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Laer Carroll
09-25-2012, 07:35 PM
Campbell's Hero's Journey is so overdone.

It's also male-centric. The young male goes out of the family, maybe toward a goal or maybe because he's kicked out. He encounters danger and opportunities. Learns and develops skills and wisdom. Eventually he comes back to the family with riches internal and maybe external. Or he establishes a new family.

Until recently the Heroine's Journey was ignored. After all, only what men do is important, right?

Also, what women do until recently was pretty damned boring. She can't go out of the family. She's too weak and unskilled at protecting herself. She'll probably get raped and killed. Stay at home, little girl. Learn to cook and tend babies.

Of course, this ignores that throughout history women did journey within the confines of the hutch or castle or nomad's tents. They ventured into inter-family and inter-clan politics and other relationships. They learned to make a home which is physically and emotionally comfortable and appealing, which can be a high art as well as a practical one. They created small and sometimes large businesses. They learned about themselves.

Not as much fun to write about as great orgies of destruction or flight. But worthy of our attention.

In recent years women have begun to take the Hero's Journey, too. Sometimes they have just copied the tactics of men. But slowly they have begun to shape their own version which is true to their needs and desires. A Heroine's Journey which courts dangers both physical and social and psychological.

Some would cram this journey into feminist perpective. Fine. But feminism is a moving target. First Wave feminists of the 19th century and early 20th was very different, more restrictive, than the Second Wave of the Sixties and Seventies and Third Wave feminism begun in the 1990s. The Third Wave (for instance) encompasses men's as well as women's needs and the need for a global perspective.

Camilla Delvalle
12-12-2012, 03:13 AM
Maybe you'd be intereseted in the book Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. She discusses many fairy-tales about women.

Bloo
12-12-2012, 03:30 AM
I think Campbell's use of the word "hero" isn't gender specific. There are many examples of a female heroine following Campbell's "Hero's Journey"

That's not to say it ISN'T over done or over analyzed but I don't think it's male centric

CrastersBabies
12-22-2012, 09:50 AM
The heroine's journey (or as I learned it, "Hera's Journey") is a bit trickier than the patriarchal-heavy Campbell version and Campbell was pretty clear about his "formula" being ill-fitting in regard to women (which I don't fully agree with, but can appreciate his points). I do think it's changing, though, with more edgy female characters and entertainment powers (studios and producers) willing to see darker stories. Still have a long way to go. Where is our comic book heroine with a tortured past a'la The Dark Knight? A lot of people are squeamish when it comes to making women suffer as characters in as severe way as they do men. Perhaps there is the fear of rape or violation.

I did read Murdock's "The Heroine's Journey" and applied her steps to Jane Eyre for one of my projects in grad school. I found it a bit contrived and "off" at times, but the notion was fascinating (discussing things like the "bad mother" versus the "good mother" and such).

For another class, I took Campbell's monomyth and inverted some parts (meets "god" not goddess / atonement with "mother" not father, etc) for the Cupid and Psyche story and it fit quite nicely. But, as is often the case with the monomyth, the steps are not always literal, They manifest frequently in metaphor and symbol and have far more meat when you add in Jung or even a touch of alchemy.

I also wouldn't call women's lives boring in the past, just a bit constrained. You go all the way back to mythology and you're knee-deep in some fantastic stuff. Furthermore, there's a lot of bildungsroman material out there for women, coming of age tales that mirror the monomyth on many levels.

Medievalist
12-22-2012, 10:11 AM
Cu Chulainn started at the beginning of the conversation for his charioteer, explaining it all to him in order to shorten their way.

“Intide Emna I said, when she said “Where did you come to us from,” [issed] I said: from Emain Macha. However, it is from this tale that Emain Macha is called Emain Macha:

Macha, the daughter of Sainrith Mac Inbotha, [the] woman of Crunncu Mac Agnomain, ran against two of the king’s horses after the king compelled her to, so that she died in the running, giving birth to (that is, she bore,) a son and a daughter at a single birth. So that it is from the pair of twins [emain] that is said Emain and so that it is from that Macha that it is called Mag [plain of] Macha.

Or moreover it is from this it is Emain (or Mag) Macha, as it is in this tale.

Three kings were in a joint reign over Ireland. They were of the Ulstermen, to wit, Díthorbæ son of Demain from Uisniuch of Meath, Aéd the Red son of Baduirn son of Airgetmáil in Tír Áeda, Cimbáeth son of Finntain son of Airgetmáil in Finnabair Maige Inis. It is he who reared Ugaine the Great son of Echdach the Victorious.

The men made an agreement: each man was to reign seven years. Three sevens of penalties were agreed on between them, comprising seven druids, seven poets, and seven young princes. The seven druids to blister them for ever, the seven poets to satirize and warn them, the seven lords to wound and burn them if one of the men did not step down after seven years at keeping right sovereignty, that is, tree-fruits of every year and without the neglect of shade of every color and without a woman dying from the assembly of women.

Each man reigned three terms, that is sixty-six years. Aéd the Red died at the beginning, he drowned in Ess Ruaid, and his body was carried into the síth there, so that it is from this it is called Síth Aéda and Ess Rúaid. And he left no children but a daughter, her name was Macha the Red-haired.

She demanded the kingship in her lawful time. Cimbáeth and Díthorbæ said they would not give kingship to a woman. A battle was fought between them. Macha vanquished them. She spent seven years in reign. Díthorbæ died in Corann during that time. He left five noble sons, Báeth, and Bras and Betach and Úallach and Borbchas.

They demanded the kingship. Macha said she would not give it to them, “for not by agreement did I take it,” said she, “but by force in the field of battle.” A battle was fought between them. Macha vanquished the sons of Díthorbæ until a slaughter of heads was left near. They fled in exile to the wilderness of Connacht.

Macha then took Cimbáeth for her husband and as commander of her troop of mercenaries.
After Macha and Cimbáth were united, Macha went seeking for the sons of Díthorbai in the guise of a leper woman, that is she smeared rye-dough and bog-stuff about her.

She found them in Bairend Connacht cooking a wild boar. The men asked for news from her, and she told the news to them and they gave food to her at the fire. A man from them said “the eye of this hag is beautiful, let us lie with her.”

The man took Macha into the forest, where she bound him by means of her strength and left him in the wood. When she came back to the fire, the others asked “Where is the man who went with you?”

“He was ashamed to come to you,” said Macha, “after lying with a leper woman.”

“It is no shame,” said they, “for we will all do the same.”

Each man took Macha into the wood, where she bound each of them in turn, taking them in a single chain with her to Ulster. The Ulsterman said the men should be killed.

“No,” said Macha, for to kill them would be a violation of true justice for me; but I shall put them under bondage, and they shall dig a ráth about me that will be the chief town of Ulster for ever.” And Macha took the gold pin from about her neck and marked out the lines of the dún with it, thus Emain Macha is named for the gold pin about the neck [muin] of Macha.

Irish text from Tochmarc Emire. A. G. van Hamel, Tochmarc Emire. Version III, in: Compert Con Culainn and other stories (Medieval and Modern Irish Series, vol. 3) Dublin 1933, reprinted 1978 [edited from Stowe D IV 2 with occasional variants from LU, Harleian 5280 and Rawlinson B 512].

See: http://www.ucc.ie/celt/online/G301021/ for the Irish.

kuwisdelu
12-23-2012, 08:29 AM
I'm suddenly tempted to write a treatise proposing the steps for a heroine's journey by analyzing the structure of various magical girl anime.

Russell Secord
04-12-2013, 02:06 AM
I think women prefer conciliation to confrontation. Instead of slaying a dragon, a woman might persuade a knight and a dragon to sit down and discuss their differences. It can be a lot harder to make people get along rather than to let them fight, to find common ground rather than to hurl insults. War is man's work, cruel and wasteful, with death and destruction the only victors. Diplomacy is woman's work. When everyone works together, everyone wins.

That could be the main arc of the Heroine's Journey--to build and to heal, not to fight and to kill.

kuwisdelu
04-12-2013, 02:14 AM
That could be the main arc of the Heroine's Journey--to build and to heal, not to fight and to kill.

But nothing about the Hero's Journey requires fighting and killing anyway.

Violence isn't a necessary part of the monomyth at all.

Death (figurative or literal) is, but death isn't necessarily violent or a result of killing.

gothicangel
04-13-2013, 10:38 PM
Campbell's Hero's Journey is so overdone.

It's also male-centric. The young male goes out of the family, maybe toward a goal or maybe because he's kicked out. He encounters danger and opportunities. Learns and develops skills and wisdom. Eventually he comes back to the family with riches internal and maybe external. Or he establishes a new family.

Until recently the Heroine's Journey was ignored. After all, only what men do is important, right?

Also, what women do until recently was pretty damned boring. She can't go out of the family. She's too weak and unskilled at protecting herself. She'll probably get raped and killed. Stay at home, little girl. Learn to cook and tend babies.

Of course, this ignores that throughout history women did journey within the confines of the hutch or castle or nomad's tents. They ventured into inter-family and inter-clan politics and other relationships. They learned to make a home which is physically and emotionally comfortable and appealing, which can be a high art as well as a practical one. They created small and sometimes large businesses. They learned about themselves.

Not as much fun to write about as great orgies of destruction or flight. But worthy of our attention.

In recent years women have begun to take the Hero's Journey, too. Sometimes they have just copied the tactics of men. But slowly they have begun to shape their own version which is true to their needs and desires. A Heroine's Journey which courts dangers both physical and social and psychological.

Some would cram this journey into feminist perpective. Fine. But feminism is a moving target. First Wave feminists of the 19th century and early 20th was very different, more restrictive, than the Second Wave of the Sixties and Seventies and Third Wave feminism begun in the 1990s. The Third Wave (for instance) encompasses men's as well as women's needs and the need for a global perspective.

If you truly believe this, then I suggest reading more. Read some Classical texts such as Lysistrata, Antigone and Medea. Read up on the mythology of the Amazonians, Isis and Dementor. Read some of the Roman Annals that talk about the women warrior queens Boudicca and Cartimandua.

The Heroine's Journey is not a new idea, excellent examples are Baum's The Wizard of Oz and Jim Henson's Labyrinth. One of my favourite books is The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler who talks extensively on the subject.

*Whisper* The roots of feminism is in the 18th century not 19th.

Roxxsmom
04-21-2013, 12:05 AM
I think women prefer conciliation to confrontation. Instead of slaying a dragon, a woman might persuade a knight and a dragon to sit down and discuss their differences. .

I had a delightful book that was about this very thing when I was a kid. It was called the Reluctant Dragon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Reluctant_Dragon). It's quite old, but the book has been brought into print over and over and was the template for a Disney film in the 1940s.

But the protagonist who got St. George and the dragon to talk and work things out was a little boy, not a little girl.

On average, you may be right. But there are so many exceptions. There are men who abhor conflict and women who seek it, and almost everyone has a point where they will fight to defend themselves or someone they care for.

And even in nature, combat between males is most often ritualized, and usually resolved before anyone is really hurt. Natural selection generally favors individuals of wither sex who can resolve conflict gracefully and live to fight (or breed) another day. The human condition, with leaders ordering subordinates to fight in large scale wars over often abstract ideals is not something you see either gender doing in nature and is hard to explain from an evolutionary viewpoint (not that many socio-biologists haven't tried).

Sheryl Nantus
04-21-2013, 01:02 AM
Obviously you don't read much romance. Or urban fantasy that has female lead characters.

:)

Candienziia
04-21-2013, 01:39 AM
I think the issue is that a lot of literary theory is based upon the classics which, with few exceptions, are extremely sexist by today's standards. Sure, Antigone featured a "strong woman," but the play takes a relatively hostile attitude toward her, and her death isn't really considered "tragic" by the play itself until Haemon's death happens as a reaction. The idea that the things woman do can and should be valued is an extremely new idea if you consider it in terms of whether it is acknowledged by society at large.

What I find interesting is how many of the women posting on this thread are ready to make generalizations about their own gender. Personally, I don't like that any of my personality traits may be assumed merely because I have a vagina, whether the speaker is a man or a woman. As far as psychology of gender differences are concerned, women do tend to seek social interactions and are better able to share their feelings, but it treats their ability to do so as a social construct rather than a biological consequence.

Returning to the OP, though, I agree, Campbell's ideas in general are very dated. I had to read Campbell and Moyers "The Power of Myth" for one of my classes and his opinions regarding non-christian religion and non-western cultures are equally frustrating.

ColoradoGuy
04-21-2013, 05:36 PM
Returning to the OP, though, I agree, Campbell's ideas in general are very dated. I had to read Campbell and Moyers "The Power of Myth" for one of my classes and his opinions regarding non-christian religion and non-western cultures are equally frustrating.

I agree -- Campbell is dated. But it is interesting to me how work like his leads to further discussions and, I think, intellectual progress.

Nobody reads Durkheim for deep insights these days, but sociology would hardly exist without him. Closer to Campbell, the same could be said for Frazer's Golden Bough. Or even Freud, for that matter.

Candienziia
04-22-2013, 09:32 AM
Nobody reads Durkheim for deep insights these days, but sociology would hardly exist without him. Closer to Campbell, the same could be said for Frazer's Golden Bough. Or even Freud, for that matter.

That's the beauty of the humanities: you don't have to be right even 99% of the time, you just have to contribute in a way which allows those who follow to build upon what you've said. Of course, it does make psychology lectures a lot more interesting, too. Psych professors don't really know what to do when they're teaching Freud anymore since so many of his theories have been discredited. I mean, except for the one that allows for stream of consciousness, of course (Woolf fans can all breathe easy).

Exir
04-23-2013, 08:36 PM
Sure, Antigone featured a "strong woman," but the play takes a relatively hostile attitude toward her, and her death isn't really considered "tragic" by the play itself until Haemon's death happens as a reaction.

I disagree, especially if you consider the play in conjunction with her role in "Oedipus at Colonus" (Sophocles' prequel).

ETA: I think it is Aristotle who described Antigone's plot as a tragedy with double plot. Meaning that there are two tragic characters with their respective downfalls: Antigone's downfall happens first, CREON's downfall happens second. Both of their downfalls are brought about by their own actions and flaws, hence tragic. Haemon's death is NOT tragic, though it contributes to bringing about Creon's tragic downfall, the same way that Polynices's death is not tragic, but contributes to Antigone's tragic downfall.

CrastersBabies
04-25-2013, 05:32 AM
I think women prefer conciliation to confrontation. Instead of slaying a dragon, a woman might persuade a knight and a dragon to sit down and discuss their differences. It can be a lot harder to make people get along rather than to let them fight, to find common ground rather than to hurl insults. War is man's work, cruel and wasteful, with death and destruction the only victors. Diplomacy is woman's work. When everyone works together, everyone wins.

That could be the main arc of the Heroine's Journey--to build and to heal, not to fight and to kill.

I don't agree. I think watching a female "hero" only work her epic arc in diplomatic terms would pretty much serve as yet another example of why women aren't allowed to go to war, fight, act violently, protect, avenge, and so forth.

I get what you are saying and I see no issue with a writer taking that path, but to suggest that's how a heroine's journey should work is a bit off, imho.

Candienziia
04-25-2013, 07:34 AM
ETA: I think it is Aristotle who described Antigone's plot as a tragedy with double plot. Meaning that there are two tragic characters with their respective downfalls: Antigone's downfall happens first, CREON's downfall happens second.

To say that the play is NOT hostile toward Antigone is to completely ignore its language. I have no idea whether you're correct or not about Aristotle, but, the larger point I was making is that even the classics which make allowances for women, do so in a way that is also completely sexist. I would imagine that if Aristotle was the one who originally called Antigone a double tragedy, it had more to do with women's required roles as the keepers of birth and death than any belief that she was acting reasonably.

Perhaps a better example would be The Inferno, which seems to allow women to commit horrible sins and still be placed in the ring designated for lust, because women don't deserve to be punished as harshly for their actions, since they're so irrational, volatile, and sex-crazed they can't possibly know what they're doing.

Then there's The Odyssey, in which women serve to help Odysseus and Telemachus in many ways, but the only one who isn't a malicious trickster is Athena, who spends most of the work in a male form, and even when she's in her feminine goddess form on Olympus, she deceives and undermine's Poseidon's authority by holding a counsel meeting in his absence. Otherwise, the women are all deceitful seductresses.

blrude
05-21-2013, 08:56 PM
I read a screenwriting book a couple of years ago called The Virgin's Promise, which shows the "feminine" mirror of the Hero's Journey (with beats like Dressing the Part and Secret World instead of Refusing the Call or Supernatural aid). The focus of these types of stories is watching a character reconcile two warring parts within her (or him), and having the world accept her.

Oddly enough, many of the movies it uses as examples have male protagonists, but it does show how prevalent this structure is within modern movies.

My favorite part of this book was the use of virgin and whore as archetypes -- virgin being a fulfilled, self-sufficient character, while the whore gives up important parts of herself to satisfy the demands of others, and this is the character arc of the virgin's promise.

My only disappointment was that a good portion of the back of the book was devoted to scripting the beats of movies, half of which I hadn't seen. But it still might be worth reading if you are really searching for more on the hero's journey for women.

kuwisdelu
05-21-2013, 09:23 PM
I don't agree. I think watching a female "hero" only work her epic arc in diplomatic terms would pretty much serve as yet another example of why women aren't allowed to go to war, fight, act violently, protect, avenge, and so forth.

There's absolutely nothing in the Hero's Journey that explicitly requires any kind of fighting or violence or an enemy to be defeated, and you can have a male Hero's Journey that completely lacks those things and uses diplomacy to solve problems, so defining a Heroine's journey that way is flawed anyway.

ETA: Totally just realized I said this exact same thing earlier in the thread.

kuwisdelu
05-21-2013, 10:50 PM
I'm suddenly tempted to write a treatise proposing the steps for a heroine's journey by analyzing the structure of various magical girl anime.

Okay, I'm actually going to do this.

While the Hero's Journey actually works perfectly well for a female hero, I do see lots of major deviations from it in works that I would consider prototypical of a "Heroine's Journey". It's hard to make conclusions about what constitutes a "man's journey" versus a "woman's journey" without falling neck-deep in gender biases and stereotypical gender roles, but I'm going to try. I'm not nearly as well-read on classical texts as some of the other posters here, so for better or worse, I'm building off of modern examples.

In particular, as I mentioned, I am thinking of the genre of magical girl anime, and series like Revolutionary Girl Utena, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and Magical Girl Madoka Magica. I am also considering Western shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I think can basically be considered a Western take on the magical girl genre.

I'm just going to go through the steps of the monomyth as given on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth) and give some of my thoughts on them...

In the very first steps in the Hero's Journey, you have the Call to Adventure and Refusal of the Call. But in works I consider Heroine's Journeys, it usually goes the opposite way. The heroine seeks adventure, but her desire is refused, often by society or some other artificial hindrance. Or, there is a call, but she doesn't refuse it. There is often less internal conflict over whether to accept the call in a Heroine's Journey, and more external conflict due to outside forces that make acceptance of the call difficult for the heroine.

I think Supernatural Aid is a rather gender-neutral step, and I'd leave this one alone, as I think it works basically the same in both.

Then you have Crossing of the First Threshold and the Belly of the Whale. Here I think is where the Heroine's Journey begins to deviate further from the classical Hero's Journey. In the male version, there is a departure from the hero's familiar world, and a journey into an unfamiliar world which is new and different from the old. I think it works differently for heroines. Rather than a departure, there is often a revelation that the familiar world is different than it appears, and there is the discovery of new and unfamiliar things in the same world. The post above me mentions a "Secret World" as a possible step in the Heroine's Journey, and I think that fits this idea perfectly. I think the Belly of the Whale works sort of the same as in the Hero's Journey, but represents a different kind of separation from the old self, since in the heroine's journey, the two worlds are actually the same. For a heroine, this could represent an acceptance that the Secret World is the real one, and the familiar world is a facade, for example. These steps are exemplified by the revelation that vampires and demons exist and slayers are born to fight them, that witches exist and magical girls exist to fight them, and that there are secret duels and a floating castle above Ohtori Academy.

I'd add a step before the Road of Trials, called something like Collection of Companions. The male monomyth is very much about a lone hero, and even though in many versions there are companions, there is not nearly as much emphasis placed on the idea of friends and companions, but I think it's emphasized much more explicitly in the stories I'm considering Heroine's Journeys.

I think the Road of Trials can fit into the Heroine's Journey in some ways, but I'll introduce one way it doesn't fit, which I think is a key difference in how I think the Heroine's Journey differs from the Hero's Journey: the goal. The male monomyth is extremely goal-oriented, even if that goal is an arbitrary MacGuffin to justify the adventure in the first place. The Hero's Journey is thoroughly and essentially quest-like. The Heroine's Journey is antithetical to this. Maybe a short-term goal of defeating the Big Bad is introduced, but that's rarely ever the main goal, and the "goal" in a Heroine's Journey tend to be much more abstract. Buffy must slay vampires and protect the world. The magical girls in Madoka must fight witches to protect the world. Utena wants to become a prince and protect Anthy. In a Hero's Journey, the Road of Trails is a path toward the goal at the end of the quest. In a Heroine's Journey, it's often part of a never-ending struggle.

Now we get to some of the really problematic ones. The Meeting with the Goddess, the Woman as Temptress, and Atonement with the Father.

I don't think it's as simple as replacing the Meeting with the Goddess with a God, and since love and companionship is often emphasized from the beginning with a Heroine's Journey, the encounter of love doesn't fully fit. There are examples of it, but I don't think it's a necessary step in a Heroine's Journey. I would replace it with maybe something like Testing of Friendships.

The Woman as Temptress obviously doesn't work, and I don't think the whole step really works in a Heroine's Journey at all, even if you replace the woman with a man, or just consider it in terms of a false and seductively easy answer to troubles. That doesn't really happen in the stories I consider Heroine's Journeys. Rather, there's often a Rejection of the Burden. This isn't quite like refusal of the call. Instead, it's the heroine's struggle with the endless nature of her struggle, questioning whether it will in fact ever end, or if it's even possible, or if it was a good idea in the first place.

Likewise, for Atonement with the Father, I don't think you can just replace the father with a mother, though again there examples of that being used. Since the essence of this step is essentially about being initiated by a figure of ultimate power over the hero's life, I don't think it fits with the Heroine's Journey at all. I think the Heroine's Journey rejects that, and instead I'd replace it with Acceptance of the Self. This is the step after the heroine overcomes Rejection of the Burden, when she decides to believe in herself as a heroine. It's about believing in her own heroism.

Like Supernatural Aid, I think Apotheosis is pretty gender-neutral, and works perfectly fine in the Heroine's Journey.

Finally, I don't think the Ultimate Boon has any place in the Heroine's Journey at all. The Heroine's Journey isn't quest-oriented in the first place, and so there's no point to the step. The Heroine's Journey will never end as long as the world remains the same.

Which brings us to...

Revolutionize the World!

I'm just going to group together all of the "Return"-type steps, since they're basically just alternate endings to the Hero's Journey, and rarely do they all occur in the same story, unlike the other steps. However, they all carry the same theme in the hero making some kind of peace between his old, familiar world, and the new world he has encountered on the adventure. This doesn't work at all in the Heroine's Journey, because part of the inherent difference I've suggested is that these worlds are different faces of the same world. The Secret World completely overlaps with the heroine's previous, familiar world. So how is this handled in the Heroine's Journey? I think the Heroine's Journey tends to end by rejecting the system itself. The heroine always picks a third option.

That's why the final step is Revolutionize the World. In believing in her own heroism, the heroine develops the power to overcome the endless struggle by changing the rules themselves. The heroine neither stays in the Secret World, nor does the heroine return to her previous world (which would in fact be possible anyway, because you can't un-see the Masquerade). Rather the heroine changes the world itself, and leaves both her original world and the Secret World behind.

(spoilers abound below)

Utena destroys the castle and leaves Ohtori Academy, freeing Anthy from her burden. In the movie version, Utena and Anthy leave for the real world together. Nanoha rejects that her enemies are enemies at all, and in defeating them, she "befriends" them, and turns them into her companions. Madoka uses her power to rewrite the laws of the universe so that magical girls don't become witches, finally ending the cycle of despair, and becomes a god who exists outside of time. Buffy rejects that she is a lone heroine (incidentally, a rule initiated by men who must have subscribed to the Hero's Journey) and awakens slayer powers in every potential; then she finally takes the fight to Hell itself, destroys the Hellmouth once and for all, and leaves Sunnydale.

(end spoilers)

I'd love to hear what everyone thinks of this potential model of the Heroine's Journey. I think I've done my best to avoid ingraining any inherent gender biases or gender roles into it, and instead build the steps from the stories I love most about heroines and the common motifs they exhibit. I also think it can work perfectly well for a male character (and can think of at least one anime example that does follow this pattern with a male hero). But this is my idea of a woman taking a woman's journey, a Heroine's Journey.

gothicangel
05-21-2013, 10:54 PM
I think the issue is that a lot of literary theory is based upon the classics which, with few exceptions, are extremely sexist by today's standards. Sure, Antigone featured a "strong woman," but the play takes a relatively hostile attitude toward her, and her death isn't really considered "tragic" by the play itself until Haemon's death happens as a reaction. The idea that the things woman do can and should be valued is an extremely new idea if you consider it in terms of whether it is acknowledged by society at large.



Firstly, as an English graduate it is wrong to judge ancient literature by modern morals.

Secondly, it was written by a Greek for performance to the Greeks. Their attitudes towards women where worse than the Romans!

Cramp
05-22-2013, 02:16 PM
Kuwis, the analysis would probably need to stretch beyond motifs of a single genre from a narrow time period for it to become a true model of a Heroine's Journey (unless of course you just want to model the magical girl genre).

onesecondglance
05-22-2013, 03:46 PM
Kuwis, the analysis would probably need to stretch beyond motifs of a single genre from a narrow time period for it to become a true model of a Heroine's Journey (unless of course you just want to model the magical girl genre).

A wider lens wouldn't hurt, but first I have to applaud kuwi. That's a pretty damn awesome piece of work. :Hail:

kuwisdelu
05-23-2013, 06:32 PM
Kuwis, the analysis would probably need to stretch beyond motifs of a single genre from a narrow time period for it to become a true model of a Heroine's Journey (unless of course you just want to model the magical girl genre).

Of course you're right. It's simply an incredibly convenient source of lower-case "heroine's journeys", and I'm not nearly widely read enough to reliably pull from other sources.

(And it's probably not even a true model of the magical girl genre, considering I'm not even widely enough watched in it either, and — as befits the purpose of discussing monomyth — I purposely chose the most influential and resonant examples that have had wide appeal and deep impact.)


A wider lens wouldn't hurt, but first I have to applaud kuwi. That's a pretty damn awesome piece of work. :Hail:

Why thank you. :)

After writing that, I did come to observe a couple interesting ways I think my description vs. Campbell's monomyth differ, and how they reflect upon gender roles in many cultures. (And in many ways, I think these statements can be generalized to "heroic journey from a minority perspective".)

The nature of the journey and the "two worlds" itself is probably different in a Heroine's Journey. In the Hero's Journey, the worlds are separate. The Shire vs. Morder. Tatooine vs. the Death Star. Going on the journey speaks to a fundamental difference between the old world and the new. In a heroine's journey, the old world is carried into the new one, or there is no true difference between them. To make a real-world analogy to the impact of sex and gender, a female soldier who goes to fight on foreign soil, will still face sexism and misogyny from fellow soldiers.

The final step of "Revolutionize the World" I think could speak to how women and minorities can be in constant struggle against the limitations of their station, and to truly triumph in the end requires the whole system to be overturned.

Lastly, the whole fact that the Hero's Journey is so quest-driven (which I think is also emblematic of its Western-bias as much as its male-bias) must surely be indicative of something, but I'm having trouble expressing it without over-generalizing. I'll just say that it seems a common pattern in dealing with problems that women will discuss it and men will try to "fix" it, however practical or impractical it may be.

While I think over-simplifying it to the level of "diplomacy vs warfare" is indeed problematic, I think there may be something to the Hero's Journey being like a quest, and the Heroine's Journey being more like a conversation. Of course, this is on a purely metaphoric level, and any good writer must know a conversation can be ripe with conflict and confrontation. ;)

Russell Secord
05-24-2013, 04:42 PM
Kuwis, the analysis would probably need to stretch beyond motifs of a single genre from a narrow time period for it to become a true model of a Heroine's Journey...

You have to start somewhere. And there aren't all that many stories about epic quests starring women. The original post says as much. We're discussing a very rare thing, a new genre.

Camilla Delvalle
05-29-2013, 01:17 AM
Kuwi, your analysis is brilliant, and very interesting. Especially when it comes to steps like Refusal of the Call, Crossing of the First Threshold, and Revolutionize the World. The idea about the hidden world that is mixed with the real world gave me much to think about.

I interpret the Belly of the Whale differently, more like an actual imprisonment, deprivation, depression, or loss of ability or friends. These are also things that are common in stories, that give the protagonist time to think things through, and to come back stronger. One recent example could be in Shinsekai yori, when a monk takes the kid's power. For a long time they run around helpless, and Saki and Satoru are even trapped in a cave, where Saki has a strange vision and realizes how their power can be regained. Other examples could be when the protagonist in Legend of Korra loses and regains her power, when Utena loses a duel and becomes depressed, or when Madoka loses some friends and becomes depressed. In Utena there are probably more examples, like when people take the elevator to the basement, though that doesn't really give them the right kind of spiritual experience.

One could argue that Utena meets The Godess too. Most obviously in the dance scene in the rose garden in the movie.

I have a faint memory about Campbell mentioning something like the Collection of Companions, but maybe it is like you say that it is more pronounced in shoujo stories.

anne_tedeton
06-18-2013, 07:14 PM
I'd add a step before the Road of Trials, called something like Collection of Companions. The male monomyth is very much about a lone hero, and even though in many versions there are companions, there is not nearly as much emphasis placed on the idea of friends and companions, but I think it's emphasized much more explicitly in the stories I'm considering Heroine's Journeys.

Collecting companions is a semi-recent development in story telling, I think. I'm sure it goes back further than Tolkien, but that's one of the stereotypes of RPGs--"[Character] has joined your party!" But it's a bit of a different animal with magical girl stories, isn't it? Especially in a story where the companions are primarily female.

I think this could be divvied up even further, because the companions often fulfill a sort of stereotyped role--the tough girl, the sweet girl, the token tsundere, the otome...almost like anime archetypes. Often there's an element of having to "win" a companion over or convince them to join up. I think you're pretty spot-on here, because those are definitely trials--if quite different from the trials of the monomyth.


I don't think it's as simple as replacing the Meeting with the Goddess with a God, and since love and companionship is often emphasized from the beginning with a Heroine's Journey, the encounter of love doesn't fully fit. There are examples of it, but I don't think it's a necessary step in a Heroine's Journey. I would replace it with maybe something like Testing of Friendships.

I agree with you here. The temptation aspect is usually some kind of misunderstanding. The group disbands in some way, or there's a shift in power. If it's a heroine who's primarily on her own, there's usually some kind of discovery that tests her dedication to the end goal.


The Woman as Temptress obviously doesn't work ... Rather, there's often a Rejection of the Burden. This isn't quite like refusal of the call. Instead, it's the heroine's struggle with the endless nature of her struggle, questioning whether it will in fact ever end, or if it's even possible, or if it was a good idea in the first place.

This is spot-on. The awesome thing about your theory here is that I'm finding some awesome parallels with my own book :) Rejecting responsibility is huge in stories with female responsibilities. It's almost a prerequisite for the "final showdown." Regardless of where it fits in a particular story, it has to happen. And with female protags, I think the psychological aspect is stronger.


In believing in her own heroism, the heroine develops the power to overcome the endless struggle by changing the rules themselves. The heroine neither stays in the Secret World, nor does the heroine return to her previous world (which would in fact be possible anyway, because you can't un-see the Masquerade). Rather the heroine changes the world itself, and leaves both her original world and the Secret World behind.

I think you could argue that through revolutionizing the world, the heroine integrates the world of old, and the world of new--acting almost like a conduit for change. The either/or aspect of the monomyth is traded for a both/and.


I also think it can work perfectly well for a male character (and can think of at least one anime example that does follow this pattern with a male hero).

The original TV ending of Evangelion was spot-on for this. I think it's possible to argue a model of the monomyth for mecha anime all by itself :)


I interpret the Belly of the Whale differently, more like an actual imprisonment, deprivation, depression, or loss of ability or friends.

You know, you could almost argue that this stage is a descent into the underworld--it's the mechanism for change and eventual acceptance, but it almost always requires that the heroine undergoes something that's truly damaging. There's the event, followed by the psychological "descent" you're talking about here. Almost like a...Hitting Rock Bottom moment. The heroine has to reach an absolute low before she can bounce back up and reclaim ownership of her self, her responsibilties, and her desire for change.

Excellent brain food here :) Thanks for giving me something to chew over.

Camilla Delvalle
06-20-2013, 02:45 PM
Collecting companions is a semi-recent development in story telling, I think. I'm sure it goes back further than Tolkien, but that's one of the stereotypes of RPGs--"[Character] has joined your party!" But it's a bit of a different animal with magical girl stories, isn't it? Especially in a story where the companions are primarily female.
Maybe collecting companions is more rare in older stories, but there is one type of story that I can think of. There seems to be stories from Africa, and also from Russia, where the hero is joined by a group of different characters, often three of them, where each one has a special ability. Maybe one can hear very well, one can run very fast, one can shoot very well with a bow, etc. At the end of the story, victory is acheived with the help of these people, and it would not be possible without them. Sometimes those three characters are not travelling together with a hero but instead they are the heroes. Two main points of this kind of story seems to be that cooperation is important, and that people with different abilities can complement each other.

RichardGarfinkle
06-20-2013, 05:49 PM
It's not a new trope at all. Early versions of Arthur's knights had each of them having a special ability. There are similar variations in Robin Hood's Merry Men. For a Chinese example, there are the Heroes of the Water Margin.

Camilla Delvalle
06-21-2013, 01:30 AM
It's not a new trope at all. Early versions of Arthur's knights had each of them having a special ability. There are similar variations in Robin Hood's Merry Men. For a Chinese example, there are the Heroes of the Water Margin.
Yes, Arthur is a clear example that I didn't think about. Another example is Jason and the argonauts. I've always liked stories with many heroes. Lone heroes like Superman are so lonely, while groups of heroes, like X-Men, seem to have more fun.

fivetoesten
06-21-2013, 03:41 AM
kind of related... You guys have seen this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZxs_jGN7Pg), haven't you? The monomyth explained by puppets (sorry for the interruption) :)

Laer Carroll
11-25-2013, 04:35 AM
Wow. I'm blown away by the intelligence and sophistication of the posts in the thread I started.

One thought came to me as I read them. Instead of the heroe's or the heroine's journey, I'd like to expand journey to journIES.

That is, instead of every man (or woman) embarking on the same journey, I'd like to see many alternative journeys. Some men leave, some men don't. The ones who leave will eventually take on any of many roles. Some stay home, to take on any of several other roles.

In other words, men can become doers, intellectuals, spiritual workers, doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs. Some become fathers, other don't. (Ditto women; not every woman must become or at least aspire to become a mother.)

In other words, I want to see a polymyth.

RichardGarfinkle
11-25-2013, 04:20 PM
The polymyth is what we really have. I've always thought the monomyth was a procrustean theory that ignores the diversity of storytellng.

Laer Carroll
11-25-2013, 05:43 PM
I've always thought the monomyth was a procrustean theory that ignores the diversity of storytellng.

Story models like THJ are good as long as we use them to stimulate our creativity. Bad if we let them straightjacket it.

________________________________________________

Other random thoughts. Which may just be memories of what others have said in other discussions of this subject.

The hero's journey is really the boy's journey to adulthood. So the heroine's journey is the girl's journey.

The journey is made of stages in this process.

Many stages include a decision about something. And not just the obvious ones, such as The Refusal of the Call. The hero may (for example) reject some or all of the aids offered by the protective figure near the beginning of the journey.

Which may have good or bad consequences; some of the apparent aids may be poisoned or booby-trapped. Even if an aid is benign, rejecting it may make the journey harder, but also may make the journey more rewarding. A crutch, for instance, can help or (through overuse and muscular atrophy) hurt the hero.

Once the boy/girl becomes an adult, there may be other journeys which only an adult can make. One such is becoming a father/mother.

The adult's journey may be the youth's journey repeated but with an adult's resources. Those might include a grown-up perspective and taking up as an aid one of the boons with which they returned. (I'm reminded of the retired gunfighter digging out his pistol when a bad guy or guys come to town. And maybe using cunning learned on the journey to win fights with the pistol.)

gingerwoman
11-28-2013, 09:05 AM
Victoria Schmidt in her book 45 Master Characters outlines and alternative plot outline to Campbell's Hero's journey- that she calls The Feminine Journey and that she believes resonates more deeply with women and girls than The Heroes Journey. She doesn't claim one is better she merely includes both story models.

gothicangel
11-29-2013, 12:00 AM
Victoria Schmidt in her book 45 Master Characters outlines and alternative plot outline to Campbell's Hero's journey- that she calls The Feminine Journey and that she believes resonates more deeply with women and girls than The Heroes Journey. She doesn't claim one is better she merely includes both story models.

That is an amazing book. I still use it when I'm in the initial stages of character development.

Laer Carroll
11-29-2013, 11:09 PM
Thanks, gingerwoman (also known to the criminal underworld as Lisa Whitefern (http://lisawhitefern.wordpress.com/), notorious cat burglar who daylights as a paranormal romance author).

I looked up Schmidt at Amazon and found she has a later book, Story Structure Architect (http://www.amazon.com/Story-Structure-Architect-Situations-Compelling/dp/1582973253/). I clicked on the Look Inside link and got a feel for the book.

Looks useful, so I checked my public library. And the branch right across the street from me has two copies! On my way to lunch with my lady I will pick up one.

As long as we take such books as idea stimulators rather than gospel I think they can be useful.

PrincessOfCats
10-09-2014, 09:30 PM
I have an (unfinished) novel where I had an established character going through the hero's journey, and I wanted his fiancee to travel the heroine's journey. The way I approached it was to look at the classic 'woman gender' associated issues (which isn't to say all women are this way -- many are better suited for the hero's journey, but this particular character was not).

What I ended up realizing is that there's a classic example of the Heroine's Journey out there already: Jane Eyre.

Somewhere I have the entire journey noted down and explained. I built the fiancee's plot in the book around it. That was years ago, though, so that notebook is stored with a bunch of other notebooks god knows where (probably my attic).

Jane Eyre is an excellent example of a woman who is both feminine and strong. She displays strength of will, strength of mind, and strength of character without compromising her 'feminine' attributes. People knock the book because Rochester was keeping his crazy wife in the attic, but they neglect to note that Bronte makes him pay for that, because what he did was wrong. She scars him, takes away his sight, and takes Jane from him; she only comes back when she's emotionally and financially independent enough that she can be his equal, not his pet.

Too often, even in modern literature, people equate 'strong character' with male attributes and behaviors, because so many people subconsciously equate strength with men. (Think of how many times people say things like 'She's a strong female character! She kicks ass and takes names!') For that reason, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, if not my favorite novel. IMO, one of the most feminist things I've ever read.

And also an excellent example of the heroine's journey.