ARCHETYPES. by and Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen . ARCHETYPES FROM CHILDREN’S LITERATURE. THE ROMANCE. The Romance “presents an idealized world, the black-and-white world of our desires, where good things are really good, and bad things are really bad.
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by and Don L. F. Nilsen
and Alleen Pace Nilsen
The Romance “presents an idealized world, the black-and-white world of our desires, where good things are really good, and bad things are really bad.
The Romance involves the Journey, and the Journey involves the Hero, the Villain, the Quest, the Sage, the Prohibition, the Sacrifice, the Dragon, the Treasure, and sometimes the rescue of the Maiden.
The epiphany (mountain top, tower, island, lighthouse, ladder, staircase, Jack’s beanstalk, Rapunzel’s hair, Indian rope trick etc.) connects Heaven and Earth” (Frye 203).
In archetypal hero tales, the hero, usually a young person identified as having “special” qualities, sets out on a journey—either real or metaphorical.
The young person does not know what is in store and has probably not made a conscious decision to embark on “the quest.”
Nevertheless, when challenges come, the young hero meets and overcomes them, often making some kind of a sacrifice in exchange for wisdom. A common motif is that help will come from an unexpected source, perhaps from an older and wiser person or from a supernatural source.
The stages of the journey (listed below) can be seen in many of the quest stories and can also be compared to one’s own life.
The Shadow Archetypes result from hyperbole, from developing the hero’s characteristics to such an extreme that they become a negative force as when the caregiver turns into the overprotective mother or the lover into the jealous controller preventing or marring the process of development.
ARCHETYPE: Security, Acceptance, Disillusionment, Optimism
SHADOW ARCHETYPE: Denial, Repression, Blame
ARCHETYPE: Abandonment, Accepting Help, Against Authority
SHADOW: Cynicism, Victimization
ARCHETYPE: Fighting for Self, for Others, and for Ideals
SHADOW: Ruthlessness, Fighting to Win
ARCHETYPE: Self-Sacrificing, “Tough Love,” Responsibility
SHADOW: Martyrdom, Guilt-Inducer
ARCHETYPE: Exploration, Experimentation
SHADOW: Perfectionism, Inability to Commit
ARCHETYPE: Confusion, Acceptance of Chaos, Letting Go
SHADOW: Destructiveness of Self and Others
ARCHETYPE: Following Love, Bonding, Committing
SHADOW: Envy, Fixation, Don Juanism
ARCHETYPE: Visionary, Creator of Own Environment
SHADOW: Creators of Negative Situations
The Innocent moves from an unquestioning acceptance of the environment through experiencing disillusionment (fall) to a return to Paradise as a wise innocent.
EXAMPLES: Brady Bunch, Forrest Gump, Bambi, Gomez Adams, Leo the Late Bloomer, The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio
The Orphan moves from accepting pain and loss through accepting the need for help to becoming independent and working with others.
EXAMPLES: Charlie Brown, Cinderella, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Huckleberry Finn, Frankenstein’s Monster, Maniac McGee, Oedipus, Harry Potter, Peter Rabbit, Dorothy
The Warrior moves from fighting and cheating simply for the sake of fighting to fighting within the rules for others and for what really matters on an unselfish level.
EXAMPLES: Batman, Lancelot, Ulysses, Joan of Arc, Jo in Little Women, Robin Hood, 3 Musketeers, Superman, Darth Vader
The Caregiver moves from overcoming a conflict between one’s own needs and those of others through empowering others (tough love), to a willingness to help beyond immediate family (a global level).
EXAMPLES: Gepetto in Pinocchio, Holden Caulfield, The Giving Tree, Horton, “The Jewish Mother,” Mary Poppins, Pygmalion, Anne Sullivan, Mother Theresa,, The Velveteen Rabbit
The seeker moves from wandering aimlessly and trying out new things through trying to climb the ladder of success to looking for spiritual guidance.
EXAMPLES: Goldilocks, Indiana Jones, Don Juan, Leo the Late Bloomer, Luke Skywalker, Pinocchio
The Destroyer moves from confusion over experiencing pain and death of a loved one through accepting mortality to letting go of what is not important.
EXAMPLES: Beowulf, The Big Bad Wolf, Samson, The Terminator, Darth Vader Lord Voldemort,
The lover, friend, or sidekick is incomplete without the other lover, friend, or sidekick.
SHADOW EXAMPLES: Bathsheba, Delilah, Don Juan, Don Giovani, Byron’s Don Juan, Cassanova
The Creator moves from daydreaming and imagining through knowing what is really important to allowing dreams to come true.
EXAMPLES: Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, Frederick, The Purple Crayon
The Wise Fool
The Ruler moves from taking responsibility for oneself through working with one’s own group or commnity to concern for society or the planet.
EXAMPLES: Aslan, King Arthur, Max in Where the Wild Things Are, Jupiter, Obi Wan Kenobee, The Lion King, Woden, Zeus
The Magician moves from healing and noticing extrasensory experiences through acting on visions to connecting everything with everything else establishing mental, emotional, and spiritual connections.
EXAMPLES: Abuela, Gandalf, Genie, Hermione, Merlin, Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, Samantha in Bewitched, The three Witches in Macbeth, The Wizard of Oz
The Sage moves from searching for the truth through skepticism to an understanding of the complexity of truth.
EXAMPLES: the professor in Gilligan’s Island, Jimminy Cricket, Dumbledore,The Fairy Godmother, Galdalf, Luke Skywalker, Yoda
The Wise Fool moves from treating life as a game through using cleverness to trick others to living life one day at a time and enjoying each special moment.
EXAMPLES: Anansi the Spider, The Cat in the Hat, Coyote, Ferdinand, Forest Gump, The Hare in the Tortoise and Hare Race, Huckleberry Finn, Raven, Tom Sawyer, Sawyer on Lost, Schererazade, The Wizard of Oz
Creator and Destroyer
Eiron and Alazon
Fool and Wise Fool
Hero and Anti-Hero
Innocent and Orphan
Junex and Senex in “Comedy of Manners”
Sage and Magician
In the following slides, place the examples into various archetypes, and explain what evidence you used to make your choices.
Aslan in The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
Gandolf in Lord of the Rings
Obi Wan Kenobi
Radar O’Reilly on M*A*S*H
The Wizard of Oz
Alice in Wonderland
Hera or Juno
Joan of Arc
Nora in The Doll’s House
Three Witches in Macbeth
Tinkerbell in Peter Pan
Virgin Mary and Queen Elizabeth
Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
Little Red Riding Hood
Winnie the Pooh
Bartleby the Scrivner (Melville)
Captain Ahab in Moby Dick
Don Juan in Byron’s Don Juan
Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman
Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis
The Joker in Batman
Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Arizona English Teachers Association:
Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20th Century American Humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000: http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/OXHUMOR.aspx
Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Names and Naming in Young Adult Literature. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2007: http://www.scarecrowpress.com/
YA-Lit Web Quests, Jim Blasingame—Web Master: http://www.asu.edu/clas/english/englished/yalit/webquest.htm
Campbell, Joseph. The Portable Jung. New York, NY: Penguin, 1971.
Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1957.
Jung, Carl G. Four Archetypes: Mother, Rebirth, Spirit, Trickster. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1959.
Nilsen, Alleen Pace Nilsen, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20th Century American Humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.
Pearson, Carol S. Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World. San Francisco, CAP Harper, 1991.
Pollack, Rachel. Complete Illustrated Guide to Tarot. New York, NY: Gramercy Books, 1999.