Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey

Vampire Slayer as Feminine Chosen One

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About the Book

The worlds of Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and other modern epics feature the Chosen One—an adolescent boy who defeats the Dark Lord and battles the sorrows of the world. Television’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer represents a different kind of epic—the heroine’s journey, not the hero’s.
This provocative study explores how Buffy blends 1990s girl power and the path of the warrior woman with the oldest of mythic traditions. It chronicles her descent into death and subsequent return like the great goddesses of antiquity. As she sacrifices her life for the helpless, Buffy experiences the classic heroine’s quest, ascending to protector and queen in this timeless metaphor for growing into adulthood.

About the Author(s)

Valerie Estelle Frankel, storyteller and novelist, teaches English at Mission College. The author of 50 popular culture books and more than 100 stories and essays, she lives in Sunnyvale, California.

Bibliographic Details

Valerie Estelle Frankel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 5 tables, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6792-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8943-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix

Introduction      1

1. The Hero’s and Heroine’s Journey      5

2. Departing the Ordinary World—The Film      13

3. Refusing the Call, Accepting the Call      26

4. Allies and Enemies      42

5. Angel/Angelus      62

6. Embracing the Shadow: Faith      76

7. The Rewards of Growing Up      93

8. Terrible Mother, Powerless Father      99

9. More Allies, More Enemies      110

10. Lover/Beast      125

11. The Powerful Feminine      145

12. Season Six and the Pain of Return      163

13. Leading the Next Generation      177

14. Downfall in Season Eight      189

Conclusion      204

Appendix I: Archetypes      205

Appendix II: Episode List, by Season      207

Bibliography      209

Index      215

Book Reviews & Awards

“analyzes events in each season of Buffy, to demonstrate how the series combines contemporary female teenage life with aspects of classic mythic traditions as Buffy moves through each stage of her heroine journey”—Reference & Research Book News; “a must-read…fantastic…the meticulous research and knowledge of Buffy are very obvious”—Poetic License; “for the viewer who wants a wise guide back through the darker inner circles of the Buffyverse, this book is an admirable Virgil”—Mythlore; “Frankel skillfully interweaves her knowledge of fairy tales and folklore, archetypal criticism, and psychoanalysis to reveal how the adventures of Buffy Summers, the heroine…embody the various stages of the heroine’s journey. Building on her expertise on the heroine’s journey, Frankel shines in her discussion of Buffy as epic…maintains an air of sophistication, supported by solid research, that scholars expect in a critical text…will surely earn a place on your own shelf”—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.