Background and Literary Thought. Existentialism and The Catcher in the Rye. Existentialism Explanation.
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This term is related to the psychology of Karl Jung who holds that behind each individual’s “unconscious”(blocked off residue of his/her past) lies the “collective unconscious” of the human race---blocked off memory of our racial past, even our pre human experiences.
The literary critic applies the term to an image, a descriptive detail, a plot pattern, or a character type that occurs frequently in literature, myth, religion, or folklore; therefore, believed to evoke profound emotions in the reader because it awakens a primordial image in his/her unconscious memory; thus, calls into play illogical, but strong responses (the archetype).
The archetypal critic tends to see each work of literature as a portion of the total human experience.