Scott Pilgrim is a series of graphic stories by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Later adopted into a Movie, ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World). The series is about Canadian Scott Pilgrim, a slacker and part-time musician who lives in Toronto and plays bass guitar in a band. He falls in love with American delivery girl Ramona Flowers, but must defeat her seven evil exes in order to date her.
Ramona Flowers is a 24 year old Amazon.ca delivery girl recently living in Toronto, Canada. She reveals very little and is very guarded about her past in New York before she moved to Toronto. However, she quickly becomes the love interest of the titular character, Scott Pilgrim. She is capable of traveling through Subspace (Its like a weird highway through people’s minds, “it’s a long story”) and has seven evil exes who challenge Scott for her affection. Nearing the confrontation with the final, most imposing of the the seven evil X’s, Gideon Graves, Ramona begins to break away from Scott in a very sudden fashion, leaving him fro Gideon. Four months after, Scott goes to confront both Ramona and Gideon, hoping to find out the reasoning for Ramona’s sudden disappearance. Although seeming to merely be playing the damsel in distress/ the reward for the main hero’s journey, Ramona’s struggles and internal conflicts throughout the series are an entire journey on their own.
As of late, young heroine’s journeys have had a trend of being much more internally focused as compared to that of male heroes. In terms of Ramona, her journey is the struggle of overcoming her fear of commitment and borderline addiction to change, coming to terms with her past by finding a sense of inner happiness and control of her life. Ramona has always been an enigmatic and charismatic presence throughout the series, but nothing is revealed about the things she believes in other than the fact she is very willing to simply go with change, often changing her style (and in some instances, location as prevalent in the beginning of the novel). As best described by Ramona herself, Ramona always felt the need for change, fearing a stagnant life. She states this in a scene near the end of the novel, having a very meaningful and deep discussion with Scott now that the situation with the 7 evil X’s is settled and done (See below):
Before breaking free of Gideon’s mind control (more on that in the next section), Ramona had a bad habit of hanging her happiness on those around her. She would focus on one person in her life at a time, Scott at this point, and hand them the responsibility for her happiness. It meant a lot of stress for both parties, often pushing Ramona to feel she needs the major change in her life once more. This reliance on another is most prevalent in the fact that Scott alone must be the one to take the burden of fighting against her evil ex’s, only to step in once to fight when Scott refused to punch Ramona’s ex girlfriend (It was a phase). When Ramona looks back at her time with each X and the changes she’s made between them, it’s as if she sees them as emotional clutter, preferring to just move on in life and forget about it, only to change and forget again.
“Things do not change; we change.” – Henry David Thoreau
Only from freeing herself of Gideon (getting to that very soon I promise) does Ramona finish her internal journey of self and begin to embrace her past rather than abandoning it. She begins to look at each prior “self” she has left behind and decided to keep them as part of her life and grow from it. Sometimes we need to put the change aside and have a little patience with our current situations, seeing through to fruition the plans we put into place a while back.
Later on in the series. We find out that Gideon (yes we’re finally getting to that) has implanted a chip in the back of Ramona’s head that controls her behavior near the end of their previous relationship. It’s implied in the scene where Ramona walks out on Scott that this is the moment when Gideon activates the chip and begins controlling her, rather than her simplifying ‘changing’ again and abandoning her past.
Described as a powerful weapon of “emotional warfare”, the chip manipulates the mind’s psyche of those it infects, causing them to become overwhelmed by their personal issues. ‘The Glow’, as it’s also called due to the fact it make the personas head glow when in effect, suppresses positive emotions such as friendship and love, and simultaneously enhances negative feelings like suspicion, jealousy, and self-loathing. At a time where it seemed Ramona was beginning to have a major shift on her views of commitment and stick it out with Scott, Gideon steps in and adds another layer of conflict within her psyche.
What makes Ramona’s situation of augmentation unique is the fact that her growth as a character is focused upon the removal of it rather than the addition of it. Its her breaking free of The Glows control that she manages to finalize her growth as a character previously mentioned, and can truly begin to embrace her past for better use in the future. It’s the perfect culmination of the mental and emotional struggles of Ramonas internal journey, showing off just how far she’s come as a strong, independent woman who feels like she has control of her life.
Despite the fact that Ramona is not the titular character, and does not directly affect the plot through her actions until the final parts of the series, readers who look closely can see how incredible of an example Ramona is of an internal struggle. Her epiphany of self-confidence and control over both her life and emotions truly culminate into a beautiful moment, one that says that there’s no need to run from your past and regret your decisions in life. The life you’ve led thus far is ultimately yours, so own it. As far as a heroine’s journey goes, Ramona’s, regardless of how subtle, will be one that I will personally remember for a long time to come.