Friday, April 8, 2011

The archetype of Mentors

I wouldn't be reading how to write a novel type of books but this one I found quite interesting.
I haven't read it from cover to cover. I was just shuffling through it.
It is called " the writer's journey" by Christopher Vogler and it basically tells the mythic structure for storytellers and screenwriters.
There is a part where he explains about the archetypes of mentors that usually appear in stories.
You will be happy to know that the word "mentor" comes to us from the Odyssey. There was actually a character called Mentor and he guided the hero Telemachus on his Hero's journey so there you go...
Any way moving onto the more interesting part...
They say in this book that the Mentor is usually the positive figure who aids and trains the hero.
I must disagree. Baddies are mentors too even though they are not here to help the Hero, they have their part in making them grow. Like what would be Luke Skywalker without Dark Vader? Huh? Just an average Jedi but in the face of the enemy, he overcomes who he is to become greater than he is.
Still moving on, in the anatomy of the human psyche, mentor represents the Self, the god within us.

So the archetypes:
The Dark mentor : he is the anti mentor who appears to guide the anti hero on the road to destruction.
The Fallen mentor: the mentor who experiences a crisis of faith in their calling.
The Continuing mentor:  the ones who keeps giving assignments.
Multiple mentors: it is pretty self explanatory or do I have to say it? The Hero have a series of multiples mentors to teach him or her.

Comic Mentor: it does have to be a funny person. In holliwood movies, she is usually the same sex as the Hero and would give advice about love like offering to make the husband jealous and then the situation will get worse or comical.
Mentor as a Shaman: the healer or medicine man
Mentor as an inventor: like the mad scientist or the revolutionary genius
The inner mentor: the main character has internalized the archetype and it now lives within him as an inner code of behaviour, like the grand father who died as a hero.

Any way, I found that quite fascinating. Not that you wake up in the morning starting your new book thinking: "oh I wonder what  my Hero is going to surround himself with? Should I go for the Fallen mentor or a Comic one?
Yeah a dreamland...that would work.

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