Difference between Quests Doen by Female and Male Heroes

801 Words4 Pages
Heroic fantasies are most often structured around the hero's or heroine's quest. This frequently turns out to be a quest for identity, although the hero or heroine usually does not realize this at first. "The journey of the upper-class white male is identified as the generic type for the normal human condition; and other members of society - racial minorities, the poor and women - are seen as secondary characters (Pearson 4)." "In the traditional, the quest hero is assumed to be a male who is separated from his known world, is initiated into a new consciousness, and then returns to his community (Russell 197)." However, when the hero of a story is a woman, her quest is essentially different from the male pattern. This was especially true in the second half of the nineteenth century. At that time, males were dominant over females and social conventions reinforced the submissive characteristics of female protagonists in literature. Women were portrayed as passive while they were carrying out the quest whereas men were more courageous and involved in direct action.

One recurring pattern of behavior in female protagonists was their tendency to always be humble and submissive to the evil villains. For example, the real princess in The Goosegirl, by the Brothers Grimm, endured disloyal and contemptuous treatment from her maid-in-waiting, when she switched positions with her and tended geese while the maid-in-waiting was to marry a prince in her place. Similarly, in another short story, Rapunzel by Brothers Grimm, Rapunzel was helpless against the evil witch, who put her in the captivity of a tower and later in a desolate desert. Furthermore, Vasilisa in Russian story, Vasilisa the Beautiful, was ordered to do chores first for her evi...

... middle of paper ...

...es held by many fairy tales are conventional and represent the basic morality for many societies', which is perhaps why they quickly to gained acceptance by both children and adults throughout the nineteenth century after the Romantic Movement. During this period of time, a highly warlike society was formed by men who attended war and fighting against other countries while women were relegated to subordinate and subservient positions. The social convention formed during nineteenth century is reflected in the gender bias of the children's literature in which men were casted in predetermined and leading roles. Female heroes were portrayed as rather helpless creatures whose futures depended on the kindness of capable men, whom the women must need in order to be saved. Consequently, this pattern is displayed on the quests done by both female and male heroes respectively.

    More about Difference between Quests Doen by Female and Male Heroes

      Open Document