Archetypes Essay

The three folk tales discussed in this essay are littered with several types of archetype images such as water, sun, colors, serpent, numbers, and the trickster. This approach allows the reader to have insight into the ending and allows for a more picturesque story. Archetypes are devices used by the author to convey a deeper sense of meaning to the author. They are also used by the author to give hints about future events to the reader (foreshadowing).

The Brother Coyote and Brother Cricket was one of suspense and trickery. The main archetypes that were featured in the story were the number seven, water ( the Tank of the Seven Coons) rising sun (time of battle), the trickster (cricket), and black (crow- what the coyote sees right before he agrees to do battle).The number seven in context with this story probably means the completion of a cycle because the story goes full circle with the starting by the coyote almost killing the cricket and it ended with the cricket almost killing the coyote. The number seven also means union. For example, each of the animals was able to get their army together to fight. In context with the story, water (river) means the transitional phases of the life cycle because it was at the Tank of the Seven Coons when the coyote realizes that being bigger does not always means being better and winning. The rising sun (sun) most probably means enlightenment and law in nature because the story focuses mainly on nature, and it means enlightenment because the coyote realized that the cricket and his army night me able to overcome the coyote and his army. The archetype of The Trickster might be referring to the cricket because it is in the cricket’s battling strategy that the cricket’s army is able to overcome the coyote’s one. The cricket mentioned in the story that he picked “all the people that had stingers and can stick.” The archetype of black is mainly referring to primal wisdom because once again, the cricket was very particular of the soldiers that he selected to be a part of his army and the place where he wanted the battle to be fought. The character trait that causes the coyote to be deceived is that the coyote was egotistical. The coyote learned that size is not all that counts and that brains is mightier than brawn.

The story of Lazy Peter and his Three Cornered Hat is one that features a con man who is desperate to earn money. The main archetypes that were featured in this story were the color red, the number three(red, three-cornered hat-the tool of trickery) and The Trickster. In context with the story, the color red probably means disorder because Lazy Peter turns the farmer’s life upside-down because he conned the farmer out of 10,000 dollars. The number three, in context with this story, means unity because every person gives Lazy Peter his bag of money back. This also touches upon spiritual awareness and light because only an honest person would have given Lazy Peter his bag of money back. In addition , one of the people the Lazy Peter goes to is a priest, so that could represent spiritual awareness. Another archetype that can be found in this story is The Trickster. The trickster could mean both Lazy Peter and the farmer because Lazy Peter tricks the farmer into thinking that the hat is priceless. The farmer is also a trickster because he thought that he had tricked Lazy Peter into selling a priceless hat to him for 10,000 dollars. Therefore, Lazy Peter also has a positive side because he gives the farmer a taste of his own medicine by tricking the trickster. The character traits that cause the farmer to be deceived are greed and gullibility. The farmer learned that things are not always as they appear.

The story “Pumpkin Seed and the Snake” was one that was entertaining with a surprise ending. Some of the archetypes that are located in this story are four, three, snake, river, green, and white. The location of each archetype in the story is as follows: four – the amount of times that the snake removed the rock from the garden, three – the amount of times that the widow tries to kill the snake, snake – one of the characters from the story, river, the location of the colorful bubbles, and green and white – two of the colors of the different types of bubbles. The number four means earth and nature because the widow and her daughters have a garden and the snake is an example of an animal. The number three probably means spiritual awareness and unity because the snake transforms into a human and back and that should not be possible. The archetype of snake means mystery, wisdom, sensuality , and a symbol of energy and pure force because it is a mystery how the snake transformed into a human and back and the colored bubbles might have been a test to see whether or not Pumpkin Seed was a good listener or not. The snake might represent a symbol of energy and sensuality and pure force because it moved the rock from the garden four times and the snake wanted to marry one of the widow’s daughters. The river might mean the mystery of creation because the snake goes to take a bath and it returns as a human. The archetype white most likely means happiness, the supernatural, and innocence because Pumpkin Seed was very happy when she received the riches, the snake transformed between reptile and human, and the daughter acted innocent when she scooped up the green bubbles. The color green most likely means death and decay because the bubbled yielded deadly green snakes that stuck to her hands after she disobeyed the snake.

In conclusion the authors of all three folk tales used archetypes to make the stories more compelling. In Brother Coyote and Brother Cricket the author reinforces his theme about not being egotistical by using a trickster (the cricket), the setting of a water tank where the coyote learns his lesson and the reference to a crow (black) reflecting the primal wisdom of the cricket in outsmarting the coyote. In Lazy Peter and his Three Cornered Hat the author reinforces his theme of all is not always what it seems by using the archetype of trickster whereby Peter tricked the farmer into paying him a fortune for the useless hat. It was the farmer’s greed for money that made him gullible to Peter’s trickery. Of course Peter‘s plan would not have worked if the stand owner, druggist and priest were not honest. In Pumpkin Seed and the Snake the author tells a compelling story of the supernatural using the archetypes of the number four referring to nature (garden, snake), snake which ties in the sensuality (marriage), mystery( transformation of snake to human) and the river inferring creation where the snake changes into a human.

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