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Archetypes In Shane Essay, Research Paper

In Shane by Jack Schaefer, actions and attitudes develop archetypes of two important men. Through their triumphs and failures, Shane is characterized as of a hero and mentor, and Fletcher as a shadow. Shane expresses the qualities of a hero, both physically and mentally. Shane appears in the valley with matching pants and an elegantly worn out coat and a black dress hat. This hero is aristocratic and well dressed in order to convince the reader that he is a mysterious character that has survived many battles. Shane s body is not as brawny as his friend Joe Starret s, but what he lacks in size and strength he makes up in quickness of movement, an instinctive coordination of mind and muscle and in a sudden fierce energy that burned within him. Heroes are not always powerful because of their strength, but for their aptitude or mental ability. Shane is admired for his acumen in solving problems. Shane relentlessly attacks Chris and Morgan as well as the stump which are obstacles in his seemingly smooth path. Shane courageously defeats Wilson to defend Joe and the other homesteaders. Shane demonstrates he is a hero by fighting with Wilson to support Joe for his right to his land. Shane only challenges the rival because he instinctively shields others from danger. The archetype of a mentor, portrayed by Shane, acts like a parent, guides the student and gives advice. Shane is the patient teacher, who trains Bob to handle a gun, to ride tall and straight in the saddle and who advises him that fighting is not learned, it comes naturally. The significance of Shane s impact on Bob is inestimable. Bob follows in Shane s shadows investigating the elegance of Shane s style. The first view of Shane is as though he is simply another stray horseman but Bob realizes he is very rare. Bob watches Shane from the moment he reaches the fork in the path through the time he crosses back through the threshold between his warrior life and his domestic life. Longing to be more like the secretive horseman, Bob studies Shane s every move. Shane demonstrates the archetype of a mentor when he is not pleased with his behavior that overpowers his patience and motivates him to thrash Chris body. He becomes ashamed of his actions and cradles Chris in his arms. His act of kindness to succor Chris is overheard by Bob and he realizes even though Shane must establish authority and power through violence that he is never any less courteous. Shane is evaluated by the effects which he has on other people and how he helps them.

Unlike Shane, Luke Fletcher is dedicated to the destruction of the hero. Fletcher is the single most powerful force which opposes the homesteaders. The main crisis between the homesteaders and him occurs when he desires a vast amount of open range for a significant contract with the Sioux Indians. Fletcher hires Stark Wilson, an experienced gunman, who is an influence for the homesteaders to leave. Fletcher, looking for land, selfishly covets taking the homesteader s land instead of investing in his own. Fletcher converts the homesteader s land into his own simply for the profits without permission from the homesteaders. When Ernie Wright, a weak man with a quick temper, agitates Wilson, it costs Wright his life. Finally, by attempting to shoot Shane in the back, Fletcher s tyranny over the valley is ended and every man turns against him. Throughout the story, two men are carved deeper, through their behavior, into their position in the valley. Shane, acting as a hero and mentor, mesmerizes the valley and leaves them in his past. Fletcher is obviously known as the defeated shadow in the end. Archetypes given to Shane and Fletcher represent that the way we act is similar to what we are and what we want to be seen as. Archetypes are merely the visions seen in the eyes of the viewers


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