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A Beginner's Guide to Archetypal Literary Theory.

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1 A Beginner's Guide to Archetypal Literary Theory

2 What is Archetypal Literary Theory? Archetypal literary theory focuses on recurring archetypes, patterns, symbols and myths in literature.

3 What is an Archetype? According to Carl Jung, an archetype is a primordial image residing in the collective unconscious of a people, expressed in literature, myth, folklore and ritual. Essentially, it’s a pattern or universal theme.

4 First off, what is the Collective Unconscious? The collective unconscious refers to that part of a person's unconscious which is common to all human beings. The collective unconscious arises in each individual from (1) shared instinct, (2) common experience, and (3) shared culture.

5 (1) Shared Instinct The archetype of "the great mother" would be expected to be very nearly the same in all people, since all infants share inherent expectation of having an attentive caretaker.

6 (2) Common Experience Every surviving infant must either have had a mother, or a surrogate.

7 (3) Shared Culture Nearly every child is indoctrinated with society's idea of what a mother should be.

8 The Collective Unconscious Jung believed that all humans share a universal psyche, which is manifested in dreams and myths. Literature imitates not the world, but rather the “total dream of humankind”.

9 How are Archetypes Expressed in Literature Characters (hero, scapegoat, outcast, mentor, temptress, villain) Stories/Situations (tragedy, quest, rags to riches, death and rebirth) Symbols (light/dark, heaven/hell)

10 The Hero The hero is a character who embodies key traits valued by its originating culture. The hero commonly possesses superhuman capabilities or idealized character traits which enable him to perform extraordinary, beneficial deeds.

11 Common Types of Heroes Willing Hero: Ready for action and destined for greatness Unwilling Hero: Normal person thrown into an unusual situation or a hero who refuses the call Antihero: A bit shady and breaks the rules Tragic Hero: Suffers at the hands of his tragic “flaw”

12 The Mentor/Guide Provides motivation, insights, training to the hero. Often represented by the wise old man. Found alongside almost all heroes. Does not have to be human.

13 Common Types of Mentors Continuing Mentor: Someone who helps throughout journey Comic Mentor: Adds some comic relief Fallen Mentor: Helping, but dealing with own issues Dark Mentor: Sinister– may be loyal or not

14 The Earth Mother The Great Mother is offers spiritual and emotional nourishment to those she meets. The mother archetype manifests itself in a host of feminine symbolism. Nurturing and caring

15 The Shadow The Shadow archetype represents the brutal, animalistic characteristics of an individual. It is amoral It is responsible for unpleasant, socially unacceptable thoughts, feelings & behaviors. Usually the antagonist.

16 The Devil Evil incarnate; offers worldly goods, fame, or knowledge to the hero in exchange for possession of the soul. Often associated with a snake

17 The Trickster A trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, or human hero who breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously but usually with positive effects. Tricksters can be cunning or foolish or both; they are often very funny.

18 The Scapegoat An animal or human who is unjustly held responsible for others’ sins; sacrificed but they often become more powerful force dead than alive.

19 The Outcast Figure banished from a social group for some crime against his fellow man (could be falsely accused of a crime or could choose to banish himself from guilt). Destined to wander from place to place alone.

20 The Temptress Characterized by sensuous beauty and the hero is attracted to her physically. She is often the cause of the hero’s downfall. She leads him off course.

21 The Damsel in Distress Vulnerable woman who must be rescued by the hero. She is often part of a trap to catch the unsuspecting hero and allow the villain to win.

22 The Platonic Ideal This woman is a source of inspiration and a spiritual ideal for whom the hero has an intellectual rather than physical attraction to.

23 Symbolic Archetypes Water in the Desert Water is rebirth or spiritual awakening Desert often “dead” to morals or the “good side” Heaven vs. Hell Sky = heaven bowels of earth = hell Supernatural Intervention When gods intervene May favour hero Haven vs. Wilderness Places of safety contrast with danger The Magic Weapon/Item Symbolic of the hero’s inner strength or extraordinary quality. Fire vs. Ice Fire = Knowledge, life Ice = Ignorance, death Light vs. Darkness Safety and innocence vs. unknown and despair

24 Storyline/Situational Archetypes The Journey Rebirth Rags to Riches Death and Rebirth The Initiation The Unhealable Wound Tragedy Nature vs Mechanical World Comedy The Task Voyage and Return

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