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Fantasy and Fairy Tale
Common Archtypes/Motifs in Fairy Tale and Fantasy
The Way out
Recognizable BEGINNINGS/ENDINGS : 'Once upon a time'...and 'they lived happily ever after'.
MAGIC & ENCHANTMENT:
Magical things are happening. Talking animals/object, fairies, trolls, elves, goblins, etc.
REOCURRING Patterns / Numbers: Often, you’ll see things, phrases, tasks appear in "threes," “sixes,” and/or "sevens".
GOOD character: Protagonist is a kind, innocent character, often clever, but naive.
Could be a witch, a demon, an evil stepmother, a sinister animal/gnome. In the end, the evil character (usually) loses.
ROYALTY : usually a castle, a prince, a princess, a king, a queen...
POVERTY: a poor working girl, a poor family, a poor shepherd, poor people trying to eke out a living to have enough to eat
Good vs. Evil
The fairy tale story line usually centers on the classic interplay between good and evil.
Often the story revolves around a kind-hearted, innocent character. Snow White and Cinderella are examples of this kind of naive central figure.
Fairy tales generally have evil characters as well, like Snow White's wicked stepmother or Cinderella's stepsisters.
Often, one or more of a fairy tale's characters is royalty -- a king, queen, princess or prince.
Just as often, the central character starts out poor and disadvantaged.
Conflict and Resolution
The central characters in a fairy tale have a conflict to deal with or a problem to solve.
Generally, the conflict is resolved and a happy ending results.
Often, it takes characters three attempts to solve the problem. Usually, good triumphs over evil.
In solving the problem, the characters demonstrate a lesson in morality and uphold acceptable values and universal truths.
This element of the fairy tale provides an understanding of culture, society and beliefs of the time.
The wonderment of fairy tales is created through elements of fantasy and magic, used for evil or for good.
This is a key element to tying fairy tales to the fantasy genre.
Fairy tales are fictional and feature folkloric characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, witches and giants.
Characters are often talking animals, like the wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood" or the bears in "Goldilocks and the Three Bears."
Other characters perform magical feats, like the fairy godmother who makes Cinderella's dreams come true by producing a fancy dress and a carriage with a wave of her wand.
Ususally, fairy tales begin with recognizable phrases such as "Once upon a time," "long, long ago," or "far, far away."
Like folktales, fairy tales come from an oral tradition and frequently take place far back in history.
Fairy tales usually have recognizable settings,
such as castles, forests or a town.
Wise Old Man/Mentor
Archetypal Settings and Symbols
Fantasy & Fairytale
Recurring images, symbols, characters, patterns, settings and situations that give literature its unity. Recurring patterns that occur in literature of all ages.
Archetypal Critical Theory: The Archetype, a concept developed by Carl Jung, refers to an idealized or prototypical model of a person, object, concept or situation. According to Jung, archetypes reside in the level of our unconscious mind that is common to all human beings, known as the collective unconscious. These archetypes are not readily available to our conscious mind, but manifest themselves in our dreams and other mystical experiences. While commonalities in the stories and characters found in all cultures support the existence and universality of archetypes, and they have proven useful in the study of mythology, literature, and religions of the world, their exact nature and origin remain to be determined.
A young character moves from innocence into experience and knowledge, or from childhood to adulthood. A coming-of-age pattern is apparent.
Ones searches for his/her identity, love, fulfillment, true mother or father, treasure, fame, wisdom, or salvation.
A significant physical/emotional change in a character. ex. a beast into a prince, an ogre into a beautiful woman, a frog into a prince.
Mountains and Peaks
Islands or Ships at Sea
CAVES, TUNNELS, or POOLS OF WATER: Symbols of a character reflecting on his choices
COUNTRYSIDE: symbolizes healing
GARDEN: symbolizes a safe environment
MOUNTAINS and PEAKS: symbolizes a quest or personal achievement
RIVER: symbolizes the passing of time or life
THE SEA: a mysterious symbol, the unknown
ISLANDS or SHIPS-AT-SEA: symbols of isolation or exile