Female lead characters that are missing crucial parts of the Hero Journey archetype. [Part 1]

WARNING! There are spoilers to Star Wars Episode VII and Mockingjay Part 2. If you wish not to have them spoiled do not read. This will be done in two parts so you don't have to read a massive brick of text. These are just my opinions and observations and am in no way trying to claim any of this as objective facts. So I've thought about this for awhile because I've noticed in recent works where women are taking more of a spotlight role in hollywood action films that there is just something missing. And no, the missing thing is not a penis dangling from their crotch. It's character development.

Female lead characters that are missing crucial parts of the Hero Journey archetype. [Part 1]

So there's two main examples of this I want to look at. The first one is the main protagonist of The Hunger Games Katniss Eversdeen. And secondly every guys hearthrob, Rey, of Star Wars Episode VII.

So I have not seen the latest Hunger Games film but I did read the Trilogy novels when I was younger. But what I noticed right from the beginning of the first book was that I absolutely despised Katniss Eversdeen. There was not a thing about her I liked. However, I thought to myself that this is how it starts. The main character isn't perfect but they'll develop as time goes on. A good example of this is Luke Skywalker of the orginal Star Wars trilogy.

Luke Skywalker is the embodiment of the heroes journey. There's a bit of a joke that Luke is nothing but a whiny little crybaby. If you watch Episode IV(I am not calling it A New Hope) and a bit of Episode V he is a bit immature and complains quite a few times


Not exaclty what you would think is the hero of time is it? And not only that but if you have watched the original trilogy then you'd know that Luke absolutely gets his ass handed to him in his fight against Vader in Episoe V "The Empire Strikes Back" But that's part of the hero archetype. You have a flawed character both in their ability and in their maturity/mental state. But as the epic goes along they experience loss and suffering but they also find an inner peace while becoming stronger and through experience they gain maturity and enlightment. Part of the central theme to the Hero's Journey is that they become a better person along the way. In the final chapter of the original saga Luke not only because an incredibly powerful jedi compared to the previous film but he also grew as a person. He gained an inner peace and confidence he never had before.


So now we return to Katniss Eversdeen. Is she a flawed character? Absolutely. She's incredibly impuslive, irrational, a bit spoiled, loud, whiny, and frankly hardly ever thinks anything through. So you better get used to seeing Jennifer Lawrence making this face a lot. Because it's going to happen. A lot....

The Heroe's Journey looks like it's about to be embarked upon by her you might think? But this may not be the case. As I read through the novels I couldn't help but feel she wasn't doing too much in the way of introspection. Yes she decided that Peeta was a better person than she was and thus was willing to die for him by the end of the first book but that was about all there was to that. I found that this child that I absolutely despised at the beginning of the first book was still as irritating at the last page of Mockingjay. Like I have said I haven't seen the final film so I'm not sure if she does the impulsive action against the President. Even if her actions can be justified she was still as spiteful as she ever was and she frankly never grows as a person. Literally the only character development was deciding which unrealistically perfect guy she was truly in love with(gee this is original and isn't exactly like The Notebook or Twilight where a girl who has two absolute hunks pining after her where frankly no one understands why such men would want that girl but for the sake of plot and romance they do). Maybe it's my bias of just not caring for Romance in stories/films but I just found it to be dreadfull that half the time we read what she's thinking were about which guys life with a perfect body and perfect personality she was ruining more and her feelings about them. I feel Katniss Eversdeen had so much potential to become so much more. But instead she goes from being an impulsively, loud, cries and wails way too many damn times, too impossibly stubborn to work with person to being an impulsively, loud, cries and wails way too many damn times, too impossibly stubborn to work with person. She did not follow the Heroes Journey. She stumled and fell face first in the mud somewhere near the beginning of the journey and then a bunch of people carried her to the end.

Part 2: http://www.girlsaskguys.com/social-relationships/a24369-female-lead-characters-that-are-missing-crucial-parts-of-the-hero


0|0
2|7

Join the discussion

0/2500

Submit

What Girls Said 2

  • SPOILER FOR ENDING OF MOCKINGJAY
    I disagree for Katniss. I have read each book multiple times. To be honest, the reason why you would say she is "impulsive" is because she is mentally unstable because of the traumatic events of the Hunger Games. She wasn't at all spoiled, I wouldn't say a girl who the president wants dead, was almost killed so many times, hunted to stay alive, and took care of her sister when she could barely take care of herself while her mom was suffering from PTSD is spoiled. She is a fighter for overcoming all of those boundaries. If you didn't know, President Coin was actually not trying to free the people, but just take President Snows place. Even in the movie she took a vote if they should have a Hunger Games once a year for the capital children as revenge. Katniss used her intelligence there to save the capital children of Panel by agreeing to have a hunger games then soon killing her instead of Snow. Her character development was based around coping with her surroundings and situations. She soon became the fire and strength the rebellion needed to carry on. She first was a wounded, frightened, angry girl but then carried on to be a strong headed, brave, and powerful fire to the rebellion which wouldn't have overthrown the government without her.
    "If we burn, you burn with us"
    I disliked how the movies caught the attention of viewers by making the love triangle a main part in the plot. But I guess love does change you and your perception of things, it showed she had more to protect than just herself, but herfriends, ssister, mother, lover, a whole country really.

    In the end she has children and it shows that after mass destruction, utopia can still be found within all of us. Sure, she may have many sleepless nights or nights full of nightmares. But her children and love is what heals her.

    Then again, I'm pretty biased, cried SO hard watching the last movie 😂😂

    0|0
    0|0
    • It wasn't just the movies that focused on the love triangle, they were infuriatingly present in the books as well.
      And there's a difference between being spoiled, and acting spoiled, I think we should be able to agree that she acts pretty spoiled in a lot of places.

  • I think she is an okay character. She has flaws, big flaws but she does change. At first she doesn't trust people. She is quick to judge other people even though she is very reckless herself. Peeta brings out the good in her. He is different and as she accepts him, she starts to see good in other people too. Yeah she is a difficult person but she is selfless. She is ready to die for her sister and Peeta.
    She is not a typical hero. She suffers and becomes mentally ill. She sacrifices herself in order to save other people. But she is also mentally ill. It would be irrational to assume she would suddenly become confident and strong and calm because that is not how sick people act. And she sees more and more death and suffering as story goes on, it fills her with desire to revenge, but she needs to fight against her mind so she won't turn completely insane. Finally in the last book she is able to give up on her self-hate and quilt.
    And yeah, she could have bern much better but she isn't that bad. Try Bella from Twilight.

    0|0
    0|0

What Guys Said 7

  • Woman as sufferer isn't really a new archetype. Also, I feel like it took inspirations more from books like 1984 and Brave New World than greek myths that star wars did so it follows that it wouldn't really be about the hero's journey as much as what this cold cruel world is doing to folks

    0|0
    0|0
  • That really is the problem with Katniss.

    Harry Potter: Goes from being a hated, powerless orphan... to being a smart, beloved, powerful wizard with many people who would call him family. "I never wanted any of you to die for me!"

    Percy Jackson: goes from being a miserable, upset, fatherless kid... to being a wise, understanding hero with friends, a great girlfriend, and a Greek God for a father. "And then I understood. I wasn't the hero. Luke was."

    Katniss: Goes from being a girl who loves her sister and her mother... to a traumatized girl who is mourning her sister. She really had no development but to be traumatized--the truth is "I just wanted to save my sister!"

    0|0
    0|0
  • The same could be said about Naruto from the anime of the same name. He began with being an orphan living by himself, being despised by every adult in the village without knowing the reason why and being ignored and bullied by all the other kids. As a result he started to prank and annoy everyone just for the sake of attention. Going so far as to point the stone monuments of the village leaders. But what kept him going is his miraculous happy-go-lucky attitude and his will to never give up. He befriended everyone almost by force lol.
    So he went from being utterly alone and hated and weak... to being the leader of the nation, the most powerful warrior and loved and admired by all.

    0|0
    0|0
    • There are many stores using the heroes journey archetype. This is more about women characters in it because it's very uncommon and ones like these are missing a crucial element. I used Luke Skywalker to demonstrate how the heroes journey really works in film and Luke is very well known in popular culture across a lot of demographics.

    • I know I know. Just wanted to give tribute to my favorite character.

  • That echoes my sentiments perfectly. The hunger games where an interesting trilogy but it was more despite the main character rather then because of it. I also hate the love triangle for much the same reason you stated, the men are their being used and abused like tools and for some reason they still throw themselves at her for "reasons" that are completely lost to me. Completely unrealistic behavior. I actually never really thought about the luke skywalker remark, him starting off as a whiny kid but its true, very good point.

    0|0
    0|0
  • While I loved "the hunger games" books (movies are ok), the character was a whinny, "only think about herself" teenager. she was not a good role model for anyone, certainly not women. She was out for self preservation and only thought of others if it benefited her.
    Tris, from The Divergent series, was a much better role model for women. Although the story was ok, not great by any means.

    0|0
    0|0
  • I agree with this, except for when you mention Episode VII. Episode VII did not happen; there are only six Star Wars movies, and that's all there will ever be.

    0|0
    1|0
  • Good Take, I like Star Wars, and Hunger Games are ok as well.

    1|0
    0|0
Loading...