Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rethinking Boredom


Earlier this week, in my post about The Call to Adventure, and I said that boredom was not a good enough reason to embark on the hero’s journey. Lori pointed out that bored kids can get into a lot of trouble. Too true. When my boys were young and bored on some errand with me, they made their own fun. This was rarely a serene time.

I have read a few YA novels in which the protagonist was bored, got in trouble and had to face some sort of punishment. In these stories, the penance provided an opportunity for the hero to experience the Call to Adventure, so leaving on the journey was a multi-step process.

In other novels, boredom is insidious. The protagonist doesn’t even realize he or she is bored until the siren song of adventure calls. Think of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit or Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island. Although in both novels, the lure of adventure was enhanced by the possibility of finding a treasure.

I retract my comment about boredom. It can be an aspect of the Call to Adventure.

3 comments:

Wyman Stewart said...

funsies--(Expression) A slang term used to describe why a person did an activity/action or why they want to do a activity/action.

Example--I want to go to the park, for funsies.

You might want to rethink this one also. How many guys have gone off with a friend, because he said it would be fun, only to see it turn into something very different, where the one who went along, is abandoned by his buddy, who said it would be fun (especially if he said they would not get into any trouble)?

You may wish to re-read those Joseph Campbell links you shared. Thank you very much for those links! Took a few years of watching him and Bill Moyers talk on PBS before many of the things he was saying sank in. He was a very deep and brilliant thinker.

By the way, the last thing he wanted to do when he started was to make the journey he ended up making. At least, that's what I recall him saying once. I could be wrong.

Lori said...

I do agree that boredom alone, while in real life is enough to call someone to adventure, in good fiction is not enough to make a story truly compelling. This is an interesting question.

Ann Finkelstein said...

People do things in real life for lots of reasons: boredom, looking for fun, love, excitement, etc. But, in a novel the stakes must be high to keep the reader turning pages.