Citations & Online Sources for The Heroine’s Journey Narrative Structure

Technically speaking this is for listeners of the Heroine’s Journey audio book. I didn’t want to force you to go through my narrator, Starla, reading you a bunch of citations and such, so I am including them here instead. These appear in the print and digital editions of the book.

Blog Headers Heroine's Journey Citations

Here’s a sample of the audiobook:

Online References for the Heroine’s Journey

Primary & Main SourcesHeroesjourney

“Women don’t need to make the journey. In the whole mythological journey, the woman is there. All she has to do is realize that she’s the place people are trying to get to.” [source]

Note: nothing is permanent on the internet, I do try to keep these updated sorry if the sources have lapsed.


Heroine’s Journey Citations & References Explained

I intentionally chose not to write my references as footnotes or endnotes, because frankly, that kinda sucks in these days of ebooks.

Instead, I have broken these down into two sections. I’m trying to make them fun enough that you read even this bit.


Citations include those documents, archaeological fragments, and publications that I refer to in focused detail and directly quote in this book.

  • First, I’ve structured the citation as it actually appears in the text.
  • Then I’ve included a few additional notes so that you better understand why I chose it.

Hopefully, this makes it easy to find if you want to read more (and to check my work or draw your own conclusions).

(Because I read stuff both on paper and electronically, some of my direct citation points are LOC. This is a location code, the digital version of a page number. Because digital content can be reformatted, page numbers are flexible and consequently meaningless in digital. LOC is based on a percentage completed of the total word count in a book.)


In the second section, References, I did encyclopedia-style blurbs for the pop culture stuff I talk about in the books, which is listed by franchise/common name or title.

I’ve included information I feel is relevant to this book, and I’m being sublimely flippant.

Citations for Heroine’s Journey

Anonymous critic. (1966) “Extracting Emily,” Time, 22 April 1966.

Budge, E. A. Wallis. (1911) Osiris and the Egyptian resurrection. (Digital source so referenced by LOC #). Sir Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge (1857–1934) is widely considered the father of Egyptology in the UK. His work is colored by a conflation of opinion and fact, biased Victorian notions of how the universe worked, and a telling belief in the occult. However, his translations of Egyptian myth had great impact on western culture at the time, and therefore on any resulting societywide knowledge of these myths that resulted.

Budge, Ernest Alfred Wallis. (1960) The Book of the Dead: The Hieroglyphic Transcript of the Papyrus of ANI, the Translation into English and Introduction by E. Wallis Budge, Late Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in The British Museum. Bell Publishing, New York. I’m particularly interested in Budge’s English translation of a hieroglyphic text that was first translated into French in 1879 in Les monuments égyptiens de la Bibliothèque nationale, Plates XXI-XXVII, Paris.

Budge, Ernest Alfred Wallis. (1895) Original publication of The Book of the Dead is in the public domain and should be available online, unfortunately I can no longer find a direct link, please hunt and let me now if you find one.

Burkert, Walter. (1985) Greek Religion. Harvard University Press. Comprehensive guide with secondary references to the Demeter myth, first published in German in 1977. Uses archaeological evidence, ancient philosophies on the subject, and Linear B inscriptions (amongst other things) to reconstruct religious beliefs, rituals, festivals, temples, practitioners, and cults of the Minoan-Mycenaean age. Attention is paid to contested academic analysis and parts of the historical record that are still opaque.

Carpenter, Julia. (2019) “Romance Novelists Write About Sex and Pleasure. On the Internet That Makes Them Targets for Abuse” article for Glamour Magazine online June 25, 2019.

Campbell, Joseph. (1949) The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Published by the Bollingen Foundation through Pantheon Press. A work of comparative mythology describing the journey of the hero (as archetype) found in various myths and Campbell’s theory behind its structure. His analysis relied on Freudian concepts, Jungian archetypes, unconscious forces, and rites of passage rituals (e.g., Arnold van Gennep’s Separation, Initiation and Return).

Corelli, Marie. (1855–1924) English novelist and literary success (1886 through World War I) who wrote hugely popular Gothic-influenced romance novels that also incorporated occultism, mystery, and Christian morality. She has been largely ignored by history and literary critics, despite the fact that at the time she roundly outsold her male counterparts.

Homer. Homeric Hymn to Demeter translated by Gregory Nagy (no date given). Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University. One of the most commonly used translations of this myth. Made available online via Harvard University.

Larsen, Stephen and Robin Larsen. (2002) Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind. Inner Traditions. The authorized biography of Joseph Campbell covers his life and a personal perspective through the voices of friends and colleagues. Written by two of Campbell’s students who had access to his notes and journals.

Murdock, Maureen. (1990) Heroine’s Journey: Woman’s Quest for Wholeness. Shambhala Publications. A student of Joseph Campbell, Murdock published The Heroine’s Journey partly as riposte to his Hero with a Thousand Faces. Murdock, a Jungian therapist, saw the Heroine’s Journey as primarily a therapeutic process in a search for the whole self, the story format of which remained structurally similar to the Hero’s. Preliminary article here.

Plutarch. (1936 translation by F. C. Babbitt) De Iside et Osiride and Moralia. Vol. v: Isis and Osiris (transl.) London and Cambridge, MA. Can also be found online as Plutarch’s Morals, Theosophical Essays, Isis’s quest, section 18 translated by Charles William King (1908).

Rogers, Deborah D. (1994, editor) The Critical Responses to Ann Radcliffe. Greenwood Press, Connecticut and London. Collection of historically documented opinion and critical review of Radcliffe and her work during and just after her lifetime, plus modern essays and analysis. Seems somewhat positively biased and intentionally avoids negative reviews.

Radcliffe, Ann. (1764–1823) English author and pioneer of Gothic fiction, the most popular writer of her day and highest paid writer of the 1790s. Her best-known work is The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) later parodied by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey (1817). She influenced a generation of romantic authors who would eventually spawn the romance genre as we know it today.

Schmidt, Victoria Lynn. (2001) 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters. Writer’s Digest Books. Draws strongly on both myth and fairy tale foundations to analyze character archetypes and discusses Inanna and the Heroine’s Journey.

Scott, William Stuart. (1955) Marie Corelli: The Story of a Friendship. Hutchinson, London.

Siculus, Diodorus. (1933 translation by C. H. Oldfather) Library of History: Book 1. London and New York.

Shaw, Garry J. (2014) The Egyptian Myths. Thames & Hudson. Secondary source gathering multiple Egyptian myths; care is given to source and conflicting accounts.

Watt, Ian. (1957) The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding. Los Angeles and Berkeley, University of California Press.

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah. (1993) Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. Harper & Row. Compilation of translated archaeological fragments plus essays on interpretation from multiple authors. Based on evidence collected by two separate universities around the turn of the century.

Heroine's Journey Box Ad 1 Shadow Yellow

References for Heroine’s Journey

Batman character. Superhero character from DC Comics, created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. He first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, he’s had a live action kid-focused TV show (1966–1968), as well as animated TV series, multiple movies, and video game adaptations over the years.

Gail’s assessment: Usually portrayed as a classic Byronic hero.

Battlestar Galactica TV series. (2004–2009) Science fiction TV series space opera developed by Ronald D. Moore. A reboot of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica TV series created by Glen A. Larson.

Gail’s thoughts: Notorious for its popularity at the time, yet criticized for a shabby final season. I believe this is partly the result of a conflict between Heroine’s and Hero’s Journeys.

Black Panther movie. (2018) Superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It’s technically an origin story, although it doesn’t have the typical tropes one expects of discovery and self-expression.

Gail’s analysis: This movie has elements of a Hero’s Journey in that victory is nested in an expression of physical violence and defeat of an enemy one on one. There is also the dead father/mentor figure and death (not once but twice). On the other hand, it has Heroine’s Journey tropes as well in that loss of allies and isolation results in risk and near death; help is required to revive the main character; the allies who search are family (mother, sister, lover); Black Panther’s strength is reborn through networking; and he trusts in his friends to defend him. Also, the movie has lots of elements of group action, infiltration, exchange of useful information, and spying (particularly in the first half) – the hallmarks of a caper. Black Panther ends with community outreach, but the final shot is solitary. To top it all off, the male fighters are given defensive supernatural abilities, the women offensive. Honestly, I’m including it here because it was so confusing and I want to at least give voice to that. An example of a successful work of popular culture that, in the end, uses neither the Hero’s nor the Heroine’s Journey as its solo chassis. Remarkable.

Captain Marvel movie. (2019) Superhero film based on a Marvel Comics character of the same name written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Gail’s analysis: Buddy cop comedy meets Heroine’s Journey.

Children of the Corn book by Stephen King. (1977) A short horror story first published in Penthouse magazine, and later collected in Night Shift (1978). Turned into a film (1984) by New World Pictures, and then a franchise (1992–2018), remade for TV in 2009 by Fox 21 Television for the Syfy network.

Gail’s reaction: Scary.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV series. (2000–2015) Procedural investigative crime drama TV series that aired on CBS for fifteen seasons.

Gail’s thoughts: Example of a hero leading a group in a Heroine’s Journey and changing into a heroine over time.

Dangerous Liaisons movie. (1988) Period-set dramatic film written by Christopher Hampton as an adaptation of the 18th-century French epistolary novel Les liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. This original work is so iconic it has been adapted into plays, operas, ballets, and seven films: Les Liaisons dangereuses (1959), Une femme fidèle (1976), Dangerous Liaisons (1988 – my favorite), Valmont (1989), Cruel Intentions (1999), Untold Scandal (2003), and Dangerous Liaisons (2012).

Gail’s assessment: Excellent example of repackaging Gothic archetypes into a historical melodrama.

Deadpool movie. (2016) Superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name with a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

Gail’s thoughts: Deadpool is a classic Byronic antihero on an even more classic Hero’s Journey. That lovely girlfriend was never gonna make it.

Die Hard movie. (1988) Action thriller film with screenplay by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart (based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever).

Gail’s analysis: Iconic example of the Hero’s Journey and destined to define the beats of trapped location suspense and disaster storylines.

The Divergent Series (book series 2011–2013) and movies (film series 2014–2016). Three YA dystopian science fiction adventure novels (Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant) by Veronica Roth, turned into three feature films of the same names.

Gail’s assessment: The main character, Tris, engages in a tragic Hero’s Journey that ends with her death as an act of self-sacrifice and was polarizing for readers. Could be seen as a tragic Heroine’s Journey, depending on analysis, which might explain some readers’ sense of betrayal.

Dune franchise. Science fiction space opera franchise originating with the novel Dune by Frank Herbert (1965). Dune is arguably the bestselling science fiction book of all time, and has been adapted into films (1984 and 2020), TV miniseries (2000), and games.

  1. Gail’s thoughts: The books employ multiple POVs and many narrative elements of the classic Hero’s Journey.

ER TV series. (1994–2009) Medical drama TV series (with procedural elements) created by novelist and doctor Michael Crichton that aired on NBC.

Gail’s analysis: Example of different heroes and heroines leading a group in what is most likely a Heroine’s Journey. Hard to define successful outcome with something this long running.

The Expanse TV series. (2015 ongoing) Science fiction political space opera TV series based on The Expanse novels by James S. A. Corey.

Gail’s thoughts: Example of a multiple-POV narrative featuring different heroes and heroines on what could be either a Hero’s or Heroine’s Journey chassis. Hard to tell without knowing the ending.

Firefly TV series. (2002–2003) Space opera meets Western TV series, created by writer, director, and executive producer Joss Whedon, under his Mutant Enemy Productions label.

Gail’s analysis: Cancelled early, but when taken into consideration along with the follow-up movie, Serenity (2005), this most likely has a Heroine’s Journey chassis.

Game of Thrones TV series. (2011–2019) Epic fantasy TV series that aired on HBO created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, multiple-POV politically driven epic fantasy series. Widely believed to be based on various historical events, including the Wars of the Roses.

Gail’s note: The book series was unfinished at the time of this writing, but the TV show gives some insight into journey patterns and intent. This is an example of a multiple-POV narrative featuring different heroes and heroines on what is arguably a Hero’s Journey chassis.

Girls Trip movie. 2017 comedy film directed by Malcolm D. Lee and focused on travel and female friendship.

Gail’s note: This movie depicts power in groups in the form of female friendship and platonic relationships as well as heterosexual romances with men. It’s a Heroine’s Journey.

Harry Potter character. The titular character in the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling, 1997–2007. There are seven books in the series, the first of which is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. There are eight movie adaptations (2001–2011) that follow the same narrative arc. In the text, I usually refer to this collective of both books and movies as the Harry Potter franchise.

Gail’s thoughts: I use this as an example of the Heroine’s Journey for a reason.

House M.D. AKA House TV series. (2004–2012) TV medical drama on the Fox network featuring Dr. Gregory House, a medical genius who leads a diagnostic hospital team.

Gail’s assessment: This is a doctor version of Sherlock Holmes on a medical procedure chassis. (Yeah, his tolerant BFF is named Wilson… I see what you did there.) Exactly like Holmes, House is clearly a hero, but because of the waffling nature of a long-running procedural without overarching story, it’s nearly impossible (and basically unnecessary) to apply a journey chassis to this show.

The Hunger Games trilogy (books 2008–2010) and The Hunger Games movies (film series). Three YA dystopian science fiction adventure novels: The Hunger Games (2008), Catching Fire (2009), and Mockingjay (2010) by Suzanne Collins, turned into four feature films of the same names (the third book split into two parts).

Gail’s assessment: The main character, Katniss Everdeen, engages in a Heroine’s Journey that includes many tropes and archetypes endemic to the journey and to coming of age YA narratives. These include love triangles and themes of partnership, delegation, and redemption. The initial prompting for her actions is the threatened removal of her sister, Primrose.

Iliad poem. Ancient Greek epic poem attributed to Homer, set during the Trojan War.

Gail’s note: Features the ultimate emo hero Achilles and his BFF/lover/foil Patroclus.

James Bond character. (1953 ongoing) Iconic example of a hero within the spy suspense genre, includes books, movies, radio plays, comics, TV shows, video games, and more. All of these focus on fictional British Secret Service agent James Bond, created by author Ian Fleming. Fleming wrote twelve Bond novels and two short-story collections. After his death (1964) eight other authors picked up the torch (or should I say, gun?). The Bond movies (of which there are 26) form the longest continually running film series in history.

Gail’s note: Bond is a classic, even archetypical, hero.

Jack Reacher character. (1997) Fictional character in thriller suspense books written by Lee Child, at a rate of approximately one per year since 1997. Main character is a former American military policeman who wanders (mostly) the United States taking odd jobs, investigating suspicious activities, and getting into danger. Adapted into two movies (2012, 2016) starring Tom Cruise.

Gail’s analysis: Wildly popular example of a hero on Heroic Journeys within the thriller genre, where he usually fits nicely.

Jeeves character. (1915–1974) Fictional character in a series of comedic novels and short stories by P. G. Wodehouse adapted to film and stage on multiple occasions. Has entered the cultural lexicon as a word used to mean butler or servant.

Gail’s thoughts: Jeeves is the brilliant, competent valet of wealthy, idle imbecile Bertie Wooster. He spends his time saving Wooster and his equally idiotic friends from a series of relationships and other scrapes. He is a perfect example of the wise servant archetype.

Law & Order TV series. (1990–2010) Police procedural meets legal drama TV series created by Dick Wolf that aired on NBC and ran for twenty seasons.

Gail’s analysis: Carries similar issues as other long-running procedurals like House M.D., ER, and CSI in terms of analysis of story journey (when there really isn’t one over the long haul), although we can spot hero and heroine archetypes at play.

The Lord of the Rings book. (1937) High fantasy novel in three volumes written (1937–1949) by J. R. R. Tolkien, turned into movies (2001–2003) as three films: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003). One of the most popular books of its day. Tolkien is widely regarded as the father of high fantasy.

Gail’s thoughts: There is a lot of Tolkien analysis out there; this book/series is multiple-POV and complex, but comprises multiple heroes (and a few heroines) on various journeys, one of the hallmarks of broad-scope fantasy.

Leverage TV series. (2008–2012) Heist/caper drama TV series with a comedic bent.

Gail’s feels: I adore this show. It follows a five-person antihero team and uses a Robin Hood narrative device. It’s multiple POVs but does have an underlying sort-of story that strongly indicates Heroine’s Journey.

Love, Simon movie. (2018) Romantic teen comedy-drama written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, and based on the YA book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (2015).

Gail’s thoughts: Good example of a well-executed Heroine’s Journey in a modern setting with standard teen romance tropes in play.

Men in Black movie. (1997) Science-fiction buddy cop comedy film written by Ed Solomon. Titular characters are tasked with supervising extraterrestrial life on Earth, based on a comic book series of the same name, but which had a much different tone.

Gail’s thoughts: Iconic combination of science fiction and buddy comedy featuring one hero and one heroine on a Heroine’s Journey chassis.

Sherlock Holmes character. (1887) The titular character of many books, movies, and TV shows. Arguably the world’s best-known fictional detective. Invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, first appearing in print in 1887. Doyle is often talked of as the father of cozy mysteries, with Agatha Christie as the mother.

Gail’s analysis: Most Holmes mysteries are told by his roommate Watson using a frame narrative technique and activating the explanatory sidekick plot device.

Spider-Man character. (1962) Superhero character from Marvel Comics created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962). He’s had a number of movies, television shows, and video game adaptations.

Gail’s thoughts: Possibly the primary example of a YA coming-of-age narrative in the comic book world.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie. (2018) Animated superhero film featuring the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man.

Gail’s thoughts: Typical example of a coming-of-age Hero’s Journey YA narrative (AKA the action version of the emotional, psychological, and moral journey undertaken in most Bildungsroman). Includes multiple friend/mentor characters, evil uncle, violent victory in one-on-one combat, and results in typical messages of finding inner strength and the burden of adult responsibility.

Star Trek: The Original Series TV series. (1966–1967) Science fiction TV series created by Gene Roddenberry.

Gail’s analysis: Mainly a buddy comedy/drama only with one hero and two foils (Bones representing the feminine, and Spock the wise fool archetype). Series was canceled but also was distinctly episodic, so difficult to tell which journey was ultimately intended.

Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series. (1987–1994) Space opera TV series created by Gene Roddenberry and featuring an ensemble cast.

Gail’s thoughts: Egalitarian follow-up series to Star Trek: The Original Series with the captain as more of a delegating character. The TV series (at least) appears to be a Heroine’s Journey.

Star Wars movie. (1977) AKA Star Wars original or Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Science fiction film written and directed by George Lucas, and the first film in the original Star Wars trilogy, followed by The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

Gail’s note: Widely known as an intentional representation of the Hero’s Journey.

Star Wars prequel movie. (1999) AKA Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Science fiction film written and directed by George Lucas, and the first film in the second Star Wars trilogy, followed by Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005).

Gail’s note: I honestly don’t have much to say about these except that, for various reasons, they are pretty roundly vilified.

Supergirl TV series. (2015 ongoing). Superhero TV series based on the DC Comic book character Supergirl (created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino) and set in the Arrowverse franchise.

Gail’s thoughts: As of this writing, the series still seems to be mainly a classic Heroine’s Journey.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book (2014) and movie (2018). Text refers to both the 2014 YA romance novel by Jenny Han and the 2018 film directed by Susan Johnson.

Gail’s analysis: A Heroine’s Journey and classic romantic teen comedy that employs many of the tropes and archetypes of the YA romance genre: fake boyfriend, secret crush, miscommunication and reconciliation, complicated family dynamics, dead parent, public humiliation, self-discovery, and coming of age.

The Twilight Saga movie franchise and book series. (2005) Text refers to the four romantic fantasy YA novels by Stephenie Meyer (2005–2008) and the five adapted films from Summit Entertainment (2009–2012). The individual titles are Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn (this last was broken into two parts for the movies.)

Gail’s note: This franchise is a Heroine’s Journey and was hugely commercially successful.

Waiting to Exhale book and movie. (1992) Text refers to both the 1992 novel by Terry McMillan and the 1995 film directed by Forest Whitaker.

Gail’s note: Both book and film depict power in female friendships and platonic relationships as well as, and in some cases instead of, heterosexual romance. It’s a Heroine’s Journey.

Wolverine character. (1974) Fictional antihero superhero from Marvel Comics first appearing in print in 1974, created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and John Romita Sr. and drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe. Wolverine has appeared in animated TV series, video games, and films.

Gail’s thoughts: Possibly the best well-known iteration of a Byronic hero in modern times.

Wonder Woman movie. (2017) Superhero film from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg, based on the DC Comics character of the same name.

Gail’s note: One of the best recent examples of a classic Hero’s Journey.



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