Last but not Least

the 4 Archetypes who Complete Jung’s 12

The Everyman.  The Lover.  The Innocent.  The Trickster.  Last but not least, these four characters provide rich ground for story beyond the same-old same-old.

Of these four, only the last seems to have any potential as a story’s protagonist.  They would seem to be the last choices.  Yet when we examine them more closely, we discover that they may be last but not the least in that selection.

In these unexpected protagonists lie the truth of life.  Never forget Jane Austen :: 

Jane Austen can get more drama out of morality than most other writers can get from shipwreck, battle, murder, or mayhem.  ~ Robert Blythe

The Everyman

Jung calls this archetype the Orphan.  Everyman is the modern take on the term.

The Everyman fits in with everyone.  S/He (Always remember that the archetypes can be viewed from either gender.) is a good friend to all.  With “street smarts” gained over time, s/he is very aware of how people and society work, even if s/he never lived “on the streets”.

Like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, the Everyman comes wired to understand the hidden networking.  S/He thrives through understanding the interconnections within any social system.

The Everyman’s Downfall

The Everyman can stumble into irresponsibility.  Understanding the interconnections,

It's a Wonderful Life
George Bailey on the Bridge

s/he can find ways to slip away from obligations.  Everybody’s friend can actually be no one’s friend as s/he plays upon friendship to “pass the buck”.

Look at George Bailey’s uncle:  the perfect example of the irresponsible Everyman.

And George himself provides us with the Everyman as victim, especially when he stands on the bridge and contemplates abandoning his obligations through suicide. 

The Everyman can also turn into the victim: “oh poor me.  What a poor life I’ve had.”  In controlling the networks, s/he can manipulate others into co-dependency.

Yet when the Everyman takes control of his story, when he rejects the victim and becomes the leader, everyone benefits, everyone is enriched, from story characters to the readers.

The Lover

The Lover archetype is driven to bond.  Familial, relational, social, physical, spiritual:  no matter the type of bond, the Lover will seek intimacy.  In doing so, s/he may leap over the walls that some people have, enforcing friendship too soon.

The Lover wants that zing of love.  Like Gary Oldman’s Dracula who is driven to bond with Mina, the blood connections drive him.  He is the top predator building his pack, ruling them with a velvet-gloved hand.

S/he needs the constant sustenance of the relationship.  Without it, the Lover will feel abandoned.

However, the Lover is capable of great sacrifice to keep the loved ones safe.

One Side of the Lover’s Downfall

Heathcliff has an instant and soul-deep connection with Cathy of the first generation.  Denied the closer bond of sex, he turns on those he believes interfered, and the Cathy of the second generation suffers from his revenge.

Heathcliff provides the example of the self-impetus that destroys this character.  In this

Heathcliff, obsessed and manipulative, trying to control Cathy

respect, he is last but not least, for he drives his belief that he was “last selected” to punish everyone he believes de-valued him.

  • First, he jumped to the conclusion that he would be denied the bond he sought.
  • Second, his love turned to obsession. In this respect, he takes on the Stalker Mentality:
    • Controlling and manipulative
    • Focused on self needs rather than love for the other.
  • Once the obsession is in place, he cannot release it. To abandon the obsession is to destroy the connective bond.
The Other Side of the Lover’s Downfall

The Lover can mistake that connective bond as copulation.  Rushing too quickly into relationships, the Lover risks getting burned.  Or the sustaining family bond could have failed, leaving the Lover crippled in how to build and maintain a relationship.

This archetype may mistake physical intimacy for relationship intimacy.  The Lover then becomes the bed-hopping siren or seducer.  Obsessed with the high of attraction and sex, s/he will be unable or unwilling to analyze the reason no deep connection ever occurs.

Worse, the crippled Lover may only objectify the other person.

The Innocent

The idealistic Innocent is often a trusting optimist.

We need Innocents in our lives.  They look forward with hope.  They see the potential for sunny skies when all around them are storms.  While some of us slog through the rain, they’re singing and dancing in it.

That can be very frustrating.

However, their bright shiny helps us see the end.  They spot the rainbow first because they are always looking for it.

Sam Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy keeps Frodo on the trail, even to the point of carrying Frodo when he can go no farther.  He has bought into the mission, and he sees the possibility of success.

Rue in The Hunger Games and Forrest Gump are two more examples of the Innocent.  They may be considered last, but their influence is certainly not the least, giving hope when all hope is dissipated.

The Innocent’s Downfall

The blind cannot lead the blind.  When the Innocent loses touch with the stone-hard reality of a truly impossible situation, s/he will refuse to acknowledge the truth.  S/he will have great capacity for self-denial.

Those who trust too much are easily burned.  Those who are burned too much become ashy cynics, burning everyone else.

The Innocent who comes through the fire, properly valuing the miracle of love and community, that is a true hero, definitely last but not least.

The Trickster / Fool

Many teen-agers think they are Tricksters because they like to play tricks.  All they want is to have fun, which is the Fool’s defining trait.

Many writers mistake the Trickster as a prankster of evil intent.  This is not truly the definition of a Trickster.

Coyote of Native American myth never cared about the consequences of his actions because he never considered them.  He thought it was enough that he was “acting” and having a good time.

Getting joy out of life should be the goal of all of us, but we need to temper it with good sense, something the Trickster may claim to have done as everything crashes down.  However, the Trickster merely considered the best outcome of the prank, not all the outcomes of the prank.

Alex Foley in Beverly Hills Cop is the perfect example of a Trickster. He appears to have no better sense, but he has a wily innate cleverness, much as Odysseus eventually gains.  Alex Foley is the best example of the Trickster.

Click here to see a trailer of this classic 1980s flick.

Capt. Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, however, is the classic Fool.  Sparrow spots something to do, sees how it will work out if everything works out, and heads straight into the event.  He is gifted with the god’s own luck;  nothing will always work out for the best.  Disney has weakened this character by always providing a deus ex machina.  

The Trickster’s Downfall is to Become a Fool
Illustration by Henry Justice Ford
Odysseus Kills the Suitors

Too obsessed with cleverness, the Trickster will constantly upend things just to have done so.  When the consequences to others are not be considered, s/he becomes the self-absorbed Fool.

The Drunken Fool is another downfall of this archetype.  Seeking a good time, s/he can become addicted to alcohol or caffeine, sugar or drugs, video gaming or adrenal rushes, anything to give a sustained high.  The dark side devolves to gluttony, ruled by temporary satisfiers like food or liquor or cocaine, high speed or pranks or petty vandalism.

If the Fool never suffers consequences (just like teenagers), s/he will spiral down to greater problems.

Odysseus—after foolishly announcing himself to the blinded cyclops—eventually learns to control his Trickster side.  He begins to use it cleverly, such as his trickery against the suitors who had overrun his home.

However, not telling his long-suffering wife of his return—that is classic Fool behavior.

Next Up

These Last but not Least four archetypes complete our survey of Jung’s 12 characters.

In the next blog, we start a closer examination of the 12 Stages of the Archetypal Story Pattern, launching with the importance of the Ordinary World.

Join us on the 10th and 20th of every month as we examine the classic Story Arc that should guide all plotting.

~~ M. A. Lee

Building Characters :: Strong Women, part 2

The last blog presented “Bright Lights and Hot Messes” as we delved into building Strong Women for your stories . . . and in your life.  We presented the primary forms of the female lead protagonist in her positive and negative forms.

 

 

Positive Negative Jungian
Alpha Queen Bitch Ruler
Beta Counselor Courtier Seeker
Gamma Non-Conformist Rebel Little Miss Independent Destroyer
Delta Visionary Missionary Caregiver

 

Both hero and heroine seek to balance the dual sides of their nature.  In balance, they have achieved maturity and harmony with the world and social constructs.

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.” ~ William Makepeace Thackeray

Ancient fairy tale presents the yin and yang of both protagonists.
In a dual story arc, Hansel rescues Gretel from the forest’s dangers, but it is Gretel who outwits the evil witch & rescues her brother.

Patterned the Same, but Games Change

I would be remiss were I not to acknowledge that the heroine has her own struggle as powerfully and viscerally transforming as the male’s arc, fully expressed as Joseph Campbell’s monomyth.

However, a woman’s conflict often is a metaphorical competitive hero-against-monster.  Her monster might be domestic abuse or the repression of a totalitarian patriarchal society.

The heroine’s conflict—as with any hero’s—remains one of the individual against community or society.  Or the conflict may be the self against the group.  Or even individual identity against the collective thought.

Hollywood sexes up this srong woman even more than in real life.
Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich

Her weaknesses are similar, just cast in different concepts.

  • An ancient hero like Theseus might struggle against a minotaur.
  • An ancient heroine like Medea might struggle against a foreign culture (embodied in her husband Jason) that views her as less and wishes to cast her aside.
  • A modern hero might struggle against a corporation that stole his invention, as in Flash of Genius, the 2008 film directed by Marc Abraham. for a Trailer of the film, click here.
  • A modern heroine will struggle against a corporation destroying a community’s environment while also challenging mores of a woman’s image in society.  This is Erin Brockovich, the 2000 film directed by Steven Soderbergh. for a Trailer of the film that reminds you of the heroine’s challenges, click here.

The patterns remain the same. 

The archetypal journey propels the hero and the heroine to godlike status.  (Apotheosis is the big word.)  That transformation might also be coercion, as sometimes the protagonist is pulled and pushed into the journey.

In broad strokes, the transforming journey of the hero and the heroine are the same pattern.  

Strong Women, however . . .

Valerie Frankel writes examinations of pop culture’s media, Game of Thrones and Sherlock and Mortal Instruments.  She presents the heroine’s journey as its own structure in her From Girl to Goddess:  the Heroine’s Journey through Myth and Legend.  Click here for a link to the book.

One reviewer notes, “Numerous stories . . . reveal heroines who battle for safety and identity, thereby upsetting popular notions of the passive, gentle heroine.  Only after she has defeated her dark side and reintegrated can the heroine become the bestower of wisdom, the protecting queen and arch-crone.”

One problematic idea within the Heroine’s Journey is her need to reject the feminine, assume the masculine, before returning to and becoming accepting of her feminine self.

In her introduction of Girl to Goddess, Frankel comments that the broad archetypal pattern is clearly seen in many works.  For heroines it is “a different story veiled beneath the hero’s, but just as ancient, just as valid, just as universal and empowering.”

Genetic Wiring in Strong Women

While all humans are wired for curiosity and amiability (my 31 December 2016 blog “New Advent :: One Resolution :: Be a Writer”), women have additional wires, two of which are paired yet vastly different.

(And yes, both males and females have these wires, just not as strongly, for we are both yin and yang.)

Men are competitive, with each other, with “the other”, with the world.  Just look at any little boy on a hiking adventure.  The competitive instinct drives out of him.  The others in the group, the rocks, the stream, the mountain climb, the boulder scramble: he is overjoyed to have something to pit himself against.

Women are cooperative. We focus first on unifying our community.  We nest with ourselves, our families, our friends.

Little girls become must upset at arguments in the family and between friends.  Their nest is threatened.  They lean naturally into carrying their baby dolls in their backpacks on that hike.

Women want to enrich the local sphere.  We feel called upon to reach out and bring others into our embrace.

Frankel agrees:  “The true goal of the heroine is to become this Archetypal All-Powerful Mother.

For this strong woman, the connection is undone.
Medea About to Murder Her Children by Eugène Delacroix (1862)

“Thus, many heroines set out on rescue missions in order to restore their shattered families.”

The horrific Medea—who eventually murders her ex-husband Jason’s new bride, the bride’s dad, and then her own children—begins by wanting to restore the destroyed family unit.  Jason’s humiliating and total rejection of Medea drives her to wipe out any connection to him.

The children via their shared DNA is her greatest connection to him. 

Those little children never had a chance once she looked at them as mere connective tissue to a man she decided to destroy completely.

Strong Women protect the Nest

Stories of young women on quests to restore their nest abound in myths and fairy tales.

  • The heroine of the Seven Swans who uses nettles to weave cloth to save her accursed brothers.
  • Simple Psyche who ventures even into Hades to win back her love Eros.
  • Aataentsic jumps after the Sky Tree and its healing fruit to save her sick husband . . . which leads to the creation of a new sphere for humans.
  • Beauty agrees to enter the Beast’s castle to save her father’s life.
And strong women also kill.
  • Sygny’s revenge on the destroyer of her destroyed family requires her to wipe out the family he forced upon her, a lesson to all such men who think women are weak creatures.
  • Jael recognizes the enemy who is attempting to destroy her people. She offers him her tent.  When he enters and falls asleep because he believes he is safe, she drives a tent peg into his temple.

“This goal (of protecting the nest) does not indicate by any means that the girls are trying to ‘stay at home’ or ‘play house’.  Although they redeem beloved family members or potential husbands, these heroines’ work as hard as any fairy tale hero.  And they do it WITHOUT SWORDS.” (Frankel) (my emphasis).

Frankel’s last comment “without swords” is important.  Strong Women . . .

  • depend on cleverness.
  • enlist the aid of strangers (the other).
  • up-end the situation to look at it with a different perspective, all to achieve their goal. 

Yes, some become KickAss protagonists.  On that journey, as scary as any fully-armored hero, they become as terrifying as the ancient Medea.  They are motivated by familial love or revenge based on familial destruction.

 

KickAss 2010 directed by Matthew Vaughn presents a dual story arc of protagonists with the same goal of “protecting the nest.”

An even more fun film with a dual story arc of protagonists is the 2013 Hansel and Gretel:  Witchhunters.

Try it.  

Join us on the 20th for the last segment of Building Characters.  The last 4 Jungian character archetypes are discussed in “Last but Not Least.”  After that, we launch into story development.

~~ M. A. Lee

Now released is the fifth Hearts in Hazard book.  The Dangers for Spies, on Amazon Kindle, has the special introductory price of a penny less than a dollar.

The sixth book in the Hearts in Hazard series ~ The Dangers to Hearts ~ will publish in April.

D4Spies brings back the character of Toby Kennitt from A Game of Spies while D2Hearts brings back Jess Carter from A Game of Secrets.

 

The Dangers for Spies

Released March 10, 2017

Past actions cause present dangers.

The French spy, a double Agent

Eugenie DesChamps thinks she is safe, hidden in the English village of Little Houghton.  She paints landscapes to supplement her income.  She embarks on a flirtation with Charles Audley.  To her the world seems radiant, so very different from eight years ago.

No one knows that she once was a toast of Paris, a pretense she used to acquire information to pass on to English spies.  Eugenie hated the corrupt French government that had caused the deaths of her family.  Then a French agent discovered her double game.  She barely escaped with her life.

The English Spy, Undercover

Eight years ago, Tobias Kennit worked with Eugenie, stealing information about Napoleon’s troop movements.  Then their operation crashed.  He fled, believing that Eugenie was executed as a traitor to her home country.  Toby abandoned his undercover spying and became a gamester and a rake.

Yet now the English spycatcher Roger Nazenby has approached Toby once more.  He wants him to protect a cryptographer living in the village of Little Houghton.  French spies have infiltrated England to capture Charles Audley and return with him to France.  Toby agrees to the assignment only because the woman he wants to marry (Melly Ratcliffe) lives in that village.

The Master Cryptographer

Charles Audley returned to his home village for peace and quiet after stressful years in London developing a series of ciphers for English agents.  His latest ciphers led to English victories in the Peninsular War. 

In Little Houghton, he is charmed by Eugenie DesChamps, a mysterious French artist.  Their flirtation distracts him from his cryptography, but he feels no guilt whenever he is in her company.

Lives Collide

When Toby sees Eugenie, he is shocked.  Eugenie is not dead, and he wants answers from a woman he thought was a double agent.  Is she in Little Houghton to help kidnap the cryptographer?  She convinces him that she is not—but who is the threat to Charles Audley?  And can they protect Audley when they do not know when or where the attack will strike?

And Danger Returns

French agent Didier Poulaine has spent eight years weaving together the snippets of threads to help him locate the only two spies who ever escaped him:  Eugenie de la Croix and an Englishman masquerading as a French military officer.  He tracks them to Little Houghton, the location of the cryptographer he came to England to kidnap—or kill.

Poulaine’s threads have woven together.  Three lives intersect again and involve a fourth.  Blood will be shed before the past is purged.  Whose blood?

Investigate more: Click here.

The Dangers for Spies is a romantic historical suspense set in Regency England, part of the Hearts in Hazard series.  While this novel and The Game of Spies have interconnected characters, D4Spies is a complete work on its own.  However, readers will have a richer experience if they have also read The Game of Spies

Approximately 49,000 words.