The female hero’s journey in narrative media
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 23:49 authored by Sophia Riley Kobacker
Joseph Campbell’s ‘hero’s journey’ narrative model (1949) features prominently in blockbuster films which valorize the male warrior archetype. This thesis undertakes a comparative textual analysis of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), in concert with ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’ narrative journey templates, to determine whether there is evidence of a female equivalent of Campbell’s mythological ‘hero’s journey’ in contemporary narrative media. Previous studies have sought to reinterpret Campbell’s prototype by exploring archetypal patterns of the female hero’s journey through Jungian psychology, fairy tale and modern fantasy analyses. These have been criticized for their overtly feminist positions, neglect of mythology’s significance, or irrelevance to screen texts. This thesis represents an original approach to media text analysis, moving beyond cultural studies, feminist criticism, discourse analysis and literary theory to critically address mythic ‘hero’s journey’ narrative structures, in dialogue with recently proposed female models, more pertinent to narrative media. My research seeks evidence of mythic structure in a socially constructive, culturally resonant, contemporary ‘female hero’s journey’ narrative model. It contributes to the field of textual analysis of narrative media by creating a pathway to the formulation of a new, inclusive narrative model, directly applicable to screen text production.