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Finding Your Psychological Archetype From Books and Film

Updated on January 29, 2012

General Archetypal Categories

In the spirit of example, I am actually more the innocent archetype.
In the spirit of example, I am actually more the innocent archetype. | Source

What is an Archetype?

There are a lot of different definitions for "archetype". I could go into it, but it can get complicated very quickly. So, to keep things simple, we will only be concerned with this one definition: the idea, thought, or image that mirrors a person's psyche unconsciously. You have aspects of your self that you are unconsciously showing to change your perception of yourself to yourself. Basically, these archetypes are essentially you, including how you act and how you think of yourself.

Characters in books and films are based off of several different types of personalities--or archetypes. An example is the "Mary-Sue" character. This isn't an archetype, per se, in which you will find it listed by Carl Jung, the person who came up with this type of psychology. But the "Mary-Sue" character is the popular, nice, caring girl who everyone loves. She is "sticky", and without her the group of friends will not be the group of friends. She glues them together.

Many people can relate to this type of character. But some of those find that they do not really like that character--their favorite character is someone else in the film or book.

This is essentially the definition of "archetype" that we are going to be talking about. It is a personal archetype, not general. General is a cover-all, but it can leave gaps. We will view how to find your personal archetypal traits and what that means,

What Movies Do You Watch? Finding Your Archetype

To find your archetype, which shows you what lessons you need to learn in your life or what type of person you want to be, you need to be intrapersonal. This means you need to look inside yourself and pay attention to who you are. But you can figure yourself out by first looking at your interests. So to start, what movies do you watch? What are your favorite movies?

Write out a list of five movies you watch. Write down your five favorite movies, although any movie that you particularly enjoyed could work. (I will follow my steps for you to see, so forgive me if my nerd shows too much)

The List of Cammiebar's Favorite Movies

  1. "Kiki's Delivery Service"
  2. "The Mummy"
  3. "Laputa: Castle in the Sky"
  4. "A Christmas Story"
  5. "Howl's Moving Castle" (I know,I know. I like Hayao Miyazaki movies a little too much)

After you make your list, add to it. Next to each title, write the name of your favorite character that is in that movie. If you have several, pick the one that you think you would like best. Then write out two to four descriptive words about the character. Once again, I will demonstrate it with my hugely nerdy list.

The List of Cammiebar's Favorite Movies

  1. "Kiki's Delivery Service" -Kiki (happy, hard-working, determined, klutz)
  2. "The Mummy" -Evelyn (klutz, smart, determined, responsible)
  3. "Laputa: Castle in the Sky"-Pazu (happy, determined, capable, hard-working)
  4. "A Christmas Story" -Ralphie (determined, naïve, persistent)
  5. "Howl's Moving Castle" -Sophie (kind, dependable, positive, hard-working)

Once you do that, you can compare the character traits of your favorite characters in your favorite movies. Pay a lot of attention to the traits that pop up frequently.

I have happy/positive three times. Determined appears four times. Hard-working appears three times. Klutz appears twice. Smart appears once. Responsible/Dependable appears twice. Persistent and naïve appears only once. Happy, determined, and hard-working are seen the most out of them all.

Now look at those traits that appear the most. Those are the character traits that make up your own personal archetype. For me, I relate to hard-working, determined, happy people who try to do everything that they can to reach their goal while being positive. Mostly, it is a strong female lead.

This process can also be done with books and in the same way. But to save myself from exposing my nerd again, I will just continue on with the hub.

So, What Does That Mean?

Once again, take me as an example. We already went over what my personal archetype is. Therefore, in my life, I try to be like that and I didn't even realize it until archetypes were pointed out to me.

I found characteristics that I liked and emulated them. I wanted to shape myself into that type of person. I admired those who were kicked down in the dirt but still were able to get back on their feet and fight back while staying positive and hard-working.

That was the lesson that my psyche felt it needed to learn! I needed to learn to remain hard-working and happy. I all-too-often will give up, get lazy, get sad, or just fall way short of my archetype. But when I watch those movies, I feel energized again. I am ready to face whatever I need to and be that archetype. This works almost every single time. And that is the same for my mother's archetype, which is a strong female with a lot of power and will (think Sigourney Weaver in "Aliens" and you have my mother's archetype)

So what is your archetype? What characters do you relate to the most? What are those characteristics that you are unconsciously desiring?

Is it the goofy, under-dog hero?

Is it the strong, fighting spirit?

Is it just the class comedian?

Tell me what you think in the comments! And if you want to learn more, just search for Carl Jung and Jungian Archetypal pedagogy.

In conclusion, your personal archetype is a reflection of yourself. There are main types that were created by Carl Jung, but not everyone fits those archetypes one hundred percent. A personal archetype is more in-depth for you--which is why it's called "personal". It lets you know how you want to be and live your life.


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    • Cammiebar profile image

      Cammiebar 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Matthew, I'm glad I'm not alone, then haha All the best!

    • Matthew Ryczko profile image

      Matthew Ryczko 5 years ago from Ohio

      Neat hub (: Also a nerd since my list is half Miyazaki as well lol

    • Cammiebar profile image

      Cammiebar 5 years ago from Upstate New York


      I don't think you're a sociopath because you are realizing that you are teetering on the edge of it haha But finding out your archetypes are fun. I'm also a klutz! Thanks for stopping by!

    • colpolbear profile image

      colpolbear 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Let's see.....That makes me caring, highly intelligent, clever and........a sociopath! Haha. Fun Hub.