Mabel Pines and the Heroine's Journey
So I took a seminar on Hero and Heroine journeys this past semester, and it’s impossible to miss these patterns in movies/TV/books once you’re aware of them, including Gravity Falls.
And with the wonderful growth we’ve seen with Mabel’s character during the second season, I decided to make a post documenting her journey.
Please take a look, I’m quite happy with how this turned out!
Note: The difference between a hero/masculine journey and a heroine/feminine journey is not the gender of the character. Rather, the feminine journeys deal with overcoming fears and struggles from within, whereas the masculine journeys have more to do with defeating physical or outward obstacles.
Male protagonists can undergo a heroine’s journey, female protagonists can undergo a hero’s journey, and one character could very well have both within the span of a single story (think Disney’s Mulan).
There are various heroine journey models, but I’m using the Feminine Journey outlined by Victoria Schmidt, since I believe it fits Mabel best. This journey has three acts and nine stages
Act I - Containment
1. Illusion of a Perfect World
Description: “The heroine lives in a glass bubble, a world of innocence, believing she is safe and can’t be touched.”
From the first episode of the series, it’s clear that as opposed to Dipper, Mabel’s only mission this summer is to be a kid and have fun.
She’s carefree and in no rush for her vacation to be over, but nor does she fear the future at this point, because she’s an optimist by nature and has a childlike, predetermined notion of how perfect her future will be.
2. The Betrayal or Realization
Description: “An event occurs, one that shatters her glass bubble, leaving her exposed, in danger and/or aware of the imperfections in her world.”
I would argue that this stage occurs at the end of A Tale of Two Stans.
After learning the Stan twins’ backstory and seeing the similarity between the older set of Pines and she and her brother, Mabel expresses concern over drifting apart the same way they did. While Dipper dismisses her worries as unfounded, Mabel has become aware that the future is not always so certain, and this disillusionment plagues her with doubt.
(Putting the rest under the cut)