Date of Award

Spring 5-28-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Jeffrey Overstreet, MFA

Second Advisor/Committee Member

April Middeljans, PhD


strong female character, literature, film, fantasy


This project is twofold. The first section analyzes six female fantasy characters in their literary and filmic incarnations—Dorothy Gale (The Wizard of Oz), Susan Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), Arwen Evenstar (The Lord of the Rings), Princess Buttercup (The Princess Bride), Hermione Granger (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), and Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief)—noting adaptational changes made to each and placing the twelve incarnations in conversation with each other. This conversation centers around the concept of the “strong female character,” and this study attempts to define the qualifications of a true “strong female character,” distinguished from a “hyper-strong” stereotype, and show how each of these twelve incarnations meets or fails to meet those qualifications. The second section is an excerpt from my novel-in-progress Ogelzetrap, followed by analysis of my female characters and how I’ve crafted them to avoid pitfalls of harmful literary and cinematic norms.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.