Female Heroes

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<p>A womans quest:Archetypal female heroesPrepared by Noelle Leslie dela Cruz, Ph.D. Philosophy Department De La Salle University</p> <p>Outline of discussion</p> <p>Carl Gustav Jung on the archetypes Joseph Campbell on the hero monomyth Stages of the heros journey Female heroes: Elizabeth Gilbert, Leah Bustamante, and Frida Kahlo</p> <p>C.G. Jung on the archetypes</p> <p>Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung posited the existence of the collective unconscious, the repository of human wisdom throughout the ages The most common expression of patterns from the collective unconscious are the archetypal characters in myths</p> <p>C.G. Jung on the archetypes</p> <p>Archetypes are universal psychic forces formed through the history of human experience</p> <p>C.G. Jung on the archetypes In familiar stories, we might recognize some archetypalfigures such as the hero, the wise old man, the seductress, the maiden, the mother, the trickster, the divine child, and many others</p> <p>Arthur: The hero</p> <p>Merlin: Wise old man</p> <p>Morgan le Fay: The seductress</p> <p>Joseph Campbell on the hero monomyth</p> <p>Joseph Campbell adopted Jungs views on the psychological import of myths, asserting that a personal understanding of myth would be beneficial in ones own life</p> <p>Joseph Campbell on the hero monomyth</p> <p>Campbell advanced his theory of the monomyth, the structure shared by all myths across history and across the world In particular, he focused on the myth of the hero</p> <p>Joseph Campbell on the hero monomyth</p> <p>A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. (Campbell, 23)</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey</p> <p>Hero myths typically follow three main stages, namely:1. Departure deals with the heros venturing forth on a quest 2. Initiation deals with the heros various adventures along the way 3. Return deals with the heros return home with the knowledge and powers acquired along the journey</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Departure)1. Birth: Fabulous circumstances surrounding conception, birth, and childhood establish the heros pedigree, and often constitute their own monomyth cycle.The birth of Siddharta Gautama</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Departure)2. Call to Adventure: The hero is called to adventure by some external event or messenger. The Hero may accept the call willingly or reluctantly.</p> <p>Harry Potter receives a letter From Hogwarts</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Departure)3. Helpers/Amulet: During the early stages of the journey, the hero will often receive aid from a protective figure. This supernatural helper can take a wide variety of forms, such as a wizard, and old man, a dwarf, a crone, or a fairy godmother. The helper commonly gives the hero a protective amulet or weapon for the journey.Gandalf and Frodo (The Lord of the Rings)</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Departure)4. Crossing the Threshold: Upon reaching the threshold of adventure, the hero must undergo some sort of ordeal in order to pass from the everyday world into the world of adventure. This trial may be as painless as entering a dark cave or as violent as being swallowed up by a whale. The important feature is the contrast between the familiar world of light and the dark, unknown world of adventure.</p> <p>Neo chooses between the red and the blue pills (The Matrix)</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Departure)5. Tests: The hero travels through the dream-like world of adventure where he must undergo a series of tests. These trials are often violent encounters with monsters, sorcerers, warriors, or forces of nature. Each successful test further proves the hero's ability and advances the journey toward its climax.</p> <p>Hercules slays the hydra</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Initiation)6. Helpers: The hero is often accompanied on the journey by a helper who assists in the series of tests and generally serves as a loyal companion. Alternately, the hero may encounter a supernatural helper in the world of adventure who fulfills this function.</p> <p>Simba with Timon and Pumba (The Lion King)</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Initiation)7. Climax/The Final Battle: This is the critical moment in the hero's journey in which there is often a final battle with a monster, wizard, or warrior which facilitates the particular resolution of the adventure.</p> <p>Luke Skywalkers battle with Darth Vader (Star Wars)</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Return)8. Flight: After accomplishing the mission, the hero must return to the threshold of adventure and prepare for a return to the everyday world. If the hero has angered the opposing forces by stealing the elixir or killing a powerful monster, the return may take the form of a hasty flight. If the hero has been given the elixir freely, the flight may be a benign stage of the journey.</p> <p>Perseus beheads the monster Medusa</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Return)9. Return: The hero again crosses the threshold of adventure and returns to the everyday world of daylight. The return usually takes the form of an awakening, rebirth, resurrection, or a simple emergence from a cave or forest. Sometimes the hero is pulled out of the adventure world by a force from the daylight world.</p> <p>Orpheus loses Eurydice just before they emerged from the Underworld</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Return)10. Elixir: The object, knowledge, or blessing that the hero acquired during the adventure is now put to use in the everyday world. Often it has a restorative or healing function, but it also serves to define the hero's role in the society.</p> <p>The Holy Grail</p> <p>Stages of the heros journey (Return)11. Home: The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.</p> <p>Frodo returns to the Shire</p> <p>Female heroes</p> <p>Although the hero archetype is traditionally male, this does not preclude women from having their own hero quest Due to gender role conditioning, femininity has been defined in terms of nurturing, vulnerability, and passivity In myths and traditional stories, women are often portrayed as damsels in distress, domesticized caregivers, or, at the other extreme, as seductresses</p> <p>Female heroes</p> <p>According to Carol Pearson, Women receive very mixed messages, since to succeed they are told they need to act like men have. If they do so, they are frequently seen as unfeminine, or even unnatural. There is also a relatively strong prohibition against claiming the power of the Ruler in any external way unless that power is strongly diluted through the Caregiver/Lover lens.</p> <p>Female heroesTraditional Womans Journey</p> <p>Innocent</p> <p>Lover</p> <p>Caregiver</p> <p>Orphan</p> <p>Seeker</p> <p>Warrior</p> <p>May stop here</p> <p>Destroyer(Seeker-Warrior) Creator Self</p> <p>Traditional Mans Journey Innocent Lover CaregiverMay stop here</p> <p>Destroyer (Lover-Caregiver) Creator Self</p> <p>Orphan</p> <p>Seeker</p> <p>Warrior</p> <p>Source: Awakening the Heroes Within by Carol Pearson</p> <p>Female heroesARCHETYPE Innocent Orphan Warrior Caregiver Seeker Lover Destroyer Creator Ruler Magician Sage Fool GOAL Remain in safety Regain safety Win Help others Search for a better life Bliss Metamorphosis Identity Order Transformation Truth Enjoyment FEAR Abandonment Exploitation Weakness Selfishness Conformity Loss of love Annihilation Inauthenticity Chaos Evil sorcery Deception Nonaliveness</p> <p>Source: Awakening the Heroes Within by Carol Pearson</p> <p>Female heroes</p> <p>However, due to the feminist movement of the past century, gender roles have started to change dramatically. Thus, its now possible to think of the hero myth as applicable for both sexes</p> <p>Female heroes</p> <p>Some examples of subversive female archetypes are Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Leslie Winkle in Big Bag Theory, and Deborah Morgan in Dexter</p> <p>Female heroes</p> <p>Jungian psychoanalyst Clarissa Pinkola Estes discusses the Wild Woman archetype, which describes contemporary womens quest to find their essential selves</p> <p>Female heroes</p> <p>Healthy wolves and healthy women share certain psychic characteristics: keen sensing, playful spirit, and a heightened capacity for devotion. Yet both have been hounded, harassed, and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors.</p> <p>Female heroes</p> <p>When women are close [to their Wild Woman nature], the fact of that relationship glows through them. This wild teacher, wild mother, wild mentor supports their inner and outer lives, no matter what.</p> <p>Female heroes</p> <p>The narratives that will be discussed in this course follow the quest of three women who undertook the painful road to self-discovery, breaking out of the traditional feminine archetypes and thus becoming heroes in their own right</p> <p>Female heroes Watch closely for their respective quests,and whether they succeed.</p> <p>Elizabeth Gilbert</p> <p>Leah Bustamante</p> <p>Frida Kahlo</p> <p>References </p> <p>Campbell, Joseph. 2008. Hero with a thousand faces. California: New World Library. Estes, Clarissa Pinkola. 1992. Women who run with the wolves: Myths and stories of the wild woman archetype. New York: Ballantine Books. Jung, Carl Gustav. 1976. The portable Jung, ed. by Joseph Campbell. Trans. by R.F.C. Hull. New York: Penguin Books. Pearson, Carol. 1991. Awakening the heroes within: Twelve archetypes to help us find ourselves and transform our world. New York: HarperOne.</p> <p>Group activity</p> <p>Group yourselves into four- or five-member groups. Discuss a myth or fairy tale and try to retell it critically, i.e. with a view to providing an alternative to sexist, heterosexist, racist, classist, lookist, ageist, etc. assumptions in the original story. Be able to present a 10-minute skit next meeting (bring props or costumes as you see fit).</p>