Griet: An Archetypal Hero

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An archetypal hero appears in all forms of literature, mostly known for its presence in religions and mythologies, but the hero itself is an expression of our “personal and collective unconscious” (Campbell’s A Hero With a Thousand Faces). In the novel, The Girl With a Pearl Earring, the main character, Griet, is arguably an archetypal hero due to her actions and character. The novel portrays a realistic fiction genre–taking place in the 16th century–about a maid named Griet, who has to support her family by making a stable income. As she serves a painter and his family, Griet has to mature early, learn the hardships of being a maid, and deal with the multiple conflicts she must face if her family will ever survive. Yet as Griet recognizes…show more content…
The atonement is a part of a quest where the hero undergoes a process of accepting their new transformed self, where the protagonist evolves into a hero. When “[Griet] made [her] choice” at the eight-point star in the center of Delph, “she knew the choice [she] had to make” (216) was to marry Pieter. Notably, this is the most debated and controversial scene in the novel because she has so many options to liberate herself, yet she chooses to stick with Pieter. Many claim Griet did not have a choice to marry him because he could provide her family with food, money, and a way out of poverty. Griet’s concern for her family welfare forces her to marry Pieter. However, it is clear that Griet loves Pieter and she could have chosen him as a lover, not an opportunity. Just as she leaves the eight-point star, she “went the way it told [her], walking steadily” (216) towards her future. The use of the pronoun it describes an imaginary force, like love, pulling her towards her fate, which in fact led her to Pieter. Even though truly she decided to go with Pieter and that she could have done it for many reasons, the reader infers that she is confident in her decision as she “[walks] steadily” (216) towards
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