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Title: Archetypes:%20The%20Building%20Blocks%20of%20Stories


1
ArchetypesThe Building Blocks of Stories
2
Definition of Archetype
  • Archetype is a Greek word meaning original
    pattern, or model.
  • In literature and art an archetype is a
    character, an event, a story or an image that
    recurs in different works, in different cultures
    and in different periods of time.
  • Can you think of any stories or image patterns
    that have been repeated in movies, books, or even
    commercials?

3
How many stories do you encounter daily?
  • Think about the number of stories you encounter
    daily either reading, viewing, or listening. This
    would include all of the following categories
  • books, short stories, newspaper stories,
    movies, sitcoms, tv shows, video games, news
    reports, magazine stories, etc.

4
What are archetypes?
  • They are the basic building blocks of stories
    that all writers use to create a world to which
    readers can escape.
  • Without communicating about archetypes, all
    cultures around the world use them to build their
    stories. This is called the Collective
    Unconscious (term coined by Carl Jung).
  • Examples of archetypes are the hero, the damsel
    in distress, the battle between good and evil,
    etc.

5
Why do we need stories?
  • To explain natural phenomenon such as great
    floods and the creation of the world
  • To answer such questions such as why we are born
    and why we die
  • To help us escape reality by entering a world
    where the good guy wins, the forces of evil are
    defeated, and love conquers all
  • To help define the roles of good and evil such as
    the hero and the villain so that we might
    recognize them in reality

6
There are several different types of archetypes
  • Situational
  • Symbolic
  • Setting
  • Character

Youll often find several of these archetypes
within one work. Here are specific examples of
each type of archetype.
7
  • The movie opens. the young, beautiful actress is
    on a tirade about how much she hates, and she
    means hates, detests, loathes and every other
    adjective in between, the new guy she works with
    (who happens to be drop dead good looking and
    single). He pokes fun at her and frequently stops
    by her desk. She fumes silently. She yells at him
    about how she cant stand the sight of him. He
    laughs and says he cant stand her either.
  • Whats going to happen?
  • How do you know this?

8
Situational Archetypes
  • These are common situations, or plots, seen in
    literature, movies, television, etc. over and
    over throughout history and cultures. Chances
    are, if youre watching a movie that follows one
    of these situational archetypes, you know whats
    going to happen in the end when the movie is in
    the opening five minutes.
  • Examples include

9
  • THE JOURNEY
  • The hero goes in search of some truth or
    information to restore life to the kingdom. The
    quest involves proving himself, defending or
    saving someone or something, or finding
    something.
  • There are several types of journeys the hero can
    take
  • Identity
  • Knowledge
  • Vengeance
  • to find the promised land
  • journey for the grail (human perfection)
  • The type of journey determines the type of hero.

10
  • The Fall
  • Describes a descent from a higher to a lower
    state of being. The experience involves a
    defilement and/or a loss of innocence and bliss.
    The fall is often accompanied by expulsion from a
    kind of paradise as a penalty for disobedience
    and moral transgression.
  • Battle between Good and Evil
  • Obviously the battle between two primal forces.
    Mankind shows eternal optimism in the continual
    portrayal of good triumphing over evil despite
    great odds. These manifest themselves in the
    classic conflicts of menacing enemies, natural
    dangers, moral dilemmas, problems with society,
    and difficulty with fate or decisions

11
  • The movie opens on a dark, stormy night. There is
    no power in the house where the couple lives.
  • What does this suggest?
  • Why?

12
Symbolic Archetypes
  • These are symbols (something which represents
    something else) that have occurred over and over
    again throughout time and in various different
    cultures. These symbols have always represented
    the same things that is what makes them an
    archetype and what makes us recognize them as
    symbols when we see them.
  • Examples Include

13
  • LIGHT VS. DARKNESS light suggests hope,
  • renewal, or intellectual illumination
  • darkness suggests the unknown, ignorance,
  • or despair.
  • HEAVEN VS. HELL gods live in the skies or
    mountaintops evil forces live in the bowels of
    the earth
  • WATER FOR CLEANSING- a water
  • source offers the character an
  • opportunity to purify himself from a wrong
  • NUMBERS- a particular number holds a sacred value
    for the culture (such as 3 for the Christian
    faith)
  • ANIMALS- animals such as snakes or cows hold
    special value in the culture or religion

14
Setting Archetypes
  • These are settings that are seen over and over
    throughout literature. Although the settings may
    vary a little over time or as cultures change,
    the basic premise of the setting is the same.
  • Examples Include

15
  • universe of opposites this can be anything from
    light and dark or day and night to good and evil
    or man verse beast
  • an underworld for the afterlife any form of
    going under to achieve some kind of
    enlightenment or to be tested.
  • a paradise setting or a lost paradise setting-
    this would resemble the garden of Eden where
    nature is untouched by man
  • landscape that emerges from chaos - begins with
    some kind of void or confusion and something
    whole is brought forth such as the light and the
    darkness emerging from the watery chaos
  • A river or water source - emphasis would be on
    its life giving or cleansing properties

16
Character Archetypes
  • These are the stereotype characters that you
    see over and over again. Youve seen these
    characters throughout different cultures and over
    different eras in history.
  • Examples of these popular archetypes are

17
  • THE HERO mother is sometimes a virgin,
    circumstances of birth are unusual, some attempt
    is made at birth to kill him raised by foster
    parents, returns to his kingdom to right wrongs,
    marries a princess, becomes king, meets a
    mysterious death, body is burned rather than
    buried
  • ANTI-HERO - A non-hero, given the job of failure,
    frequently humorous (think Homer Simpson)
  • THE SCAPEGOAT animal or human who is unjustly
    held responsible for others sins sacrificed but
    they often become more powerful force dead than
    alive

18
  • DEVIL FIGUREevil incarnate offers worldly
    goods, fame, or knowledge to the hero in exchange
    for possession of the soul
  • THE MOTHER FIGURE-often a goddess who brings the
    life source to the story either by actually
    birthing things into being or nurturing them for
    survival
  • TEMPTRESSsensuous beauty brings about the
    heros downfall because he is physically
    attracted to her
  • DAMSEL IN DISTRESS- A vulnerable woman who needs
    to be rescued by the hero. She is often used as a
    trap to ensnare the unsuspecting hero

19
Now, take what you know about archetypes and
apply them to everyones favorite Ogre.
20
Hero Shrek Literally doing superhuman deeds
Quest Find/Rescue Princess Fiona
Task Get his swamp back from the fairy creatures
21
Light v Darkness The castle is dark to represent evil Fiona is first seen in a ray of light as soon as they escape, they emerge into daytime since they have escaped evil
Death and Rebirth when they escape the dragon, morning is dawning suggesting hope and rebirth
Star Crossed Lovers Dragons and Donkeys arent supposed to be together, neither are ogres and princesses
Evil Figure with a Good Heart Dragon appears at first as an Evil Figure, especially with the remains of the knights, but Donkey saves her and converts her to good
The Journey Shrek and Donkey face their fears and conquer the dragon, finding Fiona to accomplish their task
22
  • HOMEWORK
  • Review your notes on archetypes.
  • Use one text of your choice (movie, book, short
    story, childrens story, etc) and identify one
    archetype from each category (situational,
    symbolic, setting and character).
  • For each archetype (4), write two sentences
    explaining why your choice demonstrates an
    example of each of these archetypes by using your
    definitions from your notes.
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