Archetypes Characters, Images, Situations 2016 Life of Pi What is an archetype? • In literature, an archetype is a typical character, an action or a situation that seems to represent universal patterns of human nature. • An archetype, also known as a universal symbol, may be a character, a theme, a symbol, or even a setting. • Many literary critics are of the opinion that archetypes, which have a common and recurring representation in a particular human culture or entire human race, shape the structure and function of a literary work. • Examples: • Every fairy tale has a princess, prince, king, queen, “wicked witch”, hero, “damsel in distress,” etc… • Almost all pieces of literature and even movies, regardless of their genre, have a theme of good versus evil to show a clash of forces. Usually, good will triumph over evil (but not always). 2 How will we analyze archetypes? Compare/ contrast by analyzing several archetypes found in Life of Pi - the novel versus the movie. What to consider: How does the movie’s “effects” (music, imagery, colors, speech, etc) show the book’s portrayal of the archetypes? Does the movie adhere to the archetypes’ symbolism and underlying meanings? Does the movie delete or alter certain archetypes? When you are tested on Life of Pi, it will be in the form of a comparison/ contrast argument essay. You will be able to and required to use the provided book/ movie comparison/ contrast chart. The chart will count as points toward your essay test grade and will be collected with your test. The book WILL NOT be used on the day of the test, so the more thorough your chart is, the easier it will be. You may choose to include quotes on your chart. 3 Characters: The Hero & Variations • • • The orphaned prince The scapegoat – takes blame for a situation and is often punished The loner or outcast: separates from society due to a physical impairment or an emotional/ physiological realization that makes the character different. (Buddha, Victor Frankenstein, Jesus) ● The underdog More “heroes” • • • • The Earth mother/ goddess: nurturing, life giving aspect of femininity The spirit or intellect The sage: elderly wise man, teacher, mentor. The oracle: male or female prophet; fortune teller The Villain • • • • • The bully The temptress: usually a female who uses her power to bring the hero to his destruction. The Earth mother/ goddess: nurturing, life giving aspect of femininity The spirit or intellect The sage: elderly wise man, teacher, mentor. Archetypal Images • • • • Colors: red, gold, green, blue, etc (anything that is repeatedly encountered) Water: source of life; cleansing, purification, baptism Fire: both protective and destructive; human knowledge (sun) Gardens: natural abundance; new birth; hope; Eden; paradise More images • Celestial bodies: sun, moon- passage of time; stars • Masculine images/ symbols: boats, trees, towers • Caves: can represent the womb (source of life) and the grave; entrance to underworld • Yin and yang: pair of opposites that complements or even completes the other; balance Archetypal Situations • • • • • The Quest The Faustian Bargain: selling one’s soul to the devil (metaphorically) in exchange for power, knowledge, etc Descent into the underworld Renewal of life: death and rebirth; resurrection The fall: marks a loss of innocence; moving toward a tainted life More situations • • Redemptive sacrifice: a loss that results in another’s gaining or regaining a desired state The taboo: the commission of a culturally forbidden act (incest, patricide, etc) often unknowingly or inevitably. A crime against nature.
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