Jun 25, 2012

New Feature - Archetypal Awareness

My first post in the A to Z challenge was on archetypes.  When I first thought about doing A to Z, I thought about doing all of them on archetypes but thinking through the different archetypes, finding examples, explaining the differences was just too much for one month, and looking back on that, I'm VERY happy I didn't attempt that.

However, the idea of archetypes has been ruminating in my head ever since, and then I attended a great class at a conference in May about them, and realized what a great value an awareness of archetypes can have when fleshing out a character, figuring out what could happen in a story, development of setting, etc.

So, I'm starting a feature on Monday spotlighting an archetype in literature - calling it archetypal awareness :)

To start with, and to keep this post from becoming too long, I thought I would just give a quick explanation of what an archetype is.

Carl Jung started studying stories from all across the globe and realized there were patterns in the stories being told.  He explored the idea of the collective unconscious - something that is present in the minds of people across cultures and time period, kind of like a memory that all humanity has.  Joseph Campbell took this idea and further explored it, recognizing that Jung was right and wrote many books about it.  This is why there are so many stories that we hear people say, "It's just like when _______ does ________."

There are archetypes of themes, symbols, images, characters, plots, settings showing up in dreams, myths, fairy tales, folklore, religion and literature.

In fact, Star Wars is so full of archetypes that a full (really well done and entertaining) documentary was created explaining them.

(This is the full thing - 90 minutes.  I warned you.)


Do you know much about archetypes?  Have you studied much of either Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell?  

15 comments :

Hildred said...

Oh Jung. I studied him reluctantly in my mandatory philosophy class in uni. Oh Campbell. I studied him inside and out during all my elective religious courses in uni. :P (Although I much prefer his works on Abrahamic religions as opposed to Eastern ones. uuuh.)

We had to dissect The Hero's Journey a time or two. Pretty much required reading imo for any fiction writer out there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I haven't studied them in depth, so this will be a cool series. Yeah, might've been a bit much for the Challenge!

Michelle Gregory said...

i've only looked at Jung's stuff on personality and use it extensively when i'm coming up with my characters. i'm going to have to watch the Star Wars documentary when i have more time.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Haven't studied either in depth. Look forward to hearing more!

Cassie Mae said...

Assigning homework on the off season, huh? ;) Don't worry, I'm one of those people who loves to do some research! (Especially if it's related to Star Wars)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I know the theories about archetypes but don't think about it too much. Maybe I should.

Leigh Covington said...

No, no, and NO! Dude, I totally need to learn more about this! In a BIG way! Glad you shared. This will help a lot!

Andrew Leon said...

Yeah, I've studied them both and have a Campbell book here I need to read. Archetypes are important; sounds like an interesting series. Looking forward to it!

S.P. Bowers said...

I know a little about archetypes but I'm looking forward to going in depth. Thanks for thinking of this.

Miranda Hardy said...

Very interesting information. I had not done serious research in archetypes. This will be interesting to learn on all levels.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wish I'd gone to that class. I've heard the term many times since I started writing, but I'm still not totally clear about what they are, so I'm excited for your series.

Emily R. King said...

Ooh, do light and dark! Or hot and cold! Or the Christ figure! (I'm really getting into this, aren't I?)

Obviously I think this is a smashing idea, Tasha. I look forward to your posts.

elizabeth seckman said...

Studied Carl Jung in my counseling classes. The thing that stuck with me was when you encounter a person who at first sight, you loathe...you have met your alter ego.

Joshua said...

I'm thinking back to all the books that are on a shelf in my writing area, the ones I got back in college during workshops and such. "The Hero's Journey" by Christopher Vogler springs to mind, as does "GMC: Goal, Motivation, & Conflict" by Debra Dixon. I also found this archetype list a few years ago. An interesting reminder of types.

ali cross said...

What a cool idea Tasha! And I'm totally checking out that video ...