Scapegoats and tragic heroes: Using archetypal patterns in short stories
Australasian Association of Writing Programs
School of Arts and Humanities
Literary motifs such as archetypes can be very defining in short stories, since they provide the patterns that both authors and readers can easily resonate with. Studies have shown that archetypes are useful elements in the process of narrative patterning in literature. This paper explores the use of the Scapegoat and the Tragic Hero archetypes in my two short stories, ‘Her Tale on Earth’ (2014) and ‘The Day She Walked Out of the Gates’ (2014), to show how experimenting with these archetypes helped determine the shape of the each story’s structure, genre, and eventually the final form of each piece. While I was not immediately aware of my preferred character patterns, communicating my purpose through the stories led me to discover the right archetypes for my intentions. These stories are about characters who face adversity because of their complex parentage or heritage: themes which fuel my PhD research.