Mercurial Essays

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Archetypes or stock characters in Literature

1. The Hero; savior; Christ; the tragic hero
2. The Great Mother; mother earth
3. The Wise old man or Sage
4. The Trickster or Fox
5. The Devil or Lucifer
6. The Mentor
7. The mad scientist
8. Prince Charming
Common Conflicts in Literature
|The Individual versus Nature|Individual versus fate|
|The Individual versus Society|Individual versus self|
General Themes in Literature
|Death is natural|Power corrupts|The Great Battle|The American Dream |
|cycle in life| | | |
|Good versus Evil|The Great Journey |The Fall from Grace| |
|Alienation|Coming of Age (Loss|Revenge| |
| |of Innocence)| | |
Biblical references:
1. baptism- rain-water: death and rebirth; transformation; renewal
2. birds (esp. a dove): can represent the soul, spirit, or diving
manifestation; often a symbol of peace; spirits of the air; spirits of
the dead; ascent to heaven; ability to communicate with gods or to enter
into a higher state of consciousness; birds frequently accompany a Hero
on his/her quest; birds are also messengers of the gods.

3. bread -life; the food of the body and the soul; ‘the bread of life,’ the
body of Christ’
4. crown-the crown of thorns placed on Christ’s head; honor; dignity; the
points of a crown symbolize the rays of the sun
5. exile- Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden
6. fish- symbol of Jesus in Christianity; fishes are also symbolic of
devotees and disciples swimming in the waters of life
7. flood- Noah’s Arc
8. fruit or apples -fertility; love; joyousness, knowledge; wisdom; but
also deceitfulness and death
9. garden-paradise; ‘The garden of Eden’; ‘the garden of God’
10. kiss of Judas is betrayal
11. serpent-Evil or the devil
12. Twelve- twelve days of Christmas; Jacob had twelve sons; twelve tribes
of Israel; twelve apostles of Jesus
Other basic references
13. circles: can present totality, wholeness; is infinite; eternity;
timelessness as having no beginning or end
14. colors:
|Black: symbolizes|Blue: truth;|Purple: royalty;|
|darkness or evil; the |revelation; loyalty; |power; pride; truth; |
|darkness of death;|peace; coolness |justice|
|Gold: illumination;|Green: reproduction; |Red: may represent the|
|wisdom; diving power or|prosperity; peace;|sun and all war Gods; |
|God; radiance; glory; |youth; ‘green with|love; joy; sexual|
|endurance |jealousy’ |excitement, blood or |
|White: simplicity,|Orange: flame; fire; |Yellow: the light of |
|light, purity,|luxury|the sun; intellect;|
|innocence, chastity||intuition; faith and |
|||goodness |
15. earth- The Great Mother; Mother Earth;
16. east-the rising sun; dawn; Spring; hope; childhood; youth
17. fire/flame-transformation; the power of the sun; renewal of life;
power; strength; energy
18. forest: a place of testing and initiation; a place of darkness where
the forbidden takes place
19. a hand: often a symbol of power, strength or a blessing; ‘the Hand of
20. journey: may represent an internal journey; a journey of growth and
21. light: a manifestation of God or divinity; life, truth, illumination
22. moon: is usually represented as the feminine power; the Mother of
Goddess, Queen of the heaven
23. owl: the bird of wisdom
24. phoenix: a universal symbol of resurrection and immortality, of death
and rebirth by fire
25. seasons
|Spring-birth;|Winter-cold, something|
||bad-thundering rain |
|Fall-death, things coming to an|Summer-children are out of |
|end |school, fun, hot, freedom. |
26. sun: is usually represented as the masculine power, the universal
27. water: a return to a state of purity, death to an old life and a
rebirth of a new beginning or life

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