Archetypes as the Basis of Every Piece of Literature

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Archetypes the basis of every piece of literature. Archetypes are the overall concept of certain patterns of behavior, objects, and statements. There is an abundance of different archetypes that aid in portraying ideas and imagery to an audience. Archetypes can be found in mythology, literature and the arts. Given that there are different types of archetypes, five are highlighted in the

The Memory Book, by Laura Avery. Tragedy, the symbolic object, the setting, the character, and the plot situation are archetypes that are expanded upon and described in abounding ways throughout this novel.The Memory Book by Lara Avery, is an alluring novel that depicts will power, aspiration and dependence. Samantha Mccoy is a normal girl who plans to graduate high school and attend New York University, all while being ranked at the top of her class. She is one of the best debaters at her school and plans to attend debate Nationals to compete with some of the highly respected debate teams in the nation. However; Samantha's once happy life takes an unexpected turn when she is diagnosed with Niemann- Pick Disease that causes memory loss. This inhibits her of achieving her dreams of going to college.

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Samantha makes a plan to write in a journal every day to remember everything about her life. However while she is figuring out how to adjust to life with this disease, Samantha finally gets the boy she has been crushing over. Soon, Samantha will be faced with a life altering decision after accidentally falling for another boy, her childhood best friend. The tragedy archetype is established through a characters substantial downfall. This archetype is especially crucial to the storyline of this novel. The tragedy affects the main character in a severe manner, which inflicts conflict with herself, her friends, and the community. Unfortunately, Samantha McCoy was diagnosed with Niemann- Pick Disease Type C. “The wrong kind of cholesterol builds up in the liver and spleen, as a result blockage collects in the brain. The build up gets in the way of cognition, motor functions, memory, metabolism-- the works” (Avery 6).

This archetype is the backbone of the story, it depicts her willpower as well as her struggle to overcome the downfall. Samantha must learn how to have a positive outlook on life even with these struggles. The underlying story of many books and movies are based off of a certain tragedy, with an important lesson interlaced. The Memory Book has incorporated this certain tragedy to portray to the reader the importance of being optimistic through a downfall. A symbolic object archetype is characterized by a certain object in the story that has an specific significance to the main character or characters. These objects help portray the message the author is trying to put forth. In this novel, Samantha uses a diary on her laptop to record her thoughts throughout the day. “I am writing this for you. They say my memory will never be the same, that i'll start forgetting things...I’m writing this book for you. How can you forget something with this handy document for reference?” (Avery 2).

The author, Lara Avery’s purpose of this object is to depict how the main character handels this tragedy. Diaries and journals are powerful tools that help express one’s feelings or thoughts. A diary is used in several books and movies, like the novel series Diary of A Wimpy Kid. Diaries are used to help the character keep an accountability of their life. Keeping an accountability of one’s life can help connect the character to the story and other characters around them. Lara Avery choose this object archetype to show readers how Samantha McCoy remembers. The setting archetype is what affects a character's growth and development throughout a story. Without a setting, the character and plot archetypes would have no meaning. In this novel, the author uses the highschool setting to help readers visualize and develop a connection to the story. Most readers have also been to highschool, making it is easier to relate to the story. The highschool setting helps to speculate Samantha's concerns with losing her memory while being a high school student. Readers can understand how frightening this must be while she is also trying to get accepted into college. However; the small town setting plays a role in Samantha's character development as well. “I live in Vermont, but as you know, South Stradford is a town of five hundred” (Avery 2).

The small town helps readers get an understanding how easy it is for Samantha to walk into town and not have to rely on transportation to get places. This also shows how alarming it is for Samantha to get forget her way in such a small town. The character archetypes main purpose is to mimic real personalities and situations in order for readers to relate to the story in a more personal way. Readers must be able to connect to at least one character so the story has a valued meaning. The author Laura Avery, chose the popular character archetype to portray Coop, Samantha's neighbor and childhood best friend. Coop’s popular character also ties in with the highschool setting in showing the diversity of students in high school. “Coop became a star pitcher and made friends with the popular kids. I became a debater and made friends with no one” (Avery 36).

By making Coop popular, Samantha now has the struggle of trying to rekindle their friendship while being shy and apprehensive. This becomes a big sector in the book later on. The memory book also emcompasses plot situational archetypes, which are rags to riches and star crossed lovers. Rags to riches is common in many books and movies, the main character is most often portrayed as disliked but ends up developing through the story weather that happens to be becoming popular, rich, or more sociable. In this novel, the main character Samantha Mccoy is unpopular and lies low, not having any intention to make friends. “Once upon a time, future Sam, you were fourteen, and you were tremendously unpopular” (Avery 6). However; throughout the book Samantha starts to become more sociable while hanging out with her debate team partner. Samantha starts to come out of her shell, go to parties and make friends. This situation archetype is what gives Samantha the guidance she needs to branch out of her comfort zone before she loses her memory. Star crossed lovers is also portrayed.

This archetype is two lovers who are longing to be together whoever, there is a force keeping them apart. This is grounded to be one of the most prodigious situational archetype in this novel. After crushing on Stuart Stahl her whole highschool career, Samantha finally gets asked on a date. Samantha and Stuart become inseparable as their feelings grow stronger. However; while dating Stuart, Samantha starts to fall in love with Coop. Coop and Samantha must keep their feelings hidden from Stuart, or they will risk Samantha and Stuart’s perfect relationship. This makes Stuart the force that keeps Samantha and Coop from falling in love. This archetype develops Samantha, Coop and Stuart’s characters as they are faced with love and heartbreak. This obstacle leaves Samantha to figure out what her heart wants all while finding her way in life. In writing

The Memory Book, Lara Avery created an inspiring character readers will never forget. Tragedy, the symbolic object, the setting, the character, and the plot situational archetypes all played an important part in this novel. These archetypes created a journey that only a strong willed girl like Samantha, could manage. Samantha Mccoy truly expressed how to open one's heart in the hardest of times. Most importantly this novel leaves readers with the joy of finding beautiful moments in the midst of difficult times.

Works cited

  1. Avery, L. (2016). The Memory Book. Hachette UK.
  2. Campbell, J. (1949). The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Pantheon Books.
  3. Frye, N. (1957). Anatomy of Criticism. Princeton University Press.
  4. Jung, C. G. (1969). The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Routledge.
  5. Propp, V. (1968). Morphology of the Folktale. University of Texas Press.
  6. Wheelwright, P. (1962). Metaphor and Reality. Indiana University Press.
  7. Bettelheim, B. (1976). The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Alfred A. Knopf.
  8. Von Franz, M. L. (1980). Archetypal Patterns in Fairy Tales. Inner City Books.
  9. Eliade, M. (1959). The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. Harcourt, Brace & World.
  10. Barthes, R. (1972). Mythologies. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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