Archetypes in Amerian Literature

Better Essays
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.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    nonlinear structure listing events leading up to the main event in the story. I try to discover the author's influence, such as other writers who inspired the author's work. I also recognize archetypes in literature, such as friends who rely on each other in the story. I can identify symbols, which are words in literature that have a descriptive meaning, such as the word "Spring" symbolizing renewal, and "Winter" symbolizing a figurative death. Also, I critically re-read the story before beginning to…

    • 241 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Archetypes in Literature EECE 441 Prof. Sibley Definition of Archetype: “A universally recognizable element . . . that recurs across all literature and life (Latrobe 13). Psychologist Carl Jung called these elements a kind of “collective unconscious” of the human race, prototypes rather than something gained from experience. The word is derived from the Greek: arche, original, and typos, form or model; thus, original model (Latrobe 13). An archetype is the first real example or prototype…

    • 953 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    An archetype is, according to one definition, “a typical character, action, or situation that seems to represent such universal patterns of human nature.” While found in all types of literature, archetypes unquestionably seem to populate myths, fantasies, and fables to a greater degree than other fiction. Archetypes are important to stories because they help the mind to categorize the behavior and, by doing so, humanize the characters. Archetypes are, in essence, labels that permit the reader…

    • 363 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The archetypes in Literature can be all the different models of characters that participate on the stories, they narrate everything through their actions and are the typical personalities that we can find on any story changing, and affecting the same. The Hero: This is the role of Rey, because she is the person who saves everything from the evilness and defeats the villain Kylo from the First Order. The great teacher: This can be someone who helps the hero and gives advice to the same, this person…

    • 205 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    An archetype in literature is a repetitive narrative design of reoccurring character patterns of action or themes which are identifiable in a wide vary of works in literature. They often cause an emotional reaction with the audience making the main character seem more dynamic. Archetypes also help the reader recognize certain character types and better understand the characters rule in the story. In a sense an archetype can be considered the perfect image of something or what it is typically defined…

    • 927 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Interlude: Archetype is a theme, event, or an idea that keeps repeating in literature. It ties in with the term intertextuality, in that all stories come from the same story. Archetype is the same idea or happening that keeps showing up in numerous stories. Aladdin, for example, is in love with princess Jasmine but since he is not a prince cannot marry her. As he discovers the Genie, he turns himself into a prince, and he and Jasmine can then marry. Jafar however refuses to let this happen, and tries…

    • 137 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Archetypes

    • 456 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Exploring Archetypes in Short Stories Archetypes are recurring symbols, characters, landscapes, or events found in myths and literature across different cultures and eras that help us organize events into categories. There are three main types of archetypes which include situational, character, and symbolic. All three are easily relatable to. Firstly, an example of a unhealable wound in a situational archetype can be found with Mrs. Maloney in “Lamb to the Slaughter.” An example of a scapegoat…

    • 456 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Archetypes

    • 973 Words
    • 4 Pages

    it that literature from thousands of years ago has similar plot structures and themes of modern literature? These recurring ideologies are not pure coincidences; they have symbolic meaning and have been traced to the depths of unconsciousness, having been recently categorized into archetypes. Archetypes are a development of psychologist, Carl Jung, referring to a pattern of character types, images, descriptive details, and situations that find their way from our minds, to our literature, and to…

    • 973 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Archetypes

    • 1127 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Characters A. The Hero – Lord Raglan in The Hero: A Study in Tradition, Myth, and Drama contends that this archetype is so well defined that the life of the protagonist can be clearly divided into a series of well-marked adventures, which strongly suggest a ritualistic pattern. Raglan finds that traditionally the hero's mother is a virgin, the circumstances of his conception are unusual, and at birth some attempt is made to kill him. He is, however, spirited away and reared by foster parents…

    • 1127 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    archetype

    • 581 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Eduardo Palacios Week 6 assignment Archetype Love Based on Romeo and Juliet. In the movie Romeo and Juliet, film directed by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968. I chose love as archetypal. “Why do we struggle with love or why does love so often get so difficult? We as people are all born with the character of love and most people want to be in a relationship. So why do so many relationships go wrong? As with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet we often believe…

    • 581 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays