Archetypes in Literature: Settings

Now let’s talk about settings archetypes
• Cultivated and carefully planned. Restricted to certain vegetation.
•Habitat of the Great Mother (Mother Nature), the lunar force. Fertility. The vegetation and animals flourish in this “green world” because of the sustaining power of the Great Mother.
Symbolically the primitive levels of the feminine psyche, protective and sheltering. Those who enter often lose their
direction or rational outlook and thus tap into their collective unconscious. This unregulated space is opposite of the
cultivated gardens, which are carefully planned and are restricted to certain vegetation.
• Represents life and knowledge
Caves and tunnels
• Deep down where character delves into self
• Place that character goes when “invisible” or inactive
• At the extreme may signify death
Mountains and peaks
• Highest peak is place to “see” far
• Place to gain great insight
The River
• Crossing river may symbolize new territory
• Rivers can be boundaries or borders & on the other side is
something new or different
• May represent human life or time passing as we follow the river
from its source to its mouth
The Sea
• Vast, alien, dangerous, chaos
• Waves may symbolize measures of time and represent eternity
or infinity
• Stands for purification; the sprinkling of water (baptism)
washes away sin. Water of fountain gives new life (Knapp 32).
• Microcosms or small worlds unto themselves
• Represent isolation or get-a-ways

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