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An archetype in literature refers to the concept that universal patterns exist within life. A maze archetype in literature is a text which requires a character to traverse a path which leads him or her through multiple challenges and dead ends. These challenges can be mental, physical, or both mental and physical.
Two examples of maze archetypes are Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In these texts, both main characters (Alice and Dorothy) must traverse both mental and physical maxes to insure that they are successful during their journeys. Alice's challenge forces her to face who she truly is and the fact that she must grow up. Similarly, Dorothy must realize, through the numerous challenges which she must face, her ability to be self-reliant (so too must the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion). In some circumstances, Dorothy's journey has been defined as a coming together of different part's of a singular character in order to find success in life (meaning that all four characters needed to unite in order to insure Dorothy's success in returning to Kansas). The maze archetype here refers to the "selfs" being lost at different places in life and needing reunion.
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