Compare & Contrast: Hero’s Journey and Heroine’s Journey

Overall, the hero’s journey and the heroine’s journey share many similarities; their differences lie mainly in their details. Perhaps the greatest difference between these story paths is the flexibility of the ordering of their steps. The hero’s journeys seem to stick more firmly to the ordering of their steps, whereas heroine’s journeys are more variable.

However, there is similarity in many of the steps that heroes and heroines take on their journeys. Both journeys start with the mundane: with the heroine it is her initial home, and with the hero it is his ordinary world. Both hero and heroine are forced to leave. Both find allies and are tested, and both are ultimately rewarded – the heroine with a true partner and a true home, and the hero with the object of his quest. The journeys are also similar in that both involve character development for the hero/heroine.

The journeys also seem to differ in their execution – though their steps appear to share many common elements, these elements are generally presented differently. Perhaps the best example of this is the destination of the quest itself. The heroine’s journey is initiated by the loss of a home and results in the finding of a new home – she is tied to the domestic, and the journey primarily benefits the heroine herself. On the other hand, the hero’s journey results in a great transformation. Perhaps he triumphs over evil or does a great service for his group. Regardless, his journey is beyond the scope of domestic life and is often on the behalf of others. Sometimes the hero even saves the whole world – his accomplishments are on a much larger scale than those of the heroine in her journey.

Journal Entry: The Heroine’s Journey

I will admit that I read this post for the first time during the first week of our class, which begs the question: why am I just writing this now? Goss’s “The Heroine’s Journey” is insightful, refreshing, and strongly resonant, so I wanted to make sure I did it justice. I still doubt I’m capable of that, but I’m giving it a try.

It’s remarkable to me that I never before noticed that pattern that fairy tale heroines’ journeys take – but now that I’ve read “The Heroine’s Journey”, it seems so obvious. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.

The heroine’s journey seems to be a journey of growing up. In many fairy tales, the heroine begins as a child, safe and happy, and she ends up an adult. The dark forest, the heroine’s test, and her ‘death’ are all struggles which she must endure along the way. Adulthood is even portrayed with a true partner and a true home, just like happily ever after.

Of course, such a journey can be undertaken by heroines of any age, but it seems most common (at least in tales I’m familiar with) that the heroine grows up on her journey.

I also especially liked how Goss suggests that the heroine’s finding of a partner can be considered metaphorically, or that perhaps finding the right other is “one of the highest things we can achieve in this life”. I appreciated being reminded of the important role that love can play – it really is a powerful, beautiful thing. Finding her true partner doesn’t have to imply that a heroine cannot get by on her own. Finding love shouldn’t necessarily diminish her own strength or make her any less of a heroine, and I think at times it can be easy to forget this.