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Friday, June 21, 2013

Dear Jeannie: Effect of Dystopian World on Archetypes

Dear Jeannie,

I've created a world based on China's one-child policy where the first son is kept and all girl children are given to an orphanage at birth. I'm wondering how being raised in this sort of environment would affect the classic character archetypes? Let's say my MC is a "care giver"--what kind of baggage would she bring with her?

Helpless in Houston 

Dear Helpless,

If you haven't read up on the Caregiver in my Character Archetypes 101 series, you can start there.
The core of an archetype won't change due to the environment. They simply act out their archetypical traits within that environment.

If your female heroine grew up in an orphanage, she would probably have been a parentified child, going around and helping the other girls. And in a severe dystopian-type world where all the girls are thrown out, most certainly there would be a lack of resources to care for the few adults manning the orphanages would welcome her help. She might be like a mother-figure to the other down-and-out orphans. Caregivers want to make a difference in the lives of others...this challenges them and really fulfills a need.

On the flip (shadow) side, she'd likely grow resentful if too much is put on her. In part, this would be her fault, due to her poor boundaries and not knowing when to say no. And even if the culture in accepting of the fate of girls (being discarded), it wouldn't lessen the curiosity and bitterness the girls (and your Caregiver) might feel at the actions against them. Perhaps in her zealousness to make the lives of the other girls better, she might advocate against the dystopian rule for girls being given to orphanages at birth.

Hope this gives you a starting place!


Dear Jeannie,

I'd love to hear your take on personality types/archetypes on some biblical characters. What can you tell me about the personalities of Ruth and Naomi?

Biblical Bookworm in Bethesda

Dear Biblical Bookworm,

You know, I really got into this kind of thing when I did a post on the Woman at the Well, psychoanalyzing her, for lack of a better term. I think that your question would better be served in a Character Clinic-type setting than in this format. I'll work up something on each of them and post them separately, because really, they deserve more attention than my little column can give here.

Hope that's OK....because I truly love looking into Scriptures with my therapist eye. So hold'll come later, but it'll be worth the wait. :)


Got Questions?

Post them anonymously below, using monikers like Sleepless in Seattle. I promise I'll get to them in future Dear Jeannie columns.