In 1949, a mythologist named Joseph Campbell published a book called The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he described what he called the "monomyth"—a basic plot structure he found to be common to the majority of myths and legends. The monomyth outlines the journey of the hero, or the story’s protagonist. The myths of Odysseus and Mulan conform to this structure. Over the course of these stories, these two warrior-heroes move through the same stages as they come to the aid of their countries and fight their wars.
The hero’s journey consists of twelve stages, and it begins with the call to adventure—something happens that compels the hero to leave home in order to accomplish a goal, usually one of historical significance. Odysseus leaves home to fight for the Greeks in the Trojan War, and Mulan leaves home to defend China against the Huns. They both encounter helpers who aid them in their journey, they both go through a series of trials, they both overcome obstacles, and they both receive rewards for their heroic deeds. As Mulan and Odysseus move through the stages of the hero’s journey, their stories move to conclusion. The hero’s journey consists of 12 stages, which are outlined in the sources below.