Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Guest Blogger: Lucy Markham - Using Universal Archetypes in Children’s Literature

Using Universal Archetypes in Children’s Literature

by Lucy Markham 

Archetypes have been used in folklore for centuries to help adults and children alike understand the concepts of good and evil in storytelling. These archetypes are just as effective and important in modern children’s literature as they have been in mythology.

As the holiday season is approaching, there are several valuable lessons that can be learned from the Christmas story found in the Book of Luke. The reason why stories such as the Christmas story are so popular with children is because it presents archetypes such as the hero, the great mother, the devil, and the mentor, all universally recognizable characters that help children quickly relate to a plot line. The Christ child’s mother was said to be the most virtuous and beautiful above all other women, the Angel Gabriel appeared not only to Mary, but also to her fiancĂ© Joseph to provide counsel and instruction to the couple. At the same time, there is a king, truly the representative of evil that is trying to rob all women of the joy of their baby boys.

The story of Christ continues by the baby boy growing up to be the martyr and best known hero of all time. His life is surrounded by characters such as the devil in a representation of being a trickster, a damsel in distress who will be killed without his help. These stories can be worked into your own children’s story to provide clear and recognizable characters. Why do you think so many children’s stories include an evil queen, a virtuous princess, and a knight in shining armor? These are terrific archetypes to help a story move a long and help children learn valuable life lessons of good prevailing over evil and the main characters overcoming triumphs and temptations.

As you are writing your own children’s story, consider the popular archetypes and how you can create your characters and their traits, flaws, and triumphs to help children dive into the story and understand easily with the familiarity of these universal archetypes.

Lucy Markham has a Bachelor’s Degree in English: creative writing from the University of Florida and worked as an academic and career counselor for three years before pursuing her Master’s degree in Education. She enjoys blogging, taking online classes in creative writing and discovering new books.


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
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The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this article. I have often thought about archetypes and their value in children's literature. Ms Markham has given a good, but brief, introduction to the topic. I'm going to dig a little deeper to find other appealing archetypes for children's literature.


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