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A repetitive pattern in many different literary stories is widely known to many but actually recognized by few. This type of pattern is referred to as an archetype. An archetype is a complex literary term that can be found and understood by examining literature.
The first place that archetype can be examined is in Cinderella stories. The Traditional Cinderella story that we have all heard sets our standard for archetype in different cultural stories having Jewish, Indian, Chinese, and modern-day settings. In the Indian Cinderella story, “The Rough Faced Girl,” there are many archetypes that are seen but the Cinderella archetype stands out. The girl, referred to as the rough faced girl, is an archetype in the Indian’s cultural story. This general character, a girl wanting to gain more respect and happiness, is seen throughout different cultural stories of the Cinderella sort.
Along with characters in stories, archetypes can also be recognized in main plots or ideas in stories. The death archetype is seen in different myths throughout history, being shown in the “Coyote and the Origin of Death” and “The Origin of Death.” When humans tried to find the reasoning for things, they made up myths that seemed to make sense. Different people created different myths, thus making way for the archetypal patterns. Death is in stories and poems that we have read. In “Coyote and the Origin of Death,” the coyote is the trickster that makes death present in the village. In “The Origin of Death” the hare’s mistake causes death to be present in today’s world. The idea of the trickster in the myths of death formed the end result of death being present in the world today. The repetitive pattern of the concept of death is an archetypical pattern.
Finally, creation stories can carry out many different archetypes, thus creating room for expansion and in depth literary exploration. In the creation stories “The Storytelling Stone” and “How the World Was Made,” the stories all explore the main archetype of establishment and development. The events leading up to the world as we know it today, is described through having the impact of one main character that “saves the day” and completes the myth. In “The Storytelling Stone,” the village listens to the rock’s stories daily and memorizes them. The villagers are then able to pass the stories onto future generations, forming structure for a pattern, such as the creation pattern. In “How the World Was Made,” the turtle character is the only one that can carryout the deed needed to form the world. After he has done this, the world is created and the creation archetype is in place. The examples of archetypes are seen through the villagers creating myths and the turtle creating the world.
Archetypical characters, myths, and stories are seen throughout literature in some of the most complex ways. In order to find these archetypes, one must deeply understand the meaning and structure of the term archetype. Through observation and knowledge, we have found patterns of archetypes in the stories we so often read today.