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Abstract

I propose that the Guillermo del Toro film, Pan's Labyrinth (2006) follows the narrative outline of Joseph Campbell's hero's journey as experienced through the biological process of onset of menstruation in its young protagonist. I suggest a reading of the film that takes into account the visual and mythological symbolism of the figure of Pan, as well as the cultural context of menstruation in mythology and religion. I offer interviews from the director that support this interpretation, but ultimately I value a folk interpretation, or a "viewer's hunch" that the strange and fertile symbolism of the film represents a coming-of-age struggle intimately familiar to women.