Date of Award

Summer 8-27-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Blake, Marty


Disney, Hero's Journey, Joseph Campbell, Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron, The Chronicles of Prydain

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Film and Media Studies


The Hero's Journey is well-known amongst storytellers the world over as a useful structure to create compelling characters and engaging plots, though many see its use as derivative and uninspired. After its explosion in popularity in the 1970s, audiences have come to expect stories to hit every step of the Hero's Journey beat-for-beat.

This thesis will explore the history of the Hero's Journey, from its conception to its modern interpretation. It will examine the individual parts that can elevate this simple structure into a complex narrative. By navigating the works of both Christopher Vogler and John Yorke, this thesis will demonstrate how the Hero's Journey fits into the framework of the more compelling Five-Act Structure, which places a greater emphasis on the importance of the midpoint in a story than the Three-Act Structure. Secondly, this thesis will explore the infamous case of Disney's animated film The Black Cauldron and its use of the Hero's Journey in comparison to Lloyd Alexander's book series The Chronicles of Prydain, from which The Black Cauldron was adapted. It will analyze the movie's failings as a compelling story and where it could have succeeded under different circumstances. Finally, I will share my approach to a readaptation of Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain, specifically the second book, The Black Cauldron.


Open Access



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