The Doe Season and the Hero’s Journey Andy is the main character in the short story The Doe Season, and there are some ways that her journey reflects a hero’s journey. According to Robbins (767), there are everyday heroes, and these heroes represent archetypes, or common patterns in characters. This is a common narrative concept (Barry Elmes, 1997). There are universal psychological forces which shape our personality, and the hero is transformative by searching for his or her identity and by his or her attempt to become whole (Rigolino, 19). Heroes start out flawed, and change through the course of the story – the hero strives to overcome his or her flaws (Evans, 84). Likewise, the hero goes through predictable steps to overcome adversity – the hero is presented with a challenge, he or she is reluctant to meet this challenge, until there is a mentor who shows him or her the way, and then he or she crosses the threshold, a fear is met, and the reward is realized (Campbell, 6). Andy meets one of the elements of the hero’s journey, in that she rose to meet a challenge, but, in many ways, her story was not that of a hero’s journey at all. One of the ways that Andy does not meet the definition of a hero’s journey is that she does not seem to be fundamentally flawed at the beginning of the story. For instance, she is only nine years old, but Andy is a child who is very sure of herself and is able to hold her own with the adults. This is shown with her putting Mac in his place, as Mac is a rather rude individual who is inappropriate with Andy. In fact, there was even a bit of foreshadowing that Mac might have it in his mind to abuse Andy – his talk with Andy when he questions her on whether or not she had seen a penis was inappropriate at best, as it doesn’t have anything to do with deer hunting, especially since it was doe season, not buck season. Even young Andy thought that Mac was inappropriate about this, thinking that if Mac offered to show her his penis that she would kick him. Therefore, it would seem that, at least in this exchange, Andy was the adult and Mac was the child. This maturity beyond her years is something that is a positive attribute, and Andy doesn’t have any kind of fear or other kind of flaw that would make her journey that of a true hero. She starts out mature and wise, and this never does change throughout the story. This is not to say that she didn’t go through a journey of awakening in the story, because she did. She overcame a fear that she didn’t know that she had, which was the fear of killing the animal. She wanted to show the others on the trip that she had the heart of steel and that she couldn’t put emotions into what she was doing, but she failed at this. However, even this doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of a hero’s journey, because her fear was not based upon something that was irrational or even based upon the unknown. Her fear of shooting the doe was based mostly on compassion – she saw the doe and imagined what the doe would feel when she was shot, and this made her hesitate. This wasn’t fear so much as it was just her being human – most people, even most adults, probably would bristle at shooting a living animal, so this was no different for Andy. She had a sense of ethics that was missing in the adults in the party, for the adults didn’t see the hunting from the doe’s point of view at all, yet Andy did. Also, Andy didn’t really find a mentor in this story. Her father, arguably, was her mentor, but her father was somebody that she knew all along. A true hero’s journey would involve finding a mentor who was previously unknown – like Luke Skywalker found Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Dorothy found Glenda and her three friends. Moreover, there really wasn’t a reward for Andy – it is arguable that the major challenge that Andy faced was that of killing the doe, and she does rise to the challenge. But she had so much guilt feelings that she had a nightmare about the doe, and all that she could think about was that she made the doe suffer. It wasn’t a reward, at all, for her to kill that doe. In fact, it might have impacted her to where she would never kill another animal. The only factor that made it even remotely like that of a hero’s journey is the fact that Andy rose to meet a challenge that was set for her. This challenge was that she was to kill a living thing. But there was never any indication that she had doubt about meeting this challenge, until she actually saw the animal, and, as noted above, killing that doe was not a reward for her. So, just because she met the challenge does not make this a hero’s journey. Andy in this story, on the surface, might have seemed to complete a hero’s journey. She was faced with a challenge of killing an animal, and she met this challenge, and it did change her significantly. However, meeting the challenge changed her in ways that would be unexpected for a typical hero’s journey – it changed her definitively for the worse. Simply meeting a challenge, however, does not make a true hero’s journey. Andy did not start out fundamentally flawed, and she wasn’t fearful. She didn’t really find a mentor in the story, and she didn’t receive a reward. Therefore, this story was not really about a hero’s journey as much as it was about a little girl who discovered, during the course of the story, that killing a living thing was simply not for her. Sources Used Barry, David Michael Elmes. “Strategy Retold: Toward A Narrative View of Strategic Discourse,” Academy of Management Review, 22.2 (1997): 429-452. Campbell, Joseph. The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work. Novato, CA: New World Library, 1990. Evans, Steven. “An Analysis of Meme Haylay Haylay and His Turquoise: Using Joseph Campbell’s Model of the Hero’s Journey,” Journal of Bhutan Studies, 23(1998): 85-109. Kaplan, David. “Doe Season.” Rigolino, Rachel. “Charting a Hero’s Journey,” Reflections, II.1(2001): 18-28. Robbins, Ruth. “Harry Potter, Ruby Slippers and Merlin: Handling the Client’s Story Using the Characters and Paradigm of the Archetypal Hero’s Journey,” Seattle University Law Review, 29 (2004): 767-789.
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