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Basically an archetype is a pattern. It’s a character, situation, or symbol that appears in different forms in lots of different stories. For example,

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Presentation on theme: "Basically an archetype is a pattern. It’s a character, situation, or symbol that appears in different forms in lots of different stories. For example,"— Presentation transcript:


2 Basically an archetype is a pattern. It’s a character, situation, or symbol that appears in different forms in lots of different stories. For example, in many young adult stories, the hero is an orphan of some kind – the situation varies depending on the story. In some stories, the hero’s parents have died. In others, the parents are not available emotionally. And in other cases, the parents may be in some other location (i.e. on vacation, kidnapped, etc.). The pattern though, is the orphan status of the hero. Patterns like these appear everywhere in literature and stories, and recognizing them, enables the reader to understand these stories on a deeper level.

3 Orphan – can be an actual orphan, a temporary orphan (for the duration of the book), or someone whose parents/family are not available. Authors often make their main characters orphans so that the character will have a different point of view than and be able to see things that other can’t. Pilgrim – someone who must travel outside his/her familiar environment. The perspective of the pilgrim will always be different from those who live in the new environment. Characters who are pilgrims usually travel outside their normal environment to change their perspective and learn something new that they can then take back with them. Warrior – someone who takes on the fight or challenge and who will never give up until the goal has been achieved or the story has played out. Knight/Champion – like the warrior, except the problem or challenge is not his/her own. The champion takes on the fight in place of someone who cannot fight for themselves. Companion/Sidekick – usually good, often points to a personal difficulty the hero is having and helps the hero to get past it in order to accomplish the goal. When there are two companion sidekicks – one of each gender – they will often become romantically involved. (Han and Lea, Hermione and Ron)

4 Victim/Damsel in Distress – gives the warrior or champion a chance to shine. Without the problems of this character, the warrior would have nothing to fight for. Sage/Teacher – serves as a mentor to the main character, especially to the warrior, and must always step aside toward the end of the story so that the hero can come into his/her full power. Often this means that the teacher dies. Villain/Antagonist – takes on many forms. Always seeks to block the protagonist from accomplishing the journey or goal. Hapless Foil – unintentionally makes things difficult for the hero. Often while trying to help, this character makes things worse. The hero will eventually get to a point of total frustration, but will then be provided with an important insight from this character. Vixen/Temptress – usually female, but occasionally male. This character is beautiful on the outside but not on the inside. The main character is often attracted to her/him for the wrong reasons and must learn to see through the outer beauty to the truth. Minion – works for the villain and is sometimes disguised as a “good guy”.

5 Powerful Father – is often heroic, and often absent or disabled, forcing the hero to take the father’s place. Often the hero will wish he/she had the skill and strength of the powerful father figure. This figure does not have to be a literal father, but plays that kind of role in the hero’s life. Shadow Father – usually the opposite of the powerful father. This figure is completely powerless usually in an emotional way rather than due to a physical handicap. He is often absent from the hero’s immediate life and is sometimes seen in stories where he is being overpowered by a devouring mother figure. Often the hero feels resentful towards this character. Good Mother – usually a background character, nurtures, provides support, is always giving. This person does not have to be a literal mother, but plays that role in the hero’s life (Cinderella’s fairy godmother). Devouring Mother – has all the opposite qualities of the good mother. She will devour her young either literally (through causing them physical harm) or figuratively (by causing emotional damage).

6 Hero as warrior: Someone who faces physical challenges and external enemies (Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Rocky) Hero as lover: A pure love motivates the hero to complete his quest – sometimes the love is romantic, sometimes not (Romeo) Hero as Scapegoat: Hero takes the blame for something he didn’t do, either voluntarily in order to help someone else, or because he is being victimized. Transcendent Hero: The hero of tragedy whose fatal flaw brings about his downfall, but not without achieving some kind of transforming realization or wisdom (Oedipus, Hamlet, Macbeth, Kino from The Pearl) Romantic/Gothic Hero: Hero/lover with a decidedly dark side (Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre) Apocalyptic Hero: Hero who faces the possible destruction of society Anti-Hero: A non-hero, given the vocation of failure, frequently humorous (Homer Simpson) Can be either male or female

7 Defiant Anti-hero: Opposer of society’s definition of heroism/goodness. (Annakin Skywalker) He/she is sometimes tempted away from what he/she knows to be right. Unbalanced Hero: The Protagonist who has (or must pretend to have) mental or emotional deficiencies (Hamlet, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) The Other — the Denied Hero: The protagonist whose status or essential differentness makes heroism possible The Superhero: Exaggerates the normal proportions of humanity; frequently has divine or supernatural origins. In some sense, the superhero is one apart, someone who does not quite belong, but who is nonetheless needed by society. (Superman) Can be either male or female

8 In most stories, the plot follows the basic idea of the hero’s journey. Sometimes this journey is literal (the hero has to go somewhere), and sometimes, it is more symbolic (the hero has to overcome something inside himself or herself). Notice how it is similar to a plot diagram, but not quite the same. In the typical Hero’s Journey, The main character/Hero makes an actual journey or a figurative journey (example, a battle with cancer, or helping a team win) and goes through 5 stages: Departure: The hero is called to adventure, although he is reluctant to accept. Initiation: The hero crosses a threshold into a new, more dangerous world, gaining a more mature perspective or a different role. Special weapon is often introduced. (The Departure and the Initiation can sometimes be reversed – example: The Wizard of Oz) The Road of Trials: The hero endures tests of strength, resourcefulness, and endurance and must overcome various obstacles or difficulties. Each new task brings new insight. The Innermost Cave: The hero descends into the innermost cave, an underworld, or some other place of great trial. Sometimes this place can be within the hero’s own mind. Once the hero passes this greatest trial, he comes fully into his own power and can use his special weapon to meet the enemy and defeat him/it. Return and Reintegration with Society: The hero uses his new wisdom to restore fertility and order to the land Climax Falling Action and Resolution Exposition Rising Action

9 There are many different kinds of hero’s journeys, but each one contains the 5 stages listed on the previous page. The quest for identity The epic journey to find the promised land/to be the founder of the good city The quest for vengeance The warrior’s journey to save his people or a large group in need The search for love (to rescue the princess/damsel in distress) The journey in search of knowledge The tragic quest: penance or self-denial The fool’s errand The quest to rid the land of danger The grail quest (the quest for human perfection) The rite of passage/loss of innocence The task to complete, build or create something that will save the day Stepping outside normal environment to learn a lesson and take it back home.

10 Light or Dark - Light usually suggests hope, life, renewal, or intellectual illumination; darkness implies the unknown, ignorance, death or despair. Fire or Ice - Fire represents knowledge, light, life, and rebirth. Sometimes it appears destructive, but hope always arises from the ashes. Ice, like the desert, represents ignorance, darkness, sterility, and death. Water - Because Water is necessary to life and growth, it commonly appears as a birth symbol. Rain, rivers, oceans, etc. also function the same way. In addition, water can represent emotion and deeper truths that lie beneath the surface. Fog – represents uncertainty and being lost. Special weapon – that only the hero can wield. Usually the hero must pass some kind of test before becoming worthy of using the weapon. Roses – represent passion, love, sincerity, but also duality – they have thorns!

11 Sun/Moon - Throughout many traditions the sun represents the father and male principle and the moon the mother and feminine principle. The energy of the moon is intuitive, deep, subtle, feminine and psychic. The sun is the source of heat and the bringer of light out of darkness and symbolizes vitality, passion, courage and knowledge. Trees – Trees generally represent growth, knowledge and wisdom, and nature. Sometimes they represent protection, especially if they are large. Animals – there are different qualities associated with different animals and usually they have to do with common ideas about the animal. For example, a dog may represent loyalty, or a horse may represent freedom, a lion may represent courage. Seasons – Often represent the cycle of life – birth, life, waning, death and rebirth. Landforms – Mountains, deserts, valleys – different landforms have different meanings depending on how they are used in the stories. Stars – Stars can represent hope or longing, wisdom and eternity. They can also be a representation of the author’s or character’s spiritual beliefs.

12 Colors: Red: positive - passion, energy, love; negative – blood, death, sacrifice Green: positive - growth, hope, fertility; negative - jealousy, envy, illness Blue: highly positive, security, tranquility, spiritual purity, wisdom Black: positive – wisdom, gestation the time before birth; negative - darkness, chaos, mystery, the unknown, death, evil, melancholy, mourning White: positive - light, purity, innocence, timelessness; negative - death, horror, supernatural, cold, emptiness Yellow: enlightenment, wisdom Purple: royalty Orange: often associated with warmth, the sun, fire

13 Numbers: 3—light, spiritual awareness, unity (holy trinity), male principle 4—associated with the circle, life cycle, four seasons, female principle, earth, nature, elements 7—the most potent of all symbolic numbers signifying the union of three and four, the completion of a cycle, perfect order, perfect number, religious symbol

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