Archetypes in TKAM

Archetypes of AfricanAmerican Men and Women
in literature, film, and culture
An archetype, also known as 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.
“Collective Unconscious”
Carl Jung (1875-1961), Swiss psychologist, argued that the root of an
archetype is in the “collective unconscious” of mankind. The phrase
“collective unconscious” refers to experiences shared by a race or culture.
--This includes love, religion, death, birth, life, struggle, survival etc. These
experiences exist in the subconscious of every individual and are
recreated in literary works or in other forms of art.
Common Archetypes in Literature and Film
Archetypes in Characters
Example #1--The Hero: He or she is a character who predominantly
exhibits goodness and struggles against evil in order to restore harmony
and justice to society
Example #2--The Mother Figure: Such a character may be represented
as Fairy Mother who guides and directs a child, Mother Earth who
contacts people and offers spiritual and emotional nourishment, and
Stepmother who treats their stepchildren roughly.
Example #3--The Scapegoat: A character that takes the blame of
everything bad that happens
Example #4--The Villain: A character whose main function is to go to any
extent to oppose the hero or whom the hero must annihilate in order to
bring justice e.g.
Archetypes in Situations
Example #1--The Journey: The main character takes a journey
that may be physical or emotional to understand his or her
personality and the nature of the world.
Example #2--The Initiation: The main character undergoes
experiences that lead him towards maturity.
Example #3--Good Versus Evil: It represents the clash of forces that
represent goodness with those that represent evil.
Example #4--The Fall: The main character falls from grace in
consequence of his or her own action e.g.
Function of Archetype
The use of archetypical characters and situations gives a literary work a
universal acceptance, as readers identify the characters and situations
in their social and cultural context. By using common archetype, the
writers attempt to impart realism to their works, as the situations and
characters are drawn from the experiences of the world.
a widely held but fixed and oversimplified
image or idea of a particular type of
person or thing.
"the stereotype of the woman as the
Idealized notions for slave
owners; justified the
system of enslavement:
Stereotypes of African-American Men in the
Antebellum South
Sambo: passive, happy, enjoyed slavery;
saw himself as a child of the slave master;
docile—projection of the “ideal” slave; this idea
was popular in Antebellum South
Coon: harmless, happy-go-lucky;
hates work; not a slave
Zip coon: not a slave, well-dressed,
“dandy”; uncivilized, barbaric, used
sophisticated words incorrectly
The Brute: -After slavery ended,
during reconstruction the vision of
the black male changed: he is now a
brute: violent, sexualized black male,
no self-control
Archetypes of AfricanAmerican Women in the
Antebellum South
Mammy: compliant; part of the
family; motherly, but not sexual;
typically a large bodied woman
Sapphire: physical
embodiment of maleness in
black women; dominate the
black male; sexless
Jezebel: hypersexual black
women; the seductress; has power
only in sex ---she can’t be raped
(meant to explain sexual violence)
In Missouri, October 1855, Celia fought back against master Newsome
who had raped her. She was then tried and executed. She had no legal
protection from rape or beatings from her master; and because of this,
she had to fight back.
Celia could not use “rape” as her defense because one had to be
a woman to be raped and slaves were not human beings---legal foundation to justify the stripping of “humanity”