The Archetypal Theory on the Works of Guy Vanderhaeghe

I am halfway reading through he book The Englishman’s Boy, by Guy Vanderhaeghe. At this time I have learned what the story is about. Most of the characters have already been introduced and some of them are well developed by now. This blog is about applying an archetypal analysis to the story so far. “An archetype is a symbol that is universally known that crosses literature, text, time and culture.  We see these in characters, settings and surroundings within the story” (Warner Jordan Education).

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What path will he take?          http://bitcoinprice.tech/bitcoin-price-prediction/

I will make some predictions to the novel based upon my observations found. Finally, I will show how a hero’s journey archetype is being followed by characters in two different time settings in the book. This makes me want to read more of this book to see if my predictions are correct.

 

 

Other archetypes are explained by Jeannie Brauninger in her Youtube post on Archetypes and Symbols. I found an example of classical archetype using “colors and scenery” (Brauninger). “From there I can see the South Saskatchewan River, the frozen jigsaw pieces bumping sluggishly downstream, the cold black water steaming between them… But now the movement of the knotted ice, of the swirling debris, makes it plain” (Vanderhaeghe 5). Here, the first symbol I noticed is the season of winter. This archetype represents a lifeless existence. The color black signifies “darkness and a state of melancholy” within the main character (Warner Jordan Education). I noticed the same kind of archetype used to set how Harry begins his story working for Best Chance Pictures in Hollywood: “watching extras drift by in a yellow light creeping towards dusk” (Vanderhaeghe 9). I compare this symbolism of pieces of ice drifting in South Saskatchewan River to the extras drifting by as the day gets darker towards dusk.

Furthermore, as Harry is leaving Mr. Chance’s house after accepting the job from him, and before going on his mission, I uncovered multiple archetypes: “Going down the long white corridor that morning, descending the long curved stairs, I feel the same anxiety I experienced earlier…Out of the corner of my eye I catch the ladder-backed chair isolated on the cold marble floor of the ballroom, the strangeness of its position” (Vanderhaeghe 25). Going down a white corridor symbolizes “positive aspects; descending does not” (Brauninger). Finding Mr. Chance’s chair in the middle of a cold empty room has archetypes symbolizing feeling alone and without life. This would represent Chance’s life.

By understanding these symbols, I am predicting that the mission is going to be a flop.

Wait for the outcome in my next blog.

A Hero’s Journey

I find Harry’s character going down a Hero’s Journey. “The Hero’s Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization” (Volger).

Outline to the Archetypal Hero’s Journey

(http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero%27s_journey.htm)
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The 12 Stages of the Archetype Hero’s Journey

The chart I made below shows how Harry is going down this Hero’s Journey and provides the quotations from the book to match the definitions of each stage of the archetypal trip.

Harry Vincent: Hero’s Journey

Hero’s Journey Description Quote Interpretation
1 Ordinary World

“The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress” (Volger).

“I am a young man standing at a second story window in the script department of Best Chance Pictures watching extras drift buy in a yellow light creeping towards dusk” (Vanderhaeghe 6) Harry Vincent’s career is really boring and he has not progressed as a writer in the picture studio company for many years. Harry is introduced as a character you can sympathize with. I sure can, my summer is put on hold as I take this English course as I watch my friends drift by enjoying their time off.
2 Call to Adventure

“Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change: (Volger).

“When I summon the courage to ask Fitzsimmons where he was taking me, all he says is, “To see Mr. Chance” (Vanderhaeghe 9). Harry’s luck is about to turn when he finds a note on his desk asking him to wait for Mr. Fitzsimmons at the end of the day. The owner of the company, Mr. Damon Ira Chance, signed it.
3 Refusal of the Call

“The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead” (Volger).

“It would be a great opportunity for you, to write a big picture, wouldn’t it, Harry? We both leave that question unanswered because the answer is obvious” (Vanderhaeghe 22). He is offered the job of finding Shorty McAdoo. Harry’s mission is to interview Shorty without having him know who he is working for or that the notes will be used to write an epic film. Harry expresses uncertainty and senses danger ahead in taking the job offered by Mr. Chance.
4 Meeting the Mentor

“The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom” (Volger).

“With Fitz’s hand on my elbow, I find myself being steering to the front of the sofa where a man in a three piece oatmeal tweed suit is sitting” (Vanderhaeghe 14). Here, Harry meets the owner of Best Chance Pictures who acts like a mentor. Mr. Chance gives advice and the means to carryout the mission such as a car and an expense account.
5 Crossing the Threshold

“At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values” (Volger).

 

“Harry Vincent, detective, is sitting in a car…keeping a grey frame building known as the Waterhole under surveillance” (Vanderhaeghe 53). Harry is now into a world he has no experience in. Just as the archetype explains that the hero enters a region without known all the rules or values.
6 Test, Allies, Enemies

“The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World” (Volger).

 

not yet
7 Approach

“The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world” (Volger).

not yet

I am sure he will be tested having to sort out allegiances in his mission. This is the next step of the twelve-stage hero’s journey archetype.

Guy Vanderhaeghe flip flops every other chapter from Harry’s story, on a mission to find and interview Shorty McAdoo, to a story about an Englishman’s Boy set in the old wild west. These two stories in the book are separated by time. I found plenty of archetypes on this parallel older western story. I noticed that the Englishman’s Boy is also on a Hero’s Journey. I used the same kind of chart to demonstrate how he is going on the same archetypal trip as well.

Englishman’s Boy: Hero’s Journey

Hero’s Journey Description Quote Interpretation
1 Ordinary World

“The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress” (Volger).

“didn’t approve of his referring to the white boy as his manservant” (Vanderhaeghe 28). We are first introduced to this hero as manservant but he has no name. Working under the Englishman, the boy is very uncomfortable and does not like his job or current situation. Similarly to Harry, we sympathize with the boy who struggles with his employer and state of being.
2 Call to Adventure

“Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change”(Volger).

“Dawe suddenly cried, “Nanny! Nanny!, Nanny!” in a high voice of a little child, then he curled himself up on his pallet and died” (Vanderhaeghe 41). The boy’s employer dies. He now faced to fend for himself in a foreign land. This is a dramatic change that forces his life into a new path.
3 Refusal of the Call

“The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly.   Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead” (Volger).

“The door slammed and the boy sniffed the cold air, looked deliberately up and down the street” (Vanderhaeghe 42). The boy did not what direction to go or what to do next.
4 Meeting the Mentor

“The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom” (Volger).

“You want to ride with us in the morning I can scare you up a horse” (Vanderhaeghe 51). The boy meets his mentor. His name is Hardwick and the leader of a group of wolf hunters. This gang had their horses and several wagons filled with furs and pelt stolen by Indians.
5 Crossing the Threshold

“At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values” (Volger).

 

“Whatever circumstances call for” (Vanderhaeghe 52). The boy agrees to be part of the gang and his life enters a new path with really not knowing what he to do. The mission instructions from Hardwick were very vague.
6 Test, Allies, Enemies

“The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World” (Volger).

 

not yet
7 Approach

“The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world” (Volger).

not yet

Similarly, I am sure he will be tested having to sort out allegiances in his mission as well.

The big question is if The Englishman’s Boy grew up to be Shorty McAdoo. I am really attracted to this book because I need to find this out and tell you all about it.

 

Work Cited

Vanderhaeghe, Guy. The Englishman’s Boy. Toronto: McClellan & Stewart Ltd., 1996. Print.

Warner Jordan Education. (2014). Archetypes in Literature – Random.    https://youtu.be/d88L8F8jboc. Accessed July 12, 2017. Web.

Volger, Chris. (1985). Hero’s Journey. http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero%27s_journey.htm. Accessed July 11, 2017. Web.

Brauninger, Jennie (2013). Archetypes and Symbols. https://youtu.be/jYqe4T-Pjj4. Accessed July 12, 2017. Web.

 

 

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