When the Moon Rises
: Mapping the Mystic Quest of a Heroine, a Novel and Commentary

  • Nadia Salem

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This dissertation is comprised of a novel, When the Moon Rises, and a critical commentary, 'Mapping the Mythic Quest of a Heroine', the objective of which is to reveal the heroine's journey in story, as applied and in theory. When the Moon Rises is a multicultural work of literary fiction exploring a second-generation, American-Palestinian heroine's journey toward middle age in the context of a marriage beset with infertility. The protagonist, Sara Lukeman, is a successful attorney with everything except the one thing she wants more than air, not simply to quench her maternal instincts but mostly to appease the childhood trauma that followed her from Jerusalem. When azoospermia threatens her chance at motherhood, she will have to choose whether she will risk her marriage to save her dream. Can she give up her soulmate for the hope of a child? In deciding, she undergoes a journey of introspection and transformative healing that begins with a separation from motherhood and ends with union and bliss. The accompanying critical commentary investigates the limitations of the hero's journey, as described by Joseph-Campbell and applied to heroines. returning to the Jungian underpinnings of the monomyth and relying on Maureen Murdock's The Heroine's Journey, the commentary reviews Jungian psychology and proposes a heroine's journey in ten steps that is analyzed against the Greek myth, Amor and Psyche, Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre, James Cameron's film, Titanic, and the subject novel of the thesis, When the Moon Rises, to establish that there is a timeless, mythic quest of transformation that's wholly feminine and equally adaptable to story.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorJacqueline Yallop (Supervisor)

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