The Trickster Archetypes

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An archetype is a human experience or symbol that is universally known and accepted. Archetypes can be images or stories passed on through history. Carl Jung, a prominent psychiatrist in the early 1900’s, used archetypes in his theory about the human psyche and how humans can recognize these symbols because they reside in the collective human subconscious. Some common examples of archetypes are The Hero, The Mentor, The Mother, The Villain and many more. Archetypes like these can be seen in everyday things like books, tv or movies. In The Complete Stories by Zora Neale Hurston there are many different archetypes in each story but three prominent ones are The Trickster, The Devil or Evil, and The Hero. In the novel The Trickster archetype is followed by Coon Taylor in the story The Eatonville Anthology. Coon Taylor is a known thief around Eatonville but nobody can really catch, seen when the author writes “Coon Taylor never did any real stealing. Of course, if he saw a chicken or a watermelon or muskmelon or anything like that that he wanted he’d take it. The people used to get mad but they never could catch him.” (62) Coon Taylor is a trickster because he is a petty thief but one who can not get caught. Other Tricksters in the novel are Sweet Back and Jelly from Story in Harlem Slang. While they are not thieves like Coon Taylor they are still Tricksters because they are liars, only lying to one up and impress the other person. “Put your money where your mouth is”, he challenged, as he mock-struggled to haul out a huge roll.” (129) “Jelly slammed his hand in his bosom as if to draw a gun. Sweet Back did the same.” (131) When these characters are arguing they begin trying to be better than the other person as shown in these quotes... ... middle of paper ... ...ory as a savior and the person who freed the slaves. He is compared to the great historical figure King Arthur. The author writes “Like King Arthur of England, he has served his people, and gone back into mystery. He waits to return when his people shall call again.”(142) This is an example of John de Conquers great power and leadership. John de Conquer was considered the true freer of the slaves. He put the idea of ending slavery into the people's heads and gave slaves hope for when it would end. The author portrays this when writing: “John de Conquer had done put it into the white folks to give us our freedom, that's what Old Massa fought against it, but us could have told him that that it wasn't no use. Freedom just had to come.” (143) John de Conquer was a Great Hero in this story because he was a symbol for hope and freedom and that is what he gave the people.

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