of its own.


The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

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