Archetype Symbols

Archetype Symbols

Literary Archetypes Archetypes are repeated patterns that recur in the literature of every age (Sloan 48). What is an archetype? An archetype is a term used to describe universal symbols that evoke deep and sometimes unconscious responses in a reader In literature, characters, images, and themes that symbolically embody universal meanings and basic human experiences, regardless of when or where they live, are considered archetypes. Common literary archetypes include stories of quests, initiations, scapegoats, descents to the underworld, and ascents to heaven.

Archetypes are Primordial: That is, we, as individuals, have these archetypal images ingrained in our understanding even before we are born. Universal: These archetypes can be found all over the world and throughout history. The manifestation of the idea may be different, but the idea itself is the same. Carl Jung

Swiss psychologist/psychiatrist whose study of the nature of the human mind resulted in two basic concepts that are important in examining and analyzing literature. Collective unconsciousness unconscious/subconscious mental record of all common human experiences (examples love, passion, birth, death, anger, peace, evil, spirituality, etc) archetypes symbols which express our collective unconscious, which are our common human experiences Common Character Archetypes

The Star-Crossed Lovers This is the young couple joined by love but unexpectedly parted by fate. example - Romeo and Juliet Unfaithful wife married to a man she sees as dull and unimaginative physically attracted to a more virile or desirable man example - Guinevere

Hero The main character leaves his or her community to go on an adventure, performing deeds that bring honor to the community examples Beowulf Devil figure offers worldly goods, fame, offers knowledge to the

protagonist in exchange for possession of his soul examples - Lucifer, Satan Villain a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime Scapegoat

The scapegoat figure is one who gets blamed for everything, regardless of whether he/she is actually at fault. Example Tom Robinson Outcast a figure who is banished from a social group for some crime against his fellow man he/she is usually destined to become a wanderer example - Gollum

Trickster crosses both physical and social boundaries-- the trickster is often a traveler, and he often breaks societal rules. Tricksters cross lines, breaking or blurring connections and distinctions between "right and wrong, sacred and profane, clean and dirty, male and female, young and old, living and dead Anansi The innocent Child/Youth Inexperienced adult Jem and Scout

The great teacher/mentor wise old man represents knowledge, wisdom, spirituality of soul, insight

protects or helps main character when he or she faces challenges. example -, Merlin Earth mother symbolic of fruition and abundance as well as fertility example - Mother Nature The Shrew

This is that nagging, bothersome wife always battering her husband with verbal abuse. example - Katherine EnchantressTemptress characterized by sensuous beauty usually involved in downfall of the hero or protagonist examples - the Sirens, Calypso, and Cleopatra The Loss of Innocence This is, as the name implies, a loss of

innocence through sexual experience, violence, or any other means. The Initiation This is the process by which a character is brought into another sphere of influence, usually (in literature) into adulthood. Ex. Jem and Scott in To Kill a Mockingbird Situational

Archetypes Quest are searching for something, whether consciously or unconsciously. Their actions, thoughts, and feelings center around the goal of completing the quest. example - Ahabs quest for the albino whale

Task A situation in which a character, or group of characters, is driven to complete some duty often of monstrous proportion. example --Frodos task to keep the ring safe in The Lord of the Rings

Fall describes a descent, usually of a hero, from a higher to a lower state of being usually involves spiritual defilement and/or loss of innocence also involves an expulsion from some kind paradise example - Adam and Eve Night journey descent into earth followed by a return to light usually, knowledge has been gained through the experience example - Orpheus

Common Image Archetypes Certain images that recur in myths and other genres of literature often have a common meaning or tend to elicit comparable psychological responses and to serve similar cultural functions. Water Sun Colors Shapes, Numbers, & Other objects Water a symbol of life, cleansing, and rebirthrepresents the mystery of creation

Examples: Seaspiritual mystery and infinity; timelessness and eternity Riverdeath / rebirth (baptism), flowing of time into eternity, transitional phases of the life cycle Sun Represents energy, creativity, thinking, enlightenment, wisdom, spiritual vision, the passing of time, and life Examples: Rising SunBirth and Creation

Setting Sundeath Redlove, sacrifice, hate, evil, anger, violent passion, sin, blood, disorder Greenbirth / death, fertility, luck, hope, jealousy, decay, greed Bluesadness, spiritual purity, truth, religious

feelings of security Blackpower, doom, death, darkness, mystery, primal wisdom, unconscious evil Whitepurity, innocence, death, terror, supernatural, blinding truth Colors Shapes Circle (Sphere) wholeness, unity Egg (Oval)the mystery of life and the forces of regeneration Animals bird

(raven, hawk)death, (serpent, worm) hate, corruption evil, corruption, sensuality, Light-colored destruction, bird (dove) wisdom, peace, love, life temptation Snake Dark-colored Numbers Three (3)represents unity, spiritual awareness, and light

Four (4)cycle of life, (earth, water, fire, air) nature Seven (7)unity between 3 and 4, completion and perfect order garden paradise, innocence, unspoiled feminine beauty, fertility desert lack of spirituality, death, hopelessness Mountains and peaks

Highest peak is place to see far Place to gain great insight Caves and tunnels Deep down where character delves into self Place that character goes when invisible or inactive At the extreme may signify death Forest Habitat of the Great Mother (Mother Nature), Fertility. The vegetation and animals flourish in

this green world because of the sustaining power of the Great Mother. Symbolically the primitive levels of the feminine psyche, protective and sheltering. Those who enter often lose their direction or rational outlook and thus tap into their collective unconscious. Tree proliferation, life, immortality growth,

road or train journey through life Character Archetypes The great teacher/mentor Hero Outcast Villain Earth mother Circle The innocent Ring Galadriel Sauron Aragorn Gollum Gandalf

Frodo Summer Reading Think about the books you read over the summer, (The Life of Pi, Girl with a Pearl Earring, A Northern Light, Peace, Like a River, Like Water for Elephants, The Kite Runner, and To Kill a Mockingbird). What archetypes did you notice in those books? For example, water in the Life of

Pi. Orange vibrant combination of red and yellow denotes energy, warmth, and the sun less intensity or aggression than red calmed by the cheerfulness of yellow

Brown wholesomeness and earthiness represents steadfastness, simplicity, friendliness, dependability, and health warm neutral color that can stimulate the appetite

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