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The Student's Guide to Using Archetypal Literary Criticism
Transcript of The Student's Guide to Using Archetypal Literary Criticism
Khary Makel Struggling with Archetypal literary criticism? Have an unforgiving teacher that couldn't care less? AHHHH!!! THAT PAPER BETTER BE ON MY DESK BY THE END OF THE DAY!!! Well, here are a few tips to help you in your struggles! Understanding Archetypes: What is an archetype? In literature, an archetype is a model that a character is based on. For example, the hero archetype describes characters that
go on adventures and face many challenges, often displaying
acts of justice. Any character in a work of literature that
follows these guidelines would be a hero archetype. Examples of the hero archetype can be seen
in popular superheroes such as Superman and
Spiderman, both characters that fight against
evil. To fully understand archetypal literary criticism,
you must first learn about Carl Jung. Jung was a
psychoanalyst who proposed a theory that mankind
as a whole can store and access information
together unconsciously. Among this information
are archetypes that appear in stories around the
world. The villain archetype is the enemy
of the hero, or the antagonist.
In the popular story "The Three Little Pigs," the Big Bad Wolf is a villain archetype because he terrorizes the protagonists of the story. Onto the next step: Incorporating Archetypal Criticism into Literature So in short, an archetype is the usual model or design of a person, place, or thing. For example, the hero that was already mentioned, such as Superman or Batman, who are the protaganists, or "good" characters in the plot.
There is also the Villian, which would be the complete opposite, such as Lex Luthor or The Joker, who try to stop the Hero. Applying archetypes to literature can help the reader to understand the text. For example, in the novel Jazz by Toni Morrison, understanding archetypes can help one understand the characters of the novel. The character Violet is a very difficult character for many readers to comprehend. Understanding her archetype
can make her characterization much
clearer. Many readers may associate Violet
with the Witch archetype. The Witch
most often represents a crazy old
woman with odd behaviors. When one views the character Violet
as the witch archetype, her actions
appear far less random. While still radical, the reader now understands that Violet's behavior may be driven by a
witch-like insanity. "Why is this important anyway?" Understanding archetypes is vital to any dedicated reader. -Archetypes explain why characters have certain traits
-Archetypes are seen not only in literature, but in television or even real life
-Understanding different archetypes can assist you in your own writing Questions? Now that you know the basics for this, we hope you can go out and use these tips to your own advantage!