Snow White: An Archetypal Journey

Here’s a very interesting article submitted by reader Martha Nodar on the subject of archetypes. Ms. Nodar earned a gift certificate to childtherapytoys.com for her submission. Learn how you can do the same!

Snow White: An Archetypal Journey

         Once upon a time, Jung (1953) argued that archetypes are shared universal and implicit patterns of behavior which reside in the collective unconscious. For instance, the Child archetype is innate in every psyche (Myss, 2001) and almost needs no explanation. Fear of rejection is a characteristic associated with this archetype and it is frequently explored in fairy tales such as in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs—the story of a princess rejected by her family who is thrown into a journey of survival, both literally and metaphorically. Jung emphasizes it is important to understand the meaning of the symbolism behind the archetype. In other words, what does it mean to have the Child archetype and how does the fear of rejection is likely to manifest symbolically in one’s life as the result?

Child-Orphan Archetype

        While Jung (1953) focused on a few major archetypes, Myss (2001), a Jungian analyst, has expanded Jung’s repertoire to cover different dimensions of the major archetypes Jung suggested. She contends that although humans share four major symbolic archetypes in their collective unconscious (Child, Victim, Saboteur, and Prostitute) (Myss, 2001), there is usually one archetype that seems to be more prominent in an individual’s psyche. For instance, in the case of Snow White, Myss (2001) proposes, the princess embodies the Child-Orphan archetype (a dimension of the Child archetype), which includes those who feel “they are not part of their family. . . [and yet, oftentimes]. . . succeed at finding a path of survival [after] having won a battle with a dark force” (p. 372). Snow White’s dark force is her wicked stepmother who wants to see her dead. Consistent with Myss’ arguments, one of the characteristics associated with the Child-Orphan archetype is the ability to build a network of friends—illustrated in the story through the princess’ relationship with the dwarfs and Prince Charming. One of the aspects of the shadow side of this archetype is the extent to which one may be vulnerable to be indiscriminately trusting of others who may have a hidden agenda. This dynamic is symbolized in the fairy tale when the princess trusts the disguised wicked stepmother and eats the poisoned apple.

Check out the full article here: Snow White

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