Importance Of Archetypes In A Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man

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Every classic novel shares some commonality with a preceding novel. This is not to say that no current writer can obtain any originality, only that writer’s face extreme difficulty in creating authentic concepts. Jean-Luc Godard once stated, “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.” Inasmuch, by comparing the themes of a work to general themes and motifs in Literature as a whole, one will find what is formally known as an archetype. To fully understand the usage of archetypes, one must first grasp what an archetype is. By definition, an archetype is “ ‘a very typical example of a certain person or thing’ usually seen as a general label that invokes immediate understanding in the listener or reader (like when someone calls your character a “player” in contemporary romance or a “rogue” or “rake” in historical romance).” ("On the Importance of Archetypes: Jayne Ann Krentz’s Perspective on Romance Fiction.") To narrow the scope, in James Joyce’s classic novel, A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, many of his characters and plot choices serve as common archetypes. Three archetypes employed are: the quest, the transformation, and the sidekick. The first archetype evident in A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man is “the quest.” In this common paradigm, “the main character takes a journey that may be physical or emotional to understand his or her personality and the nature of the world. For example, Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”, Fielding’s “Joseph Andrews”, Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travel” etc.” ("Archetype - Definition and Examples.") In Joyce’s novel, the same idea plays true through the main character, Stephen. Stephen’s quest in the story serves less as a physical journey and more of a psychological search o... ... middle of paper ... the university, Cranly, stays up for long talks about Stephen’s problems and feelings, as all friends should. Indeed, Cranly also never fully understands Stephens yearn for freedom, similar to how Ron Weasley never fully comprehended Harry’s yearn to do everything alone. Towards the end of the novel, Cranly’s final act of friendship is the advice given to Stephen to honor his mother and take communion. Archetypes are found in every novel, primarily because what would any great story be if it did not have some of the most riveting characters and concepts; James Joyce’s A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man is no exception. Joyce clearly understands the usage of archetypes, and uses many of them throughout his novel. Three archetypes evident are the Stephens quest through philosophy, Stephen's transformation as an artist, and the role Cranly plays as a sidekick.

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