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Global Archetypes

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emily patterson

on 16 June 2013

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Transcript of Global Archetypes

Niger, Africa
Shita-kiri suzume-Tongue-cut Sparrow

The following is a summary of a story about an old couple: a modest and humble man and a greedy woman.

Once upon a time there lived a poor old woodcutter and his wife. One day an old woodcutter was walking through the forest by his house and found a small injured sparrow crying for help. Pitying the sparrow, the woodcutter took it home and fed it rice to help it recover. His wife, who disliked animals, was angry at him as he was devoted to taking care of the bird which she thought was a waste of time and food. Regardless, the old man continued to take care of the bird. One day the man left the house to collect wood in the forest, and the sparrow was left with his wife. Because the old women did not feed the sparrow it soon grew hungry and the women found that the sparrow had ate all of the the couple’s starch. She was so angry that she went ahead and cut off the tongue of the bird. When her husband came back, he realized that the sparrow had fled back into the woods. The man immediately went to the forest to search for the sparrow, and finally found it in “the sparrow’s inn” with the help of other birds. A multitude of sparrows greeted him and led him to his friend, the little sparrow he had saved. The woodcutter was brought food and the sparrows sang and danced to his delight. Upon his departure, the sparrows offered him a gift and asked him to choose between a small basket and a large basket. As he thought of other people in need, he chose the small basket. He also thought that the small basket would be easier to carry. When he got back home he opened the basket and saw that the basket was filled with treasure. Wanting a basket for herself, his greedy wife had also gone to the sparrow’s inn and asked for a gift. She quickly chose the large basket and the sparrows accepted her wish, but warned her not to open the basket before she returned home. Such was her greed that she couldn't resist opening the basket soon after she leaving the inn. Much to her alarm the basket was filled with snakes, poisonous bugs, and treacherous devils . Startled, she fell backwards and tumbled down a cliff to her death.
Setting Archetypes
The forest is where the sparrow is found as well as the sparrow's inn. Forests are often used as a typical setting in folklore and are used to bring in magical creatures and events. Forests represent mystery and confusion. Characters are often lost when in forests or discover something hidden such as a house or a passageway. An example of this is in "Snow White", when the main character is lost in the woods and then finds the house of the dwarfs.

Mountains are used in this story as a place of risk and death. In other stories mountains and cliffs represent darkness and fear. In contrast, other stories use mountains to symbolize religion and beliefs as a place of spiritual value.
Symbol Archetypes

-starch in a red wooden bowl and red and white rice:
In Japanese culture, the color red is used to
expel illness. Red holds both life-creating and life-sustaining powers. As a result, the color red evokes feelings of energy and love and is dedicated to deities of healing and fertility. Many countries outside Japan also have "red" traditions that are closely associated with sickness. In the story red is used to represent the healing of sparrow.

-gold and silver coins:
Gold is thought by the Japanese to symbolize strength and wealth. Silver symbolizes purification and sophistication. Both colors represent prestige and a glamorous lifestyle. In the story, the colors are used to represent the value of the sparrow's gift.

The sparrow symbolizes luck, importance of small things, love, sacrifice, respect and swift action. In Japanese literature it is also a strong symbol of soul searching. This is shown through the story as the sparrow reveals the true faces of both the man and woman.

The cuttlefish is usually known as a symbol of celebration, while is versions of this story it is a symbol of death.

Snakes are regarded as immortal gods of the mountain. Snakes are also believed to reflect spirits of the dead and are seen as objects of fear. Many versions of this story use snakes as well as bugs to represent ill-fortune and the bringing of death.
Plot Archetypes
Rags to riches

Rags to riches refers to any situation in which a person rises from poverty to wealth. Characters that start off in poverty are most often good at heart and through a turn of fate are rewarded for this attribute. In this story the wise old man and women start of with little wealth, living in a small cottage. The man supports him and his wife by working as a woodcutter. When his soul is tested by the sparrow he is rewarded for his good heart with treasure. His wife is revealed to have a bad heart and is punished with death. The man is now rich and has gone from poverty to wealth through the course of the story.
Character Archetypes
The wise old man
The woodcutter represents a wise old man because he makes smart and practical decisions throughout the story. For example when he chooses to accept the smaller basket instead of the larger since it will weigh less he is making a wise decision. In contrast when his wife chooses the larger basket she is basing her decision on how it will affect herself. Another example is that the man follows the instructions of the sparrows and waits until he gets home to open the basket. This character is often used to help teach a lesson.

Demons/devil (oni)
In some alternative endings demons come out of the basket and bring the old women to her death. Demons are often found in Japanese Folklore and are meant to evoke thoughts of disaster, disease, and trickery. The word oni specifically means hideous, gigantic ogre-like creatures with sharp claws, wild hair, and two long horns growing from their heads. Oni are humanoid for the most part, but occasionally are shown with unnatural features such as odd numbers of body parts. They are regarded as being to be undefeatable.

Old couple without children
Many Japanese stories include main or sub-main characters that are old, married, and without children. These characters often wish to have children, and through the story they ultimately acquire children. Acquiring children often happens because of supernatural means.

Magical animal/The Anthropomorphic Animal
Animals that posses magical or supernatural powers are common in fairy tales and folklore. Similarly to the sparrow in this story, animals in folklore are used to test the morale and nature of characters. Characters that prove to have a strong morale will often be rewarded and those with a very weak morale are either taught a lesson or punished.
Relation to Japanese Culture
Many Japanese virtues such as faith, charity, respect, loyalty and justice are included in this story and others. Japanese folklore often centers around the contrast of good and evil. Many stories focus on a creature that is either good or either (or interchangeably both) and its interactions with humans.
Archetypes are an important part of these folktales, especially character, setting, and moral archetypes. Archetypes can even be found in other aspects of japanese culture such as entertainment. Noh plays include standard archetypal characters/roles that are
used to present a story. The first role is called shite, appearing first as a human and then as a ghost, The next is Waki which performs the role that is the counterpart or foil of the shite.
The third, Kyōgen portey the character of
a fool or jester and usually interlude the
play. Stories were a way to not only teach
lessons but to apply the fantastic to the
Theme and Moral Archetypes
The virtue of patience is a valuable one in japanese culture and is often taught in folklore. This story teaches the lesson of patience. The women is impatient and opens her basket before returning home and this ultimately brings her bed karma.

selflessness vs greed
In the story the old man chooses to accept the small basket instead of the large one since he thinks he doesn't "need" the large one. This shows that the old man is selfless. The old women is greedy because she wants more treasure. The ending of the story is meant to convey the moral that being selfless will reward you but being greedy will only bring you bad karma.

practicality vs self gain
If you were offered money to complete a dangerous task would you? Even though we can be benefited by something, if isn't practical, then it might not be worth it. The man in the story chooses the small basket because he thinks that it would be easier to carry. The women however, chooses the large basket because she thinks she will gain wealth if she does. In the end, practicality is the better choice over self gain.

caring vs carelessness
The old man is diligent in caring for the sparrow, whereas his wife does not care for it and is un-pitiful towards it. One of the themes in this story is that caring for something or someone in need is the right thing to do.
Setting Archetypes
The sea is powerful, uncontrollable, mysterious and often deadly. It is a domain that man can't master. In many Greek myths the sea destroys ships and their passengers as well as many unfortunate others. In this story the sea represents freedom and travel. It acts as Theseus's path as well as his escape.

(In many greek myths) Olympus
Olympus is the home of the gods
and it represents the place of power above everyone else.
Symbol Archetypes
Plot Archetypes
Moral and Themes Archetypes
Character Archetypes
Theseus and the Minotaur
Theseus, the son of Aegeus (the king of Athens) was great Athenian hero. Theseus grew up in southern Greece with his mother. When he was old enough, Theseus traveled to the city to meet his father. Once in in the city, Aegeus declared Theseus heir to the throne and sent him on an important journey. King Minos has vowed to destroy Athens unless every year seven maidens and seven men were sent to Crete to be fed as sacrifice to the Minotaur (a monster, half-bull and half-human) who lives inside the labyrinth. Theseus was to be offered as one of the victims, promising his father that he will kill the Minotaur while he is in the Labyrinth. Theseus also tels Aegeus that upon his successful return, his ship will carry a white sail. As the fourteen men and women arrive in Crete, they parade through the town. Minos's daughter Ariadne notices Theseus and instantly falls in love with him. Later, Ariadne askes Daedalus the architect to devise a plan for her beloved to stay safe. When she finally meets with Theseus, he promises to marry her if he escapes. Following Ariadne's plan, Theseus walked through the maze letting a ball of string run so that he could retrace his steps. Suddenly, Theseus finds the Minotaur sleeping and kills it with his bare hands. Theseus and Ariadne release the other Athenian youths and they all quickly set sail for Athens. However in the high of his victory Theseus forgets to raise the white sail. His father, seeing the black sail, assumes his son has died and jumps into the sea.

Relation to Greek Culture
Southwestern United States (Chicano tribes)
Willing hero
Theseus embodies the willing hero that is often found in geek mythology. Theseus is brave and honors his father. Other examples of willing heroes/leaders in greek mythology are Hercules and Perseus.

He is the representative image of Father Time; in charge of the Life and the land. King Midas is included in many greek myths and often sends heroes on tasks. He is a name of power in the mortal realm but has also interacted with gods and magic in other myths.

Star crossed lovers

The star crossed lovers represented
in this myth are Theseus and Ariadne. In myths and other stories, lovers usually include one or both of the main characters. The love they share creates a motive in the story and conflict in the main characters mind.

The monster is an obstacle that the hero (in this case) must overcome and often kill in order to achieve whatever goal they have. The goal may be only to kill the monster, or it may be something else that can not be accomplished without defeating the monster first. The monster also represents two alternate fates (life or death in most cases). In this story, it is Theseus's task to kill the monster and return to Ariadne and then to his father. However, if he is not successful in his task then it will result in the death of himself.

The Roadrunner's Dance
Character Archetypes
Setting Archetypes
Deserts offer seclusion and an endless landscape of hills and earth. It evokes contradictory feelings of danger and freedom.

In contrast to nature, villages build connections between human characters and provide resources and multiple interior settings. In this story the village represents a place of safety and stability away from the dangers of the snakes, bugs, and weather of the desert.

Mountains give characters the opportunity to see clearly and gain insight. In this story, the mountain is viewed as sacred and associated with higher powers such as gods or spirits. Because they can sometimes be seen at the ends of desserts they are thought to provide security and guidance.
Symbol Archetypes
Plot Archetypes
Moral and Theme Archetypes
Relation to native Culture
Archetypes From Stories Across the World
Rattlesnake represents a bully because it commonly causes fear and pain to the villagers. Bullies can fit into many other archetypes in stories such as the antagonist, the dark mentor, the anti-hero, the daemon, etc. In this story, Rattlesnake is also the antagonist because he is the obstacle that the protagonist (roadrunner) must overcome.

Unexpected hero
Roadrunner is an unexpected hero/underdog. This is because at first Roadrunner is clumsy and uncoordinated. But at the end of the story, Roadrunner's inner strength and wisdom is revealed and he proves to be a Superior match to Rattlesnake. Unexpected heroes teach that anyone can have true strength if they work hard enough to discover it.

The Empress
The empress is the image of Fertility; the creative force of life that perpetuates the continuity of life forms on the planet. She is Mother Nature and the guardian of the natural process, growth, and procreation. The desert women fits into this archetype because she creates the roadrunner and is the breath of life.
The deserts of the present day New Mexico and Arizona hold an ancient tale. Long ago the deserts that surrounded small villages were very dangerous. For deep within the sandy hills lived a very sinister rattlesnake. Whenever the villagers would walk upon the Rattlesnake's self proclaimed territory, the Rattlesnake would bite them and scare them off. Along with the villagers, Rattlesnake caused fear in the other desert animals. One day the animals decided to hold a meeting to discuss Rattlesnake's behavior. As they talked, they tried to think of a way to end rattlesnake's rein of terror. Suddenly the goddess of the dessert appeared. "I will help you set Rattlesnake straight", said the women. First the desert Woman shaped clay from the Sacred Mountain into a creature with hopes that it would be a match for the dreaded snake. Each of the animals then gave the new creature a gift. Raven plucked a few long, black feathers from his own tail. Heron offered a long, thin marsh reed to be used as the creature's beak. Then, from all the animals gifts, the desert Woman fashioned a curious-looking bird and gave it the name of Roadrunner. At first the clumsy Roadrunner had trouble standing and walking. Seeing its frustration, the women told Roadrunner to practice, practice, practice. After a couple days Roadrunner become graceful and had gained enough courage to stand up to Rattlesnake. Outdone by Roadrunner, Rattlesnake finally agreed to no longer frighten travelers on the road.

-Earth Tones
Many books or pieces of art that
have been based on this story are illustrates with/include an array of vibrant earth tones. These colors often include brown, yellow, green, gold, red, and orange. Earth tones are used to connect to nature and growth of life.

The Raven is the keeper of secrets that can assist in determining answers to hidden thoughts. It is seen by many tribes as the creature of metamorphosis, symbolizing change and transformation. Its black color represents it as bearer of magic, and a harbinger of spiritual messages.

Most Native American tribes see the heron as a creature of inquisitiveness and determination. The heron as a symbol of wisdom and has been honored by tribes for centuries.

The roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico. The bird walks around rapidly, running down prey. It kills larger prey with a blow from the beak—hitting the base of the neck of small mammals—or by holding it in the beak and beating it against a rock. Roadrunners can sometimes attack even a relatively big snake.Some Indian tribes, such as the Hopi, believed that the roadrunner provided protection against evil spirits. In Mexico, some said it brought babies, as the White Stork was said to in Europe. Some Anglo frontier people believed roadrunners led lost people to trails.

This story teaches the lesson of patience
through the character of Roadrunner. When Roadrunner is born he has trouble walking, but with patience and persistence he succeeds in
his goal. Patience is a very important virtue in Native American culture and it is thought to develop and supplement the soul.

In the story, the animals work together to
create a new animal and a solution to their
problems. Collaboration teaches that the rectification of something happens because of the help and focus of many instead of one.
The plot of this story is one of creation. Creation stories A pourquoi story ("pourquoi" means "why" in French), also known as an origin story or an etiological tale, is a fictional narrative that explains why something is the way it is, for example why a snake has no legs, or why a tiger has stripes. Many legends and folktales are pourquoi stories. This particular story is used to explain how roadrunners came to be and why. I also explains why roadrunners attack snakes for both a practical and spiritual purpose.

The Chicano tribes live in the Southwestern United States. Their traditional economy is based on agriculture and trade. When first encountered by the Spanish in the 16th century, they were living in villages that the Spanish called pueblos, meaning "towns". Of the 21 Pueblos that exist today, Taos, Acoma, Zuni, and Hopi are the best-known. The main Pueblos are located primarily in New Mexico and Arizona. Parts of animals such as, feathers, fur, horns, and teeth were worn by the tribes and signified their gods, spirits, and status. This shows that animals were symbols of their beliefs, and for this reason were commonly used as main characters in stories. The roadrunners dance is an origin story from the Chicano-First Nation. The story relates to many of their valued traditions and beliefs. For example, the story deals with each animal having a place and a gift as well as handling bullies. Images of the roadrunner can be found in art and recordings created by the Chicano.


One day there was a hunter whose wife was about to give birth. The man said that if it was God's will, his wife would only give birth on a lion skin. Later, the man went home and lay down until the sun came up. Then he took his bow and quiver full of arrows and went into the bush. The hunter searched everywhere until he came to a place where Lioness had given birth and left her children to find food for them. The man grabbed one of Lioness's children, killed it and took its skin home. As he arrived home, his wife went into labor. He dried the skin of the Lioness's cub, and a short time later his wife gave birth on it. When Lioness returned, she looked everywhere for her missing cub. Followed footprints into the town, Lioness transformed herself into a beautiful divorcee and stuck an arrow in her head. Many men asked to marry her but she said, " I'll marry the one who can pull this arrow out of my head." Men came forward and pulled with all their might, but the arrow did not budge. When the hunter heard the news he went and easily pulled the arrow out of her head and was married to the beautiful woman. One day she said, "I heard you're the man whose wife only gives birth on a lioness's skin." "Yes, that's me," he replied. She asked him, "If Lioness sees you in the bush what will you do?" "If she tries to catch me, I'll run around until I lose her," he told her. By asking more questions Lioness soon learned all of his secrets. One day they traveled into the bush, when suddenly his wife turned back into a lioness and tried to catch him. The hunter tried to flee but could not escape. She told him, "I'm the lioness whose cub you killed." He begged her to let him go, but she refused and finally killed the hunter with a single blow.
The Man and the Lioness
Character Archetypes
Setting archetypes
Symbol Archetypes
Plot Archetypes
Moral and Theme Archetypes
Relation to African Culture
Trickster/shape shifter
A trickster is a character who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. The Trickster openly questions authority and acts upon impulse. They promote chaos and unrest while at the same time bringing new knowledge and wisdom. The lioness plays a trickster in this story by convincing the hunter that she is a women (shape shifter) and by causing him to reveal his hunting techniques. Although in this story the trickster was portrayed as a lion, African folklore often characterizes spiders, jackals, badgers, and hares as tricksters as well.

The Hunter/ Strongman
The hunter represents cunning intelligence and focus. However, he can also bring up ideas of violence and inequality. Although his senses are strong and harmonic, his focus can distract him from the truth. The hunter can often be the protagonist, but is in this story, the antagonist. He is used through the story to bring up issues of protection and cruelty.
The lesson at the end of this myth can be summed up by the word hubris. This word is originally greek and means Excessive pride or self-confidence. In many myths and tragedies it can be thought of as defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis. At the end of this myth, Theseus is so caught up in the pride of his victory that he ultimately causes the death of his father. This is meant to teach that although it is good to be proud of your accomplishments, going to far can lead to bad things happening.

The minotaur represents bestial and the strength that animals can have over humans.It represents also represents the monster in every human and the fearsome power of some. The minotaur goes hand in hand with the labyrinth, in that, the human being must find his way through the confusing nature of his obstacles in order finally achieve mastery over it.

The labyrinth symbolizes the journey between life and death. The winding pathways represent the gain of knowledge increasing toward the center. It's purpose is to act as a map to guide the journey of the soul to the to death and the underworld

The thread represents that as long as one knows that the soul does not belong to the physical world (the labyrinth), it is always possible to follow the thread that leads back to one's true origin, or the ideal world, as Plato said.

The bush/grassland
Then bush is a term used for rural, undeveloped land or country areas. The simplicity of the land offers a sensory break. It is barren, devoid of comfort and removed from society. It is a place where people are forced to be introspective and find meaning.
The lion is a symbol of authority, strength, and balance. Lions hold a central place in African folklore, they represent many positive human qualities, like virility, pride, royalty, eminence, and bravery. In nature, lionesses do most of the hunting and rearing. This quality is used in the character of the lioness to represent her persistence and independence.

The arrow that is stuck in the head of the lioness (in human form) symbolizes her feelings. The lioness is "wounded" by what happened to her cub: weapon stuck in her head. As well she has a plan to seek vengeance on the hunter: the arrow symbolizes direction and focus.

-Animal Skin
The skin of the lion cub was taken by the hunter so that his wife could give birth on it. Skins that are owned by people make themselves feel more powerful and important. In this story, the skin represents defeat and unfairness. It acts as the protagonists motive to confront the antagonist.

Revenge is defined as retaliation by protagonist or antagonist against the other for real or imagined injury. In the story of the man and the lioness, the later character seeks revenge on the former. The injury in this example is one that is not directly her's but instead her cub's. Revenge creates the themes of justice and of karma. In this story it brings up the idea that hunting can be impartial to the animals that are at the expense of the sport. It teaches the lesson that one must study the difference between need and want before taking advantage of living creatures for self benefit.
The Task

This plot element is often part of a journey or quest, in which the protagonist must perform some sort of deed in order to pass by a particular point in his or her journey, or must complete this particular assignment in order to gain the object of a quest. (Killing a dragon or ogre, removing a sword from the stone for King Arthur, the seven labors of Hercules). In the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, Theseus must complete the task of killing the Minotaur. If he completes his task he will be rewarded with winning of his true love and with honor from his family and country and with.

Equality and Justice
This story centers around the morals of equality and justice. The hunter is unfair to the lioness when he skins he cub and is brought to justice by the lioness. It is believed by many that Animals should be treated with respect and charity as humans should. The hunter did not give the lioness justice or respect. So as the story tells, why should the hunter be treated with these privileges.
Stories are written and told all over the Earth. What makes them connected to the places that they originate from, is what they tell us about a culture. We can obtain knowledge of of civilization's culture by finding symbol, setting, character, plot, and moral archetypes in their tales. Through the intentions and relationships of various stories we can begin to understand the diverse history, resources, beliefs, and values of the world. And by continuing to write stories we will continue to record the changes of society through time and connect the past to the present.
Folktales are valuable pieces of African culture. Storytelling affirms pride and identity in the culture. Different ethnic groups in Africa have different rituals or ceremonies for storytelling, which creates a sense of belonging to a cultural group. Folktales are also seen as a tool for education and entertainment. They provide a way for children to understand the material and social environment. Every story has a moral to teach people, such as good will prevail over evil. There are different types of African stories, animal tales and day-to-day tales are just two examples. Animal tales are oriented towards entertainment and are normally divided into trickster tales and ogre tales. In these tales, a certain animal has the same personality or role in each story. Day-to-Day tales are serious tales that explain the everyday life and struggles of an African community. Villagers would gather around a common meeting place at the end of the day to listen and tell their stories. Each scene of a story is depicted with two characters at a time, so the audience does not get overwhelmed. In each story (such as the example), victims are able to overcome their predators and take justice on the culprit. The story of “The Man and the Lioness” can be considered as both a animal and a Day-to-Day tale. It tells a story about an animal/trickster, but at the same time it also addresses issues of animal protection vs. hunting. Today, decades of logging, sport hunting, poaching, civil wars, pollution, and other human interferences have taken their toll on the wildlife. In this way stories such as this are still able to carry a message.

The number seven represents the days
of the week and elusiveness. There are seven muses in greek mythology and seven is often a symbol of god. Seven occurs in other stories such as snow white.
Greek mythology was focused mainly on ideals, or the value system that the greeks held. For example, the beginning of the world in greek mythology starts with chaos, then leads to love, hate and order. These ideals can be seen demonstrated in the way that the Greeks lived The Greeks considered these ideals to be the judging point of where they went after they died. Also, Greek Mythology can often be seen on the remains of Ancient Grecian pottery, vases, and tapestries. Gods and goddesses were put into art and literature in an attempt to show their importance to the Greek Culture as well as to constantly remind the gods that they were honoured by the Grecians. Mythology of all cultures has deeply affected society because it shaped the foundations of its structure.
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