the Hero’s Quest: in which I ramble a bit about literature.

So awhile ago, my friend Silas and I were talking about literature, because we sometimes do. His complaint, at the beginning of the conversation, was that Harry Potter is a bit of an idiot and a jerk, and that most stories involving Epic/Heroic Quests had similar main characters. So, as we talked, we tried to come up with good examples of intelligent main characters… turns out my own literature collection seems to be lacking in that genre, so I can’t really knowledgeably agree or disagree. I’ll have to do some research!

However, as the conversation continued, neither of us were able to think of a single story of this type with a female lead.  We both agreed that pretty much every story we could think of with a female main character ends up being a romance.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this– the tendency for female characters to end up in romances, even if that doesn’t really seem like it was the plot the story started out with. Why does this happen? I can think of a few different reasons:

1) Traditionally, the female’s “heroic quest” has always been love/marriage. A woman’s success in life was determined by her relationship status. This is, for the most part, still the case. Oh, we like to think it has changed, and maybe it has– a very little. But most of the time, single women are still judged,  and even pitied, no matter how other aspects of their life are going. If you don’t think this is the case, I’d love to hear your opinion… but I’m not sure you can convince me otherwise.

2) It could, of course, be the usual “paternalistic society” argument, where female characters, and women in general, simply don’t have the capacity to participate in epic stories except as the sidekick or love interest.

3) The reason that I am leaning toward, however, is this one. The idea that women, in general, are more relationship-focused. I’m not just talking romantic relationships, I’m talking about family, friendships, relationships with themselves, pets, children… women, as a group, orient their lives around their relationships. Is this because society has decided that women need to care more about relationships than any other aspect of their lives? I don’t know. I do know that this doesn’t describe every woman everywhere. Generalizations never do. It does describe most of the women I know. Amazing women. Powerful, intelligent, funny, thoughtful, ambitious, intense… and caring.

Maybe authors just can’t write a story about women without involving relationships because that has always been their experience with women. I’d like to see an epic with a female lead that doesn’t turn into a romance, and I’ll keep looking for that….

But at the same time, I don’t mind that my own life revolves around all the various relationships I’ve developed, and how they interconnect. And I don’t mind reading stories about incredible women who find different types of love in whatever way suits them.

What do you think? Can you come up with more reasons? Can you think of examples of Epic stories with female main characters that DON’T end up romances?

I’d love to know.



6:29 pm April 11, 2009 at 6:29 pm 5 comments

Why ‘glitterbubbles’?

It’s not a very long or complicated story.

Almost 8 years ago, now, I got an invite to join… this was back in the days when you needed an invite to join. My son was about 6 months old, and I had very little contact with the outside world, being a 19 year old single mom.  This friend of mine from high school thought I’d have fun with livejournal, so she invited me, and I spent days trying to come up with a decent username, with very little success.

Then one day, those email surveys were going around, the ones that you send to your friends that ask them how well they know you and they try to remember your middle name and things like that. Well, one of the questions asked for two words that you think of when you think of me (only probably in a more eloquent manner, I just can’t remember), and the same friend who had sent me the invite to LJ answered “glitter” and “bubbles”. And, since those are two of my favorite words, a username was born. Thanks, Treva! I have used it on nearly everything since, when it was available.

And now you know. 🙂


2:34 pm April 11, 2009 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

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