Transformational Narrative: Heroine's Journey
This portal was curated by:

HEROINE'S JOURNEY

This book describes contemporary woman's search for wholeness in a society in which she has been defined according to masculine values. Drawing upon cultural myths and fairy tales, ancient symbols and goddesses, and the dreams of contemporary women, Murdock illustrates the need for—and the reality of—feminine values in Western culture today.
DATABASES
This book describes contemporary woman's search for wholeness in a society in which she has been defined according to masculine values. Drawing upon cultural myths and fairy tales, ancient symbols and goddesses, and the dreams of contemporary women, Murdock illustrates the need for—and the reality of—feminine values in Western culture today.
Maureen Murdock is generally regarded as the first to chart an alternative to Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey narrative paradigm that she believed is more appropriate for women’s life journeys.  As a student of Campbell’s,  Murdock,  came to believe that the Hero’s Journey model did not adequately address the psycho-spiritual journey of women. She developed a model of a  heroine’s journey based on her work with women in therapy.  When she showed it to Campbell in 1983, Campbell reportedly said, “Women don’t need to make the journey. In the whole mythological journey, the woman is there. All she has to do is realize that she’s the place that people are trying to get to.” Perhaps Campbell viewed the hero’s journey as a journey toward wholeness, and in a patriarchal society in which men subordinate qualities traditionally associated with the feminine, the search for wholeness would lead to their  reclaiming so-called feminine qualities and values.  However, it appears that Campbell was either uninterested in women’ reclaiming qualities that had been lost to them through enculturation or those that had never been viewed as rightfully theirs, or he was blinded by the fact that the myths that he was examining involved male figures.  At any rate, Murdock became convinced that women were involved in their own psycho-spiritual journeys and quests and developed the following model.
In 1990, Maureen Murdock wrote The Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness as a response to Joseph Campbell’s model. Murdock, a student of Campbell’s work, felt his model failed to address the specific psycho-spiritual journey of contemporary women. She developed a model describing the cyclical nature of the female experience. Campbell’s response to her model was, “Women don’t need to make the journey. In the whole mythological tradition the woman is there. All she has to do is to realize that she’s the place that people are trying to get to” (Campbell, 1981). That may be true mythologically as the hero or heroine seeks illumination but psychologically, the journey of the contemporary heroine involves different stages.

The Heroine’s Journey begins with an Initial Separation from feminine values, seeking recognition and success in a patriarchal culture, experiencing spiritual death, and turning inward to reclaim the power and spirit of the sacred feminine. The final stages involve an acknowledgement of the union and power of one’s dual nature for the benefit of all humankind (Murdock, 1990, pp. 4-11). Drawing upon cultural myths, Murdock illustrates an alternative journey model to that of patriarchal hegemony. It has become a template for novelists and screenwriters, shining a light on twentieth-century feminist literature.
In storytelling, the heroine's journey is a female-centric version of the Hero's journey template. Women felt that the Hero's Journey did not fully encompass the journey that a female protagonist goes through in a story.

The heroine's journey came about in 1990 when Maureen Murdock, a Jungian psychotherapist and a student of Joseph Campbell, published a self-help book called The Heroine's Journey: Woman's Quest for Wholeness in response to Campbell's Hero's Journey model. She developed the guide while working with her female patients. Murdock stated that the heroine's journey is the healing of the wounding of the feminine that exists deep within her and the culture.[1] Murdock explains, "The feminine journey is about going down deep into soul, healing and reclaiming, while the masculine journey is up and out, to spirit."[2]

Other authors such as Victoria Lynn Schmidt have created similar versions of the Heroine's Journey based on Murdock's. Schmidt's version changes some stages of Murdock's to help the model fit a bigger range of topics and experiences.[3]
Separation from the Feminine  — Often a mother or prescribed feminine role. Diana (Wonder Woman), the princess, wishes to become a warrior. However, her mother, the Queen, initially forbids her to.

Identification with the Masculine and Gathering of Allies — Often entails choosing a path that is different than the role prescribed for her, deciding to gear to”fight” an organization, role, or group that is limiting or entering some male/masculine-defined sphere. Diana finds a World War I pilot after he crash lands near her island. This is the first time she has seen a man and she quickly gathers an ally in him after she learns that a great war is raging, killing millions of innocents.

Road or Trials and Meeting the Ogres and Dragons — Heroine encounters trials and meets people who try to dissuade her from pursuing her chosen path and/or destroy her (ogres and dragons or their metaphorical counterparts). Diana ventures on the strange “road” through the civilized world of mankind. She wishes to go to the front of the war, but man after man opposes her doing so.
Experiencing the Boon of Success — The Heroine overcomes obstacles. In The Hero’s Journey, this is normally where the hero’s tale ends.  Diana proves herself in battle, showcasing her skills and powers that are above and beyond any man present.

Heroine Awakens to Feelings of Spiritual Aridity/Death — Success in this new way of life is either temporary, illusory, shallow, or requires a betrayal of self over time. Diana can not understand the reluctance on mankind’s part to saving the innocent and ending the war. Steve, the World War I pilot and her ally, is focused on completing the mission at hand of getting the secret gas plans to his superiors. Diana wants to stop the mythical Ares from waging war.

 Initiation and Descent to the Goddess  —  The heroine faces a crisis of some sort in which the new way is insufficient and falls into despair. All of her “masculine” strategies have failed her. Despite her efforts and powers, many are killed by deadly German gases. Diana is heart broken.

 Heroine Urgently Yearns to Reconnect with the Feminine — The heroine cannot go back to her initial limited state or position. Diana kills Ludendorff, but the war does not stop. She loses faith in the goodness of man and is perhaps ready to give up and fall back to her Amazon women beliefs that she was brought up with.

 Heroine Heals the Mother/Daughter Split —  The heroine reclaims some of her initial values, skills or attributes but views them from a new perspective. Diana reclaims her vision as Ares reveals himself finally. Her true powers are then unleashed, showcasing what her mother always knew. 

 Heroine Heals the Wounded Masculine Within —  Heroine makes peace with the “masculine” approach to the world as it applies to herself. Diana says goodbye to Steve and realizes that while mankind is flawed, it is worth fighting for.

 Heroine Integrates the Masculine and Feminine — She faces the world or future with a new understanding of herself and the world/life. Heroine sees through binaries and can interact with a complex world that includes her but is larger than her personal lifetime or geographical/cultural milieu. Diana accepts her role. She will fight for justice and for mankind. This leads to the time leading up to and through the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and beyond.
Visit our special guest curator
Related Portals:
 
Related Portals: