Archetypal Stereotypes In Winter's Tale

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The Refutal of Women’s Archetypal Stereotypes in Winter’s Tale The female protagonists of Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin transcend the traits of Carl Jung’s “Soul-mate” archetype. The Soul-mate is beautiful, passive, fragile, and her role is to standby as the fulfillment and inspiration for her saviour. Rather than having a productive function for the progression of the plot, the Soul-mate is meant to be the achievement for the male protagonist to attain. Helprin initially gives the women the “Soul-mate” qualities to specify their archetype, but later demonstrates the diversity and complexity that goes beyond their archetypal stereotypes. Christiana Friebourg, Virginia Gamely, and Beverly Penn, represent the Soul-mate as they are physically…show more content…
As a child, her instinct to save Athansor from drowning represents her heroic initiative, rather than remaining the role as the victim. “She [touches] his neck, urging him…with complete concentration and single-mindedness” (375). This event occurs when Christiana is a child, emphasizing her innocence and purity, but her choices of action counter her presumed feeble persona as the Soul-mate. The traditional Soul-mate’s role in a conflict is to immediately cower, and await a man to solve the predicament; Christiana’s instinct to jump into the water to save Athansor exemplifies her role as a hero, and defies her role as victim. Athansor a symbol of purity, further emphasizing Christiana’s virtues. This is a pun on her name Christiana, relating to Christian angelology, where virtue is considered the seventh highest order of the celestial hierarchy. Angels are perceived guardians for the greater good, just as Christiana deems herself responsible to be a saviour. This bravery and determination is Christiana’s first representation in overcoming the limited expectations in female characters. She takes the initiative to leave Marcel, who tries to define her as inadequate on her own, “She [opens] a bank account, [stocks] the refrigerator, and [furnishes] the place, all before noon” (391). In completing all the tasks before…show more content…
Though she is never educated in a school, she has a vast range of knowledge, and the ability to formulate her own ideas and . This comes from the knowledge of Mrs. Gamely, “She [can] easily discuss 150 subjects in an hour, and Virginia [still finishes] awed and enlightened by what [seems] to be a relentless and perfect plan” (225). This debunks the idea that the Soul-mate is only entitled to a dainty and soft-spoken image. Helprin castigates the educational system in the process, as Virginia is able to learn at a greater extent without school. Virginia is enlightened by these conversations because she wholeheartedly cares about the past, present, and future of the world, and she is aware of its impact on her life and destiny. In contrast to the Soul-mate who is dainty and frail, Virginia is almost godly in her physical and mental capacity. She does not hesitate to contradict Mr. Fteley who doubts her capability, “The world is full of leaden slugs like you … You hope that mountain climbers and acrobats fall, that daring bridges collapse” (243). This shows Virginia’s determination to be more than people expect her to be, and does so without feeling compelled to garner others’ approval. Her words imply imagery of acts humanly close to flying, and the act of going where others
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