A Hero’s Journey

Part 1: The Ideal Person, Disney Style

Disney was founded in 1923, and it is safe to say that most people living at this very moment has been exposed to the stories and characters of this company. As of 2020, there are around 12 parks, 165 movies, 800 characters, with many more to come. But what makes us so intrigued by their movies? Why is it that we remember the fry-pan scene from Tangled, the magic carpet from Alladin and Hakuna Matata from the Lion King? We have all seen references to these movies scattered on the internet, in the form of memes, twisted tales, and art, but we fail to analyze the reason why. How come my mother still gets excited when we play the 1950’s version of Beauty and the Beast? Why does my heart flutter at the mention of a glass slipper, remembering my dreams of being a princess? Disney has taken over the lives of not only children but also the rest of humanity.

Disney movies often have cliche happy endings, and it is assumed to be because of child-friendliness. But aren’t many myths from our past similar to that of Disney’s? In the case of Hercules, his step-mother, Hera, put him in a state of madness and made him kill his family. Hercules wished to be freed of his sin and went through twelve famous labors to be free and immortal. These were impossible tasks, like killing the Nemean lion, Hydra, and Ermanthean boar. He had many mentors in his path that helped him, and he proved those impossible tasks to be easy. What hero’s can accomplish are done because they live in a world where will win no matter how tough the challenge.

Disney movies and ancient myths are an ideal version of reality. They give us some hope in this dire world, that if we work hard enough, steadfast to all hardship, and have good virtues, then our lives will be well-lived. Showing these movies to kids instills these values into adulthood.

Or does it?

Is it true that hard work is enough for success? That everything comes to us in life in a gold platter if we are on the nice list? If virtue is directly proportional to success, then some of the people in positions of power should be stripped of their status. They are the villains in Disney movies, shown as being powerful, but in the end, they are always defeated because of their vulnerabilities. In the real world, however, sometimes those with unlimited power can hide their deceptive nature with an illusion of virtue, and never be caught.  

We are all heroes and we are all villains, but Disney movies make is yearn to be the former. Living in these ideals is often met with shock when the reality is found to be a stark contrast. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with having the “glass-slipper mentality”, but it is important to remember that the stepmother can sometimes win in this world.  

PART 2: A Twisted Tale


This is a twist on the popular Disney movie, Moana. In the happy, child-friendly version, Moana is courageous and explores the unknown and uncharted sea. She meets Maui, and defeats many monsters and saves the day.
But that is no fun, for it is the sad endings always leave us in deep contemplation, feeling for the character’s loss and hardship. What if Moana went out to sea on a quest to reach the horizon, finding out that it is something that can never be attained? What if she becomes weary and old, and wishes that she had listened to her adults and lived a life of certainty on the island? These happy Disney movies make us forget that a hero’s journey is not always as easy as it seems. Sometimes, no matter how hard an individual perseveres in life, they will always remain stagnant in their pursuit and become frustrated and dejected. It is at times like this that they wish they can go back in time and beg their past self to act in a way that will not hurt them in the future. But a young mind is a stubborn mind and, sometimes, their fate can’t be altered, foreshadowing a life of sacrifice. But if Disney produces a movie like that, there will be crying children in theaters across the world, so I will share my cynical point of view among narcissistic teenagers like me who absolutely adore the fact that I just destroyed their childhood by wrecking such a cute movie 🙂


Young: This is the Moana that we see in the movie. She is bright and innocent and believes that pursuing a path decided by her heart is more appealing than thinking about problems realistically. Although the older version of her strives to change her point of view, she is too busy thinking about her dream to reach the horizon.
Old: Experienced and frustrated. She has been floating in the sea, with no one but the saltwater around her, and, tries to talk her past self out of her ambitions. In the end, she realizes that she will continue living this fate because her past self is too enthralled by the prospect of an uncertain, undiscovered future.


In some of the lines, the end of one is overlapped with the beginning of the other. In this case, the actors say the words together. This is also a famous song, so it is important to forget the tune of the words, and have more feeling. If not, then it seems choppy, since the Old’s lines are not meant to be sung. The lines from “How Far I’ll Go” sung by Auli’i Cravalho are in purple.


(Young and old on opposite sides of the stage)

Young: I’ve been staring at the edge of the

Old: the water was a place where I would admire the line where the shore meets the sea. And for as

Young: as ‘Long as I can remember, never really knowing

Old: knowing why that when I step on the wet sand, did the water come and wash it away. My footprint was firm and deep, and the strength of the waves trashed down and it-it made me step further in, desiring its strength and

Young: I wish I-I could be the perfect daughter

Old: You’re my daughter, the land said, and my heart was still tied up in the umbilical cords of her womb even though I was a grown child, and it should have been severed a long time ago… I remember her feeding me dirt, and I would gag at the taste of mud. I loved her so much but

Young: But I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try

Old: So clean and refreshing, but I was deceived. The water is a lonely place, and after all these years of salt and waves, I long for the stillness of land. Wrinkles cover my bark, and my roots long for the security of soil. And if I could go back, and warn myself that my dream was never to be achieved… the horizon was once beautiful to me but now

(They turn, walking closer, and the following lines are said in unison)
Young: Every turn I take,
Old: Every time I wake.

Young: every trail I track
Old: all I see is black

Young: every path I make,
Old: the wrath of the sea

Young: every road leads back
Old: suffocates and attacks.

Young: To the place I know,
Old: My face had a glow

Young: where I can not go
Old: A young soul soon to grow,

Young: (angry) Where I long to be.
Old: (begging) Please listen to me.

(In the next lines, Old is reminiscing about her past ideals)
Young: See the line where the sky meets the sea it calls me

Old: The horizon called me every sunrise. A line so bright that I cannot see it but must believe that is there waiting for me, and

Young: And no one knows, how far it goes

Old: It goes on and on and on and I stopped keeping track after a while. (sad laugh) The days become years, and every sunrise and sunset I look forward and see that the horizon is just as far as it was before. I can’t measure the horizon even if

Young: If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me

Old: Behind me, I see the shore that I left in my youth. I see the land, with her back turned to me. But I cut my trunk off my roots and carved a boat out of my body, on a quest to find something…? (intense) I scraped my skin off of my flesh and used it like a sail, and expected to be happy, that one day

Young: One day I’ll know,

(Old talking directly to her)

Old: I know now, please listen to me,

Young: if I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go

(the next likes are said in unison)

Old: I’ll go to the past and change, I promise! I need to change… please let me change, I – I can’t keep living like this anymore. (crouches down in sadness)
Young: (loud and then softens) Oh oh oh, oh, oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh

Young: (comforting Old) I know, everybody on this island seems so happy on this island

Old: On this island, you will find peace, everything

Young: Everything is by design

Old: (hopeful) The security of the trees, the after taste of coconut water, I know

Young: I know, everybody on this island has a role on this island

Both: So maybe I can roll with mine

Young: I can lead with pride,

Old: I can make us strong

Both: I’ll be satisfied if I play along

Young: But the voice inside sings a different song

(The next lines are said in unison)

Old: (shocked) What is wrong with me?
Young: Will you come with me?

Old: See the light as it shines on the sea it’s blinding

(Young is trying to convince Old)
Young: But that is what makes it so beautiful, don’t you understand?

Old: But no one knows, how deep it goes

Young: I would drown if I need to follow my heart. The horizon is just there, and I can touch it and it seems like it’s calling out to me,

Old: So come find me! I am lost at sea, drifting between the shore and the horizon, so, so lonely, and tell you of all my sorrows and

Young: And let me know, what’s beyond that line,

Old: I don’t know.

Young: will I cross that line?

Old: You will never.

Young: (oblivious and laughing) See the line where the sky meets the sea it calls me

Old: There is NO horizon to reach.
 At the center of the ocean,
my heart aches for a beach,
freshwater surrounding me,
and the tickle of the grass beneath my feet. (grief)

Young: And no one knows, how far it goes


Young: If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me.

Old: The wind will tear your hair out,
and yell in your ears,
make the hairs on your arms
stand straight in fear.
The wind has malice,
No mercy in its eyes
Stay on land
Look past its disguise.

Young: (decided) One day I’ll know, how far I’ll go. (Exits)

Old: (sees that Young will never understand) Only if I knew how far I’d go…

Featured Image → https://www.indiewire.com/2017/02/moana-disney-lin-manuel-miranda-how-far-ill-go-1201783377/


6 thoughts on “A Hero’s Journey

  1. Dear Nazeefa,

    DANG! THIS WAS AMAZING! I think this is my new favourite piece from you! I loved how you used the song and made it more sinister and realistic and just adding your own personal flair to it! I liked the overlap idea too which I think is really cool and very smartly done! I also really liked how you kept with the rhyming and it sounded so natural so great job on that! One thing is, I read this on the dashboard of the writers 10 blog so I could clearly see the purple lines but on your blog, it’s a little bit harder to see (but at the same time that could just be a me problem). So I suggest just underlining or bolding the text which is purple just in case but if it seems fine to you it’s probably just my eyes are weird. Other than that I loved this and I have no suggestions for you!

    Simran C.

    1. Simran,
      THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am really glad that you like it. The idea of a hero and villain has always been something twisting and turning in my head, and I tried to put it into words today. I will change the color to red maybe so it can be seen better. I noticed that problem too.
      Once again, thank you so much for commenting!

  2. Dear Nazeefa,

    Wow! You honestly never fail to keep surprising me with the creativity of your posts and how much of your heart you put into pieces like this. I LOVE this song, but lets just keep that between us. The way you had the more matured perspective nuanced with a more innocent one shows a huge contrast and seems like such an interesting idea to play around with. What I really liked was what you wrote before the song lyrics even began when you said “the stepmother can sometimes win in this world”, which holds so much truth. The typical stereotype of what a ‘hero’ should entail is sometimes deeply misunderstood, as for me, heroes are the people that live according to who they are. Heroes are people who don’t see the world through rose- coloured glasses but don’t look at it in the negative either; they are simply hopeful in times of adversity and take action despite fear.

    To improve, I didn’t really have anything for you because both the content and structure of this piece are beautifully cohesive.

    All in all, Nazeefa I know your grade 12 year is gonna be a great one, and although I won’t be there to watch your growth, I wish you all the best!


    1. Abhay,
      I thank you for your kind words. Coming from you, I know it holds weight. You constantly are an inspiration to me and the fact that you go all “goo goo gah gah” over a Disney song is just more proof of the matter. Are you going to catch a grenade for Moana, ABHAY? A minor! You surprise me every time (I hope you know that this is not a joke).
      I agree with your definition of a hero. This “ideal person” we all subscribe to will not stand a chance in our world because the odds aren’t in their favor. Take Hamlet, for example: he claims to be a moral and virtuous person (which he is) but dies due to the corruption of others.
      I hopefully will continue my growth into next year, and I pray that you get married to Moana. Best wishes for you and your future wife!
      P.S. I thought you would go for Maui instead. I’m disappointed.

  3. Dear Nazeefa ,

    This is incredibly creative and the nuance of what truly makes a hero was thoroughly fleshed out in your piece. The idea of using this existing character we all know and love. (Well at least I love XD) and then twisting it around by having the two perspectives was really clever. I appreciate that you acknowledge both sides of life. To me at least hopefulness and realism are not black and white, rather they co-exist and both must be given due acknowledgment.

    The song mixed with you’re own writing was also very beautiful and really flowed well. It’s clear spoken word has enhanced you’re other pieces as well.

    – Reegan =)

    1. Dear Reegan,
      Thank you so much. I am happy that you liked my idea, because I thought it was very important for me to voice. We all know and love these character’s but we need to distinguish their successes from what is possible in this world.
      I love how you defined hopefulness and realism, because it is true. Seeing the world as good and bad is a very child-like way of seeing things. One will live a life of greatness if they can balance the both as a spectrum.
      I look forward to your comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *