Casablanca and The Hero’s Journey

Always, always, we come back to the Hero’s Journey, which Lifewriting suggests is the combined wisdom of all the world’s cultures, stating in effect: “this is what life will be.” I could go over this a thousand times, and there would always be something new to say.  Let’s relate it to the classic film CASABLANCA.

  1. THE HERO IS CONFRONTED WITH A CHALLENGE: Rick Blaine is challenged to take a stand against Nazism.
  2. REJECTS THE CHALLENGE: For reasons of his own, he has decided not to care about the world outside his cafe.   “I stick my neck out for no one.”
  3. ACCEPTS THE CHALLENGE:  He is forced to care about life again when freedom fighter Victor Lazlo and his wife Ilsa, hunted by the Germans, enter his care.
  4. ROAD OF TRIALS.  Rick tries to avoid involvements but helps Ugate hide the “letters of transit”.  He helps the young lovers win the money they need to escape Casablanca.   And slowly opens his heart to Ilsa, first with a proposition, then with insults, and then virtually pleading with her.  She nukes him with the knowledge that she had been a married woman when they had an affair in Paris–that she in effect made a fool of him.  Finally, Ilsa, in desperation, tries to use a gun to get the “letters of transit” that would allow Laslo to escape.
  5. ALLIES AND POWERS.  Rick has courage, intelligence, wit, and the capacity to express and command loyalty.  Every person in his life represents a different aspect of his world or personality: Ilsa is love and commitment, Laslo is courage and patriotism, Ugate is animal cunning, Sam is loyalty and joy in life, Inspector Renault is duplicity and self-interest concealing patriotism.
  6. CONFRONT EVIL-DEFEATED.   The Nazis arrest Victor Lazlo.
  7. DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL.  Ilsa has put all her trust in Rick after revealing the truth: she abandoned Rick in Paris because her husband desperately needed her to enable his survival and continue his work.  Rick sees that it wasn’t her fault…or his fault…it was The War.
  8. LEAP OF FAITH.  That a cause is more important than even the love of good people who die and suffer in it.   He makes the only moral choice he can: to use the Letters of Transit to allow Victor and Ilsa to escape.  To do so, he kills the Nazi officer.
  9. CONFRONT EVIL-VICTORIOUS.  His courage inspires Inspector Renault to awaken his own patriotism: “round up the usual suspects,” deflecting suspicion from Rick.
  10. THE STUDENT BECOMES THE TEACHER.  Rick showed Ilsa was love really is, Renault was patriotism and sacrifice really is, and the audience what a great movie really is!

The preceding analysis is off the cuff.   You might interpret these “beats” differently, and that is both your right and responsibility as an artist.  If you apply this pattern to your ten favorite movies, an entire world of internal structure will be revealed.  As wonderful as that is, if you apply it to your own life, an entire world of new and wonderful possibilities is revealed.  It has worked for all of recorded history, and it will work for you!


We didn’t have a Black Friday sale yesterday, because our price for the first month is only $1, and we can’t do much better than that.  But what I will do is remind you that the enrollment for the LIFEWRITING:  REVOLUTIONARY ART workshop closes in one week, not to open again until February.

You still have time to participate LIVE in the final session, as well as access all the back-sessions, join our private group to explore the concepts more deeply, and access FREE downloads worth over 100.00.  All for a dollar. Then, if you don’t think this is for you, just cancel!

The stories you tell about your life determine the experience of life.   Story provides perspective, brings pattern out of chaos.   Whether you want to control your emotions, teach your children, sell to a customer, guide your employees, nurture a relationship, or win an election: control the narrative and you control consciousness itself.

Our goal is simple: One Million Awake, Aware, Adult human beings.  The strategy is even simpler: One Thousand Awake, Aware, Adult Storytellers.

If this sounds like you, please join us!  If you’ve already joined us, please pass this on!




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