The Not-So-Heroic Journey

Many people have blogged about Alice’s supposed Hero Journey, I would argue the opposite, not because I agree with the opposite point of view, but because no one has blogged about it.

First of all what is a hero?

By definition a hero or heroine is a man or woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities. By definition Alice is not a heroine.  She may go on the journey of that of hero or heroine, but she is not the definition of a hero. In my opinion she shows no courage or ability and is not admired, many people have blogged about her supposed Hero’s Journey and how they follow the steps of Joseph Campbell’s outline for a hero or heroine, but if she follows some of the steps of the journey doesn’t mean she’s a hero does it? Her answering the call of adventure doesn’t mean she’s a hero; she’s just answering the call to adventure. Maybe people consider Alice a hero because she’s the protagonist, but the protagonist is not always the hero.

In the book Alice is not a hero.  She does follow some of the steps of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey”, such as the call of adventure, but she is not a hero by definition. Also if there were a hero it would be Alice, but what she would be the Hero of her dream? Can people be the heroes of their own dream? Of course, they can be a super hero that saves people or a normal person that saves the world, but in her dream she saves nothing and does not show distinguished courage or ability and is not admired for her brave deeds or noble qualities.



  1. This is a good point. Indeed maybe Alice is not a heroine at all. After all, in some stories, the hero/heroine consists of several different characters who together make up that idea of “hero”. When Alice is running along through Wonderland it seems more as if she is our vessel, guiding us through wonderland. The true hero in this story is the reader. What the reader takes away and what they can do now that they have read this story is the outcome of this story. All novels are there to have an effect on the reader. Many times, a hero is placed in the story as what seems like a perfect character. However, the flaws shown show us that they are only “human”(or not). This relation to us portrays the ability and unlimited potential of the human,

  2. I agree. Alice is not a hero at all. What has she done that is “heroic”? She really has not helped anyone at all. There was no call to adventure, she just fell in a hole. Alice does not really change at all either. She just kinda messes around and enjoys herself and explores Wonderland. Not only is she she not a hero, but I would not call her journey a hero’s journey either. I guess if you really wanted to, you could call Alice’s journey one of a hero, but that would be a stretch. There is a difference between a hero, and someone on a hero’s journey. Maybe she would like to think of herslef as a hero in her dream, but not in reality.

  3. Adam, I have to say I agree and disagree with your post. I agree with the fact that Alice does not do anything overly heroic in the story. I also agree with the fact that Alice does not follow the Hero’s Journey exactly. The part I disagree with is the part where you say that Alice is not a heroine. She doesn’t have the flashiness of Superman but that doesn’t exactly disqualify her of being a hero. She does have courage when she stands up to the Queen of Hearts and when she testifies in court. That being said, I do see your point. You present very good arguments for why Alice is not a hero.

  4. I believe Alice is a heroine to a certain point. I beg to differ in a portion of your ast sentence “but in her dream she saves nothing and does not show distinguished courage or ability and is not admired for her brave deeds or noble qualities.” In Chapter 9 Alice saves the 3 characters in the shape of spade playing cards which represent the gardeners in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland by hiding them in a flower pot and distracting her from making sure the gardeners were not decapitated by going and playing croquet with her. Of course you could argue that she was forced to play croquet with them because she is afraid of the queen but that would be a hard argument to argue on your behalf because 1) thought the queen is intimidating Alice shows no sign of fear and 2) i believe she only went to go play croquet with her to impede the number of death sentences she ordered on whatever creatures she crosses. To support my number one counter argument when the queen 1st meets Alice she refuses to bow and instead she makes the queen mad. Now would you make someone your terrified of mad? I know I wouldn’t. As for the general question is Alice a hero? i believe to a certain degree. Even though it was just a dream she did show signs of courage by standing up to the queen and protecting the Gardner. Of course she is no superman but she is a hero of her own kind.

  5. I agree with you on the fact that Alice is not a hero. However, as I look at it, Campbell’s point on Hero’s Journey is the journey taken by the protagonist. Again, as I see it, primarily the hero of a story is really just our hero of the story, the person’s side we’re on. This may or may not even be able to be true, but that’s just my view on it. She is the protagonist and she does follow the steps of the journey. To elaborate, I see the Hero’s Journey as really just the steps a story takes throughout it’s duration. Again, I could be wrong.

  6. You’re absolutely right, there’s a difference between a hero’s journey and being heroic. The hero’s journey really only requires that the protagonist experience some sort of change. Heroism is not required.

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