Moana, Dorothy, and Rey: The heroine’s journey models how girls can thrive during adolescence

The stories of fictional characters like Moana, Rey, and the Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy can help your daughter reframe her adolescent challenges as a normal part of her heroine’s journey and to relax and enjoy the process. The heroine or heroes’ journey is a narrative pattern found in many of the most well-known fairy tales and stories of all time. Every adolescent girl must embark on this journey to discover new depths of courage, strength, hope, and resolve within herself that she can draw upon to overcome the challenges of growing up. Your daughter is no different.

The heroine’s journey

Great story characters like Moana, Katniss from the Hunger Games, Frodo from the Lord of the Rings, Cinderella, Rey from Star Wars, and Hermione and Harry Potter all find themselves thrust into the heroes/heroine’s journey. It begins with a call from an ordinary life that is often boring, unhappy, unfulfilling, or bleak into a life of adventure. Our heroines usually meet a mentor who guides and encourages them on their quest. Mentors like Moana’s grandmother, Professor Dumbledore for Harry Potter, the good witch Glinda for Dorothy, Gandalf for Frodo and Bilbo, Princess Lea and Hans Solo for Rey, Haymitch and Cinna for Katniss all saw more in our heroines before they could see it in themselves. That’s the beauty of a good mentor. 

After embarking on the journey, the heroine will undoubtedly face uncertainty, become afraid, and begin to doubt her ability to carry out her quest.  Fictional young heroines must confront their deepest fears and face a series of dangerous encounters in order to gain the strength and resources to face the adult world. Moana must sail out to sea, Frodo must leave the comforts of the Shire, and Dorothy must leave Kansas to achieve their growth.

The journey of rey in Star Wars The Force Awakens

I love the character Rey in the latest Star Wars episodes (The Force Awakens). She goes from a lost child who simply wants her parents back to a Jedi and one of the leaders of the Resistance. She transcends a childhood filled with many hardships and loneliness. Most importantly, Rey must reframe her beliefs that she has no place she belongs and embrace her strengths and her dark side. She progressively owns her power and also creates a family she can rely on. Your daughter must also go through this journey of self-discovery to prepare herself for adulthood. 

The heroine’s journey of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, girls must pull back the curtain of her limiting beliefs and conditioning and look inward to find her power and innermost resources. Dorothy’s journey down the yellow brick road allowed her to integrate her intuition and wisdom (Scarecrow), compassion (Tin Man), courage to face her fears (Lion), spirituality (Glinda), her shadow side (Wicked Witch), and her inner knowing (Wizard). Your daughter must learn to get quiet and go inward to find her own truth and strength. She must learn to stop giving away her power just as Dorothy learned to hold onto her ruby slippers. And like Dorothy, girls must become aware that they have the power to realize their own heart’s desire. 

Your daughter’s journey through adolescence

Fairy tales and fictional stories are a great vehicle to understand the trials and tribulations of both the story’s characters as well as your own. Girl’s feelings of discontent, restlessness, emptiness, uncertainty, anxiety and despair can be normalized in the context of the heroine’s journey. Support her in finding mentors who can offer guidance and encouragement. Help her find passions and friends she can hold onto to get her through the tough times. Like these heroines, your daughter can learn to master her emotions, face her fears, overcome challenges, and ultimately find and embrace the parts of herself that yearn to be expressed.


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