Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roots in the Past - America's First Action Heroine (1767) may think that my obsession with action heroines is just limited to my geekosphere, movies, video games, and comics. Wrong! I take it all the way into the classrooms of my graduate school experience. During an Early American Literature studies class this semester, we read a book from 1767 titled, "The Female American". I was shocked to see just exactly how closely her fictional life followed that of so many other contemporary action heroines...

She was orphaned. Just like Princess Leia, Marion Ravenwood, Lara Croft, and many others who are even symbolically orphaned, such as Leeloo from, "The Fifth Element". She also had the same kind of isolated experience that so many action heroines do. After all, you can't just grow up a regular gal and magically become super one day. No, often the origin stories of action heroines involve long periods of painful isolation or rejection from society. As in the case with the majority of the X-Men.

Why is it that the majority of action heroines come from these broken or traumatic backgrounds? Well, I may have formed a working theory on this one kids. It's not fully developed yet, after all, Batman was orphaned it can't be 100% gender specific. But there are very close ties from our modern mythical women of strength to our early days as colonists?

I haven't even touched yet on the trends of other women in Early American Lit. Cora from, "Last of the Mohicans", Pocahontas (in her real and fictional form), and Hope Leslie and Magawisca of the book, "Hope Leslie". Then there's the captivity narratives of Mary Rowlandson and Elizabeth Hansen, violent and bloody tales of racism and retribution. Take my word for it, there's a trend, a common thread running through all of these people and characters that shows up in our cineplexes and video games. But where can we begin to better understand these connections? Why should we even bother?

Well...that's why I wrote this...have a read and see if you agree with me. I'm open to any and all questions!


Note: The Picture above is the cover of the book, not an actual photo of Unca Eliza. There are only engravings from some original versions of the book, illustrations, as Unca Eliza is a fictional character.

No comments:

Post a Comment