Journey Shawshank

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
Andy's stay in the ordinary world doesn't last very long, at least from our point of view. He doesn't even make it out of the opening credits before his life takes a drastic detour. All we see/know of him right off the bat is that he's a banker, and he's on trial, and not for banking fraud.

Call To Adventure
Tt's not a "call" so much as it an "involuntary sentencing." Andy's adventure is thrust upon him when he's driven through the gates of Shawshank.

Refusal Of The Call
We see one inmate break down and lose his…composure…the first night at Shawshank. Not Andy. For him, "refusal of the call" isn't a refusal to accept that he's really in prison, but rather a refusal to accept that's the way it's going to be for the rest of his life. This guy's middle name is "grim determination." All right, so he's got two middle names. His parents were weird that way.

Meeting The Mentor
Andy meets Red, the older, wiser inmate who helps our hero get acclimated to life in the big house. Although an argument could certainly be made that Andy is just as much a mentor to Red, since he's the one who actually instills hope in the other, long after he'd given up entirely. Who knows—maybe Brooks is the mentor? He sure has taught that crow a thing or two.

Crossing The...