And of Clay Are We Created

by Isabel Allende

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In "And of clay are we created", what are the archetypes?

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Very interesting question! An archetype is an original or fundamental imaginative pattern that is repeated through the ages. An archetype can be a plot, an event, a character, a setting, or an object. These archetypes can therefore be seen to appear in a number of stories throughout time. You might want to think to what extent this story contains "stock" characters. To me, one of the stock characters is the President whose words and promises are empty. Consider how he is presented:

He went to the Army field tents to offer relief in the form of vague promises to crowds of the rescued, then to the improvised hospital to offer a word of encouragement to doctors and nurses worn down from so many hours of tribulations. Then he asked to be taken to see Azucena, the little girl the whole world had seen. He waved to her with a limp statesman's hand, and microphones recorded his emotional voice and paternal tone as he told her that her courage had served as an example to the nation.

Note how the President is depicted her as an exploitative politician, eager to make the most of the opportunity and get his face on camera whilst doing absolutely nothing except offering "vague promises" and a "limp" wave. He is completely unwilling to get a pump to save Azucena's life and coldly exploits the situation to improve his media image.

Re-read the story and try and find other characters and events that could be considered archetypes. Good luck!

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