Thesis Glimpse: Integrating Art and Literature

I need to create a solid color wheel analogy for my seminar project.

Essentially, I’m saying that the archetypes (mentor, herald, guardian, trickster, shadow, shapeshifter) are hues. The Hero and Villain are white and black respectively, and the archetypes are either heroically tinted or antagonistically shaded depending on whether they’re emerging from/influenced by the Hero or Villain.

All of the above (Hero, Villain, and all secondary archetypes, are aspects of the Self, the whole, which is in this case the Color Wheel. The Self contains all possible forms, all potential combinations of color and light and shadow.

Historically Joseph Campbell viewed the archetypes as aspects of the Hero. The Villain was lumped in with the Shadow, and the idea was that if all the archetypes re-combined, the result would be the Hero.

My theory is that, as portrayed above, the Hero and Villain deserve equal footing in the equation, and that the archetypes are aspects, but not of the Hero. They are aspects of the Self. The Self, being the framework, never manifests as its own character in the story, as opposed to the Hero, who does….

Welcome to my life right now, and a fraction of the reason I’m panicking.

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6 thoughts on “Thesis Glimpse: Integrating Art and Literature

  1. tessagratton says:

    Speaking as someone who has written a thesis, and who is constantly trying to impose quasi-academic metaphors onto my writing life: This sounds really keen.

  2. patesden says:

    As a fan of Campbell and of color, I think your theory is facinating and right.
    Earlier today, I was having a discussion with a friend about taking author photos and using color for branding–ie what background colors make you look more studious or artistic . . . now you’ve got me thinking which hues would best represent which archetypes. Gah!

  3. God, but I love that theory and those points, and I so think you can (to borrow from Tim Gunn) make it work. For real.

  4. veschwab says:

    Haha thank you. It’s a design thesis, meaning I’m actually designing the book the text goes into, so I needed something visual.
    Excuse me while I disappear into my studio hole again!

  5. veschwab says:

    Thanks, I hope it works. It had to be a visual metaphor so I could apply it across my book (design thesis = design entire book for thesis text to go into).

  6. veschwab says:

    Ooh author photos, very exciting.
    I adore Campbell, so writing a thesis that basically says “I like the way you look at it, BUT how about this?” is probably a terrible idea. I’m essentially saying that I believe hero and villain each deserve consideration as primary branches of this larger thing, the Self, or integrated whole, and that the archetypes can no longer be considered aspects of the hero because they have manifested into their own entities.
    UGH.

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