This essay will use the mythological criticism approach to compare two stories, “A Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin, and “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner by showing that both stories have similar archetypes embedded within their narratives. By definition and according to our text, archetypes are “characters, images and themes that symbolically embody meanings and experiences,” (2059, Meyer). In both of these stories, I see that the main characters are involved in a quest for feminine self-discovery and freedom of the human spirit. In Joseph Campbell’s, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” the author discusses the journey we are called to in life, and that some choose to follow that call while others do not. In this case, both female characters choose not to answer the call, and become trapped in their initial wounding. The both feel they have no power to move out of their current state. In Carol Pearson’s book, “The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By,” six major archetypes are discussed. They include the orphan, the innocent, the magician, the wanderer, the warrior and the altruist. All of these archetypes can also have shadow sides, as described by author Pearson. In my opinion, the archetype that best fits Mrs. Mallard, the main character of “A Story of an Hour,” by Chopin and Miss Emily Grierson, the main character of “A Rose for Miss Emily,” by Faulkner, is the orphan archetype and its shadow side.
Mrs. Mallard is a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage. To her, it almost feels like a prison. Characteristic of the orphan archetype, she has low expectations. The archetype of orphan begins with an initial wounding and the ensuing struggle to deal with that wounding. She is simply surviving her life, not living it. Joseph Campbell would say this orphan has heard the call to her journey for healing, but she is frozen. She has handed all her power over to her husband and others. It is not until she receives news that her husband is dead
Bibliography: Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With A Thousand Faces. New York: The World Publishing Co., 1956.
“The Hero with A Thousand Faces,” is a cross-cultural study of comparative mythologies based in folklore, religion, and mythology. Campbell elaborates on the concept of a “monomyth.” The “monomyth” is an attempt to link various stories together, showing variations of a theme that are common in many texts, regardless of origin This book helps the reader see common mythic themes in different stories.
Pearson, C. (1989). The hero within: Six archetypes we live by. New York: Harper and Row.
This book is an important source of perspectives on life 's mystery and discovery. This book helped me understand archetypes in general and the intricate ways a person’s choices and life path are woven together.