Shadow World, Shadow Self: The Heroine’s Journey in Mirrormask

When Helena’s mother falls ill, Helena descends into the shadow world to wake the sleeping queen and restore her world. But when she does, she discovers the princess—shadowHelena—has gone to earth and taken her place. Shadow Helena fights with her father, rages and storms. She’s the dark, angry side of Helena, the side she usually keeps buried beneath the paper-covered walls of her room.

More than simply the inverse of the heroine, this shadow has hidden positive qualities as well, often strong and assertive where the heroine is silent and passive. In her battle to achieve a higher consciousness, the heroine pits herself against this shadow, and must integrate it into the self.

In the Otherworld,Helenatries on the shadow princess identity like a costume. What would it be like to look mature and glamorous, to sit at a stately table and be a perfect daughter? Through windows and mirrors the rebellious princess rages, screaming for attention and independence as she battles through adolescence. And yet, the rage and power she has evoked are too strong within her and she can’t figure out how to fight through it, to return to the sunny Helena the juggler she once was.

At last,Helena harnesses the power of the mirrormask—a tool that both lets her perceive the world and show the world the face she wants to reveal. Using it she climbs out of the darkness and reclaims her place from her bratty, miserable self before the world of pen and paper, of imagination, creativity, and beauty is lost forever. Here is the heroine’s classic journey.

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Filed under Heroine's Journey, Pop Culture, Young Adult Fantasy

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