The Heroine With a Thousand Faces?

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Edited By RazzaTazz

I was brought this up earlier today, but then got to thinking about it in more depth. I was talking about the book "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" and how it deals with archetypical heroes. The basic format of most heroic narratives is the call to adventure, the road of trials, the goal or boon, the return to the ordinary world and the application of the boon. As an example of this could be most Batman stories-

Call to adventure - Bruce Wayne sees the Batman symbol, to the Batcave!

The road of trials - Surviving the trap set out by the Joker

The goal or boon - Justice is done

Return to the ordinary world - Back to Wayne Manor for 500 pushups and 30 minutes of sleep.

Application of the boon - One less villain on the street, one step closer to a crime-free Gotham

The book has been given quite a lot of credit by others, most notably George Lucas, though it serves also as a somewhat generic blueprint for people writing adventure type of stories. The question though as I see it, is the role of the female heroine in the mix. It is not my intention to make this a pro-women or misandrist post, I am just curious as to how others think that this model applies to female characters and myths (though the myths are somewhat lacking.) Is the role of the heroine the exact same? Or does the unconventional gender for the main character make the needs of the character different? In some sense character like Lara Croft seem to fit almost exactly the male model (though maybe not surprisingly as she was originally intended to be a male character.) Others do not as much, or the boon or goal they seek is quite different. Any thoughts?

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#1  Edited By Delphic

As you know the hero model is not gender specific, and though I have never read the book: Hero With A Thousand Faces, I am aware of a concept we learned of in High School English called the Heroic Journey. Which involved the hero leaving his home, facing trials, obtaining what they set out to do, and then return home. So this is what I will apply in my discussion. Every heroine that I am familiar with in current works, and even myths (only ones I can think of is Joan of Arc and Hua Mulan) has followed this template. It was Kurt Vonnegut who once said "In any story a character has to want something, even if it is only a glass of water. Any Heroine, that I know of, has always set out in pursuit of something, whether it is freedom or to protect one's family from an opposing force. So I don't believe that the Heroine's gender makes her needs different, but it can possibly be one of the trials she has to face.

Though, I call my information from a Disney film, I do believe as stated in Mulan that if a female impersonated a soldier it meant execution for her. One of her trials is that she must hide her gender from a male dominated organization. So I would say it wouldn't be the role of the heroine is different from the hero, but the trials presented to her because of her gender would be different than that of a man. Had Mulan been a man, she wouldn't have to deal with the challenge of hiding the fact she is a woman from the other soldiers.