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Page history last edited by Janell Chang 11 years, 7 months ago

Authors: Janell Chang


1. According to Tami Cowden, there are eight different types of archetypes that a heroine can fall under.

     i) The boss - fierce and in charge

     ii) The seductress - manipulative and cynical

     iii) The spunky kid - loyal and gutsy

     iv) The free spirit - optimistic and fun-loving

     v) The waif - damsel in distress

     vi) The librarian - clever and book-smart

     vii) The crusader - a fighter and headstrong

     viii) The nurturer - "serene and capable" (Cowden)


2. Maureen Murdock listed the stages of a heroine's journey as follows:

     i) separation from the feminine

     ii) identification with the masculine & gathering of allies

     iii) road of trials, meeting ogres & dragons

     iv) finding the boon of success

     v) awakening to feelings of spiritual aridity: death

     vi) initiation & descent to the goddess

     vii) urgent yearning to reconnect with the feminine

     viii) healing the mother/daughter split

     ix) healing the wounded masculine

     x) integration of masculine & feminine


Example 1: Yeh-hsien

Yeh-hsien's real mother died (separation from the feminine) and her father died a couple years later, but not before remarrying. Her stepmother made her "collect firewood in dangerous places and draw water from deep pools" (road of trials). (Yeh-hsien, 107) When her step-mother killed a fish Yeh-hsien had been nuturing for a while (death), "there appeared a man with his hair loose over his shoulders and couarse clothes. He came down from the sky" (goddess). (Yeh-hsien, 107) When he told her about the power of the fish bones, she wishes for "gold, pearls, dresses and food whenever she wanted them" (urgent yearning to reconnect with the feminine). (Yeh-hsien, 107) When the king of T'o-han discovered her and the fish bones, he took them back to his kingdom and married Yeh-hsien (integration of masculine & feminine).


Example 2: Cinderella (Brothers Grimm)

When Cinderella's mother was about to die, she gave her daughter some advice to keep positive (separation from the feminine). As she was forced to live a harsh life and work as a maid (road of trials), Cinderella was kept company by a small dove that gave her whatever she asked for (gathering of allies). When the prince's wedding search party came along (identification with the masculine), Cinderella attended all three days with a beautiful outfit and shoes (boon of success). When the prince finally managed to figure out who she was, he took her away to marry her (integration of masculine & feminine).


Example 3: Beauty/Belle

Beauty lived with her father and siblings after her mother died (separation from the feminine). When her father was taken by the Beast, Belle offered to go in his place to Beast's castle (identification with the masculine). She lived happily there for a while, but she began to miss home and her father (spiritual aridity). Beast allowed her to go back home on the condition that she would return. However, she ended up staying more than the agreed time and he began to fall ill. The moment she returned though, she confessed her love to him (integration of masculine & feminine). At that moment, he turned into a beautiful prince and then married her (healing the wounded masculine).


For the most part, when people think of a heroine nowadays, they think more of historical figures, like Joan of Arc or Queen Victoria, that are usually more headstrong or in control of the environment that they are in. Of course, if you were to ask them about modern day heroines, most likely people will think of polictical or economical figures, like Hilary Clinton or Tina Fey. The fairytale stereotype of a heroine does not particularily come to mind, since most of the "real-life" heroines are usually seen as the forerunners of some large movement that help to further female status in society, like suffrage.


Works Cited:

Beaumont, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de. "Beauty and the Beast." Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: Norton, 1999. Print.


Cowden, Tami. "The Eight Heroine Archetypes." tamicowden.com. 2003. 30 October 2011.



Grimm, Brothers. "Cinderella." The Classic Fairy Tales. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: Norton, 1999. Print.


Murdock, Maureen. "The Heroine's Journey." Hero's Journey. 30 October 2011.



"Yeh-hsien." The Classic Fairy Tales. Ed. Maria Tatar. New York: Norton, 1999. Print.

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