Maximum “Max” Ride is a not your average teenage girl. On the surface, she may act and appear as such, but she is much, much more. She is also a half bird half human genetic hybrid, one of six in her family. Her family consists of Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel. With the exception of Gazzy and Angel, none of them were actually related, but were all raised in captivity as lab experiments conducted by sadistic scientists at “The School”. After years and years of living in a dog crate and being experimented on their whole lives, they were able to escape with the help of a scientist named Jeb Batchelder. For a few years Jeb Took care of them, but for the past five years Max has taken on the role of leader. The reason that I have chosen for my blog post is that I believe that she is one of the most heroic figures out there. She is incredibly selfless and cares deeply for her family often at her own peril. She would gladly give her life for any member of her family, and also for humanity as a whole. Peter Barry introduces some interesting cultural framework revolving around women’s roles in the heroic story arch. Two that I would like to focus on are Feminist Criticism and Post-humanism.
Feminist Criticism is all about how women are portrayed in literature and other medias as less relevant to their male counterparts. This is referred to as the male gaze, and can be seen everywhere in all forms of media and also in the real outside world. Max, however, has broken through all barriers set in place by gender stereotypes that we see elsewhere and becomes the leader and has earned the respect of both her family (which consists of three strong male characters) and also the respect of the adults and kids that she meets along her journey. Max shows many times throughout the series that she is just as, if not more powerful than the many of the male characters she encounters. She does not solely deserve her rank as the leader with strength alone. She is incredibly smart and cunning, and also takes great care of all her family members as if they are her own flesh and blood. Max also carries herself in a way the commands respect from those around her, and even though she is just a teenager throughout the series, she earns the respect of many important adults who normally wouldn’t have given her a second look. Some of which are prominent business men and women, and also high ranking members of the US Military, and also influential people from within the United States political system. Max is not without strength though, but it is the combination of her cunning nature and strategic mind with her physical straights that round her out as a hero by definition of the classic hero who are masters of both mind and body and are built of good heart that reflects their actions.
Post-Humanism is another framework that has a strong influence in Max and her family. Post-Humanism refers to the idea of a post-human or beyond human form, the next step in human evolution. Evolution is a massive topic in this book series being that Max and her family are all genetic hybrids that were created as a new and improved human race. Max and her family are literal examples of post-human beings. On top of the obvious reasons why this applies, the series dives into the mental and emotional effects that come with post-humanism. It tells a story of how kids who are different from everyone except each other and how that have an enormous impact on the mental and physical health of people.