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The Female Hero's Journey

The purpose of this site is to place three famous fairy tales into the context of the female hero's journey and to see how different artists and illustrators have interpreted the stories.

Differences Between Male and Female Hero's Journeys


The stages of the female hero's journey are very similar to the male hero's journey, but the circumstances are usually different.

A few differences:
For women, the journey begins with domestic imprisonment and a release from it, called the "Fortunate Fall".
During initiation, the woman may encounter a choice between a light and a dark man. She often "discovers a mother" instead of "meeting with the goddess." Instead of "apotheosis" she discovers some kind of female tradition or rejects her female inferiority. She realizes that she can succeed in her quest.
In the return stage, the rescue from without often involves the heroine's mother or mother figure. Crossing the return threshold is often a meeting with the heroine's parents.


For more information about the hero's journey, please read "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell or visit this website:

The Hero's Journey

For some interesting links about fairy tales and mythology, try these:

Original versions of Grimm's fairy tales on

Mythology on the Web

Grimm's Fairy Tales

SurLaLune Fairytales

Created by Virginia Buescher for Mrs. Edgar's AP English Literature class