Jane Eyre's Sisters
How Women Live and Write the Heroine Story
by Jody Gentian Bower
"Jody Bower shows us that only when women identify the heroine in themselves can they unveil their authenticity and live as they truly are." ~Sheila Bender, Founder of WritingItReal.com
In Jane Eyre's Sisters, cultural mythologist Jody Gentian Bower looks at novels by women -- and some men -- as well as biographies of women that tell the story of the Aletis, the wandering heroine.
"Some have criticized the word heroine...implying that a heroine is not the equal of a hero but a smaller, less impressive character. Their bravery is of a different kind. But that doesn't mean it is any less impressive."
“Finally! We who have been seeking the feminine counterpart to the masculine hero story have reason to rejoice.” -- Jean Benedict Raffa, author of The Bridge to Wholeness, Dream Theatres of the Soul, and Healing the Sacred Divide
"People instinctively feel that the story of a woman who has to go on a journey to find out how to live as her real self in a society that wants to deny her individuality is a true story, a story they can relate to. In fact, not just women but men tell me it is their story."
Learn more about this esteemed cultural mythologist and author, and check out her blog, Myths and Archetypes in Film.
"Would you call yourself an Aletis? Why? Do you know other people who could be called an Aletis?"
As I read this insightful text, transformative for both women and men, I couldn’t help but remember the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, “all who wander are not lost.” Bower’s text, describing the journey of the heroine, often occurring despite the opposition of powerful male figures and society as a whole, gives witness to a vision of growth that is non-linear, often meandering, and with no clear or final destination.
Bower draws on literature, mythology, and psychology in an attempt to answer the question, “why do some women seek out the goddess in the cave, while others go looking for the witch in the forest?”, and I found the exploration and examples fascinating.
The book is full of declarations like, “The line between those who think women are just there to be used and those who think women must always be ‘useful’ is a hair’s thickness wide.” Right on, sister.
While I have never identified with the Hero’s journey, the women that Bower writes about immediately sprang up from the page for me. Having grown up with this story of the Aletis heroine, reading it again and again, I find that I place a great deal of value in it.