Project 2: Subverting Aristotle

Notes from course material (p.78-9):

Subverting the order of key plot points

  • Jean-Luc Godard (screenwriter, filmmaker, storyteller of the 60s) says the beginning, middle and end of a story don’t have to happen in chronological order.
  • In 1994, Quentin Tarantino cast aside the “narrative convention of linear time and brought Godard’s […] idea into the mainstream […] with Pulp Fiction.
  • Pulp Fiction = postmodern work of art
    • “Delights in fracturing convention and playing with the scattered fragments.” (CAT text, p.78)
    • Postmodernism: “A late 20th-century style and concept in the arts, architecture, and criticism, which represents a departure from modernism and is characterized by the self-conscious use of earlier styles and conventions, a mixing of different artistic styles and media, and a general distrust of theories.” – English Oxford Living Dictionaries [accessed 1/06/17]
  • Research point: Read/Listen to Christopher Butler’s Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction.


Character – some basics

  • Protagonist = main character in story
  • Antagonist = character/force directly opposed to protagonist
    • Both are character “archetypes,” recognizable storytelling devices that serve a function in a story.
    • Other examples of character archetypes: the Wise Fool, the Sidekick
    • The Shapeshifter: is s/he helping or hurting the protagonist? It depends/can change as the story evolves. Plot function of this archetype is that s/he adds to the intrigue/suspense/excitement.


Exercise 2

Additional character archetypes that come to mind

  • the (feminine) Suffering Beauty – had a prof at university developing a theory about this character archetype
  • the Bad Mother
  • the Mad Scientist
  • the Self-Destructive Artist
  • the Casanova
  • the Absent Father
  • the Problem Child (usually a boy)
  • the Bookworm
  • the Socially-Awkward Intellectual
  • the Jekyl-and-Hyde

Additional archetypes following some research online:

  • This link [accessed 1/06/17] provided an outline of one strand of Carl Jung’s research, which identified twelve basic character archetypes, including: the innocent, the (regular) orphan, the hero, the caregiver (mothers); the explorer, the rebel, the lover, the creator; the jester, the sage, the magician, the ruler.
  • This article provides a long list (with associated adjectives) of character archetypes, the following of which are familiar enough to conjure up easily: The Feminist, the Beast (ugly exterior, pure interior), the Career Criminal, the Femme Fatale, the Guy’s Guy, the Narcissist, the Loner, the Scapegoat, the Troubled Teen.


Archetype vs. Stereotype

Archetype: definition [accessed 1/06/17]

  1. A very typical example of a certain person or thing, an original which has been imitated; a prototype.
  2. Psychoanalysis: (in Jungian theory) a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious.
  3. A recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology.

Stereotype: definition [accessed 1/06/17]

  1. A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
  2. A person or thing that conforms to a widely held but oversimplified image of the class or type to which they belong.

In my own words:
The key difference between archetype and stereotype seems to be the reductive, often grotesque or somehow caricatured, oversimplification of the latter.

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