I need a montage
February 25, 2014 6:58 AM Subscribe
I'm looking for fairy tales, myths, and similarly imaginative stories where the heroine or hero triumphs because of their perseverance or dedication to developing a skill, not because of an inherent personal characteristic or being "the chosen one."
posted by fast ein Maedchen to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in a very unglamorous phase of (hopefully eventually) becoming a skilled artist; the phase where you are really trying to get good at something but you are painfully aware of how short your efforts fall, every little skill increase takes a gargantuan amount of effort, progress is being made but often in a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of way, failure and rejection are all over the place, and (while you are privileged/lucky enough to not actually be a starving artist) you are sure not making any money from what you hope will be your profession someday.
It turns out that a lot of the stories I've felt inspired by in the past contain a "chosen one" sort of narrative: the young heroine (or hero) succeeds because they are a special kind of person, from birth, who is pure at heart enough to disperse whatever obstacles come their way. This story is definitely not working for me anymore.
So, I'm looking for stories whose heroines succeed because of their diligence, perseverance, and grind-y skill developing, not because they are INHERENTLY GOOD AND/OR CHOSEN FROM BIRTH TO BE THE SPECIAL ONE. (Heroes are okay too.) I'm interested in fairy tales, myths, and other stories with mythic resonance; not real-life examples.
A few things sort of along the lines of what I'm looking for: the basic martial arts fantasy of going and training in the mountains for 20 years before becoming a skills master. (Though specific examples of this would be great!) Lyra Belacqua of His Dark Materials needing to re-learn how to read the alethiometer at the end of The Amber Spyglass. And...that's kind of all I got right now.