Female Hero’s Journey

In my effort to understand the female hero’s journey, I came across this great quote from Christopher Vogler, an expert on the hero’s journey. He wrote an introduction to Kim Hudson’s book, The Virgin’s Promise.

female hero…as Joseph Campbell did, you can trace the stages of a story as a circle. When women describe to me how they experience drama or a dramatic event in their lives, the graphic patterns that come to mind are a series of concentric circles or a spiral in which the female protagonist proceeds more inwardly through a series of levels than the make who tends to move out into the world. The female heroes seem to move towards the center of a series of rings that represent the different levels of female relationships – relationship with father and mother, other women, men, children, society, the gods and goddesses, and finally at the center with themselves, their own true natures. Then they may return through all those levels, unwinding the spiral, applying what they have learned at their center to each set of relationships. They may touch upon some or all of the stages of the Hero’s journey while they trace their own geometry, but they seem to be more interested in these relationships  than in the external adventures and physical challenges.virgin's promise

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5 responses to “Female Hero’s Journey

  1. Vogler is good, Ed, and his hero’s journey, based on Campbell’s work, has become the bible for structure in film making. It’s now seeped into the novel; which is a pity, I think, as there are many great novels that don’t follow this recipe – some of Updike’s later works, for example. Still, the recipe’s become so ingrained now that new writers are obliged to follow it if they want to make a buck.

    • Interesting, Danielle. I’m not that familiar with Updike’s work to comment, but I’ve always learned that the hero’s journey is just good story telling. What do you think?

      • The concept of the hero’s journey started out with Joseph Campbell, who based his work on the research of the great explorer of the unconscious, Carl Jung. Christopher Vogler’s handbook for film, based on Campbell’s work, later became the book, THE WRITER’S JOURNEY, first published 1992. It has become the new industry bible, providing a formula that appeals to the broadest cross-section of the public, a bible, not only for film makers, but also novelists. It’s so entrenched now that it’s hard for people to realize that it wasn’t always there.
        Before this, novelists felt free to explore whatever structure they thought would suit their tale, and many well known books, such as those of US novelist Scott Fitzgerald’s and the great Japanese authors Kabawata (who won the Nobel Prize for literature), and Yukio Mishima, to name only a few, do not fit the mould. The attraction of the hero’s journey form is THAT IT WORKS; therefore it makes money. But I think it’s wise for writers to understand that it’s a comparatively recent invention, and that there are other ways to tell a story.
        (Heresy, I know, in this day and age.)

      • Good for you. I would love to read an article like this. Your opinion is strong and valid and interesting. Think about it. How about in a writers magazine to start with? Writers Digest? The Writer? Perhaps Australia has a writers mag??
        Ed
        http://edgriffin.net/

      • Thanks so much for the kind words, Ed. I don’t really have anything to add to what I’ve said, though 🙂 However, if I go back to teaching Fiction Writing Workshops through Byron Communtiy College (to pay for the ebooks I want to put out), I’ll make sure I add it to what I’m already teaching about The Writer’s Journey. BTW, I’m sending you a private email about writing a guest post again on my blog.

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