Girls Who Save the World: The Female Hero in Young Adult Fantasy

Erin F. Danehy, Carnegie Mellon University

Advisor: Peggy Knapp

Department of English

Abstract or Description

Note on Abbreviations...................................................................................................................3
Prologue: The Female Hero............................................................................................................4
Part I: The Adventure Of The Hero................................................................................................8
Chapter I: In Defense of Fantasy: Imagination and Tradition.....................................................8
Chapter II: Hro Theory and the Female Hero Story: An Overview..........................................26
Call to Adventure..................................................................................................................28
Threshold Crossing...............................................................................................................30
Initiation...............................................................................................................................34
First Dragon: The Self......................................................................................................35
Second Dragon: Depression..............................................................................................36
Third Dragon: Passivity....................................................................................................39
Fourth Dragon: Prejudice..................................................................................................40
Fifth Dragon: Overextension of Self or Resources...........................................................42
Sixth Dragon: Coping with Loss and Accepting Mortality..............................................44
Transformation and the Elixir...............................................................................................45
Flight....................................................................................................................................48
Return...................................................................................................................................50
Freedom to Live....................................................................................................................54
Part II: A Closer Examination Of The Female Hero....................................................................56
The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown.....................................................................67
The Song of the Lioness Quartet...........................................................................................74
The Abhorsen Trilogy...........................................................................................................79
The His Dark Materials Trilogy...........................................................................................84
Epilogue: The Female Hero And Society.....................................................................................93
Appendix I: List Of Important Characters And Settings..............................................................95
Appendix II: A Diagram Of Joseph Campbell’s Hero Structure................................................100
Bibliography..............................................................................................................................101