Jul 9, 2012

Archetypal Awareness - The Threshold Crossing

Wow, see what happens when I don't pre-schedule my blog posts - LATE!  I did get one up on time - I'm over at the dojo today as well - would love for you to stop by.

For today, we are going to discuss the launching point of most heroes, the point of no return and that is when they cross the threshold.  This is the point when they are leaving the life they have known, leaving all that is familiar, and generally leaving their innocence, meaning they will never again be able to see the world as they did up to that point.

I'm going to use one of the most famous threshold crossings in modern society. 

Luke enters the cantina with the intent of finding a ship that he and Ben can use.  But within seconds of walking in, Luke sees a whole different world.  C3P0 is not welcome, ordering a drink almost gets him killed, a guys arm gets cut off which only stops the music for a few seconds, there are people (?) who look completely different than he has seen before, he and Ben get ripped off with the price of a ride. 

Even if Luke backed out right then, didn't want to be a Jedi anymore, told Ben he was crazy and went back to rebuild his home, he couldn't forget that these people existed, that there was a life that didn't involve the farm or negotiating with droids, and that the sand people really weren't the greatest fear.

Other famous heroes who crossed the threshold (I'm going to let you think about when)
Harry Potter
Batman
Rapunzel (Tangled)
Ironman
Dr. Jekyll


Does the hero of your story cross a threshold? Do you know when?  Can you pinpoint the moment when life can never be the same for them again?

13 comments :

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just leaving his home planet in the beginning was a major threshold. Probably the most pivotal was when he had to shoot down a manned (or so he thought) spaceship.

Emily R. King said...

Umm... how about when Frodo left The Shire? Yes, yes?

Leigh Covington said...

Yes, Emily! I agree!
My heroine has a threshold moment. Love it! But I'm not telling it yet! hehehehe

S.P. Bowers said...

As you said, once you cross that threshold you can never get back. It happens so many times in life.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I never thought about it as a threshold but I know exactly what you're speaking of. I don't think readers will have any trouble pinpointing that step in my books.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

As I write poetry books I don't have a hero to pinpoint a threshhold, But I can pinpoint a date in my life when it would never be the same

Yvonne.

Elana Johnson said...

Oooh, great post! This is the break into Act 2, I think, and I pinpoint it in every novel I write.

Morgan said...

Gotta be able to know the threshold moment for your MC ;) Great post! :D

elizabeth seckman said...

Hmmm...I do romance, so the threshold moment is more like an emotional epiphany.

Cassie Mae said...

I'm learning so much with these posts! You're really making me think about if I've got these elements in my story. My MC has her threshold moment so wahoo on that!

Stephen Tremp said...

And mine crosses the threshold when he decides to go out with the wrong woman (sent my the antagonist toe seduce the main character) and she almost kills him. That was his threshold moment. Okay, on my way to Dojo's right now!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My books are more a slice of life, so only a couple characters have big moments like those.

Nicole said...

Great examples! I use thresholds quite a bit in my novels.