Monomyth, “the Step Not Taken” by Paul D’angelo

Many literatures follow a Monomyth, which is a hero’s journey. The story, “The Step Not Taken” by Paul D’Angelo is an example. The narrator is seen as a hero involved in a personal quest on how to react to other’s suffering. The hero of the story goes through three sequential stages. These stages are called separation, struggle or initiation, and return or reintegration with gift or power. This essay will detail the three stages of the monomyth. The story first begins with the separation stage. At this stage, the hero encounters many short events in which he partakes.

He is called to adventure when he met a young junior executive in the elevator. At this point the hero did not suspect that his life about to take a different turn which emphasize the fact that there was nothing at all to indicate what was about to take place. Consequently, it was the hero’s decision to accept or refuse the call. The young man burst into tears, but the hero decided not to do anything to aid the man’s suffering. The protagonist has refused his quest and it ultimately made him feel uneasy with shame and guilt. Once the hero accepts the quest, another protagonist would appear and give him guide.

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The unknown protagonist came from his own self conscious. He began to wonder if he should check up on the young man to make sure he’s okay. He ask questions such as, “is he mentally disturbed, a manic depressive, or is he a suicide just waiting to happen? ” His caring for the young man and mixed thoughts induced his commitment to the adventure leading him to exit the social realm entering the unknown or uncomfortable zone. The hero states, “I should have reached out a hand…because I want him to know that I’m pulling for him”. The final separation stage completes when he fully accepts his quest.

He wants the man to know that, “…I am thinking of him, that I was wrong, dreadfully wrong, not to step forward in his time of need”. Thus, the hero moves to the struggle or initiation stage. The struggle stage continues in the story where he tries to answer his curiosity. He imagines all the possible negative scenarios that could happen in the young man’s life. He questioned his friends for their opinion about the Hehepeople’s attitude living in the big city. How he “did the proper thing, the best thing, by leaving the young man alone”. He figured that they were wrong and only served to deter him from completing his quest.

These exploration triggers the beginning of his transformation which made him realize the importance of unconditional love to doing the right thing, “the thing I would want someone to do if they ever found my son crying in an elevator. ” The hero then moves into the final stage of return or reintegration. The epiphany is when he realizes the meaning of unconditional love. Making the right choice and action is important in the world today. Just imagine a world without Law in order. If no one stands for the righteous then there would not be a world with peace.

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Monomyth, “the Step Not Taken” by Paul D’angelo. (2018, May 25). Retrieved from