Monday, November 1st, 2011.
Stories are the Reflections of Humanity
The origins of storytelling likely date back to the origins of human language itself. In fact, it seems that storytelling is embedded into a person’s DNA and is as much a part of a human being as the conscience, or our ability to speak. Every person is blessed with the gift of imagination, and an outlet for one’s imagination is through storytelling. Through an individual using storytelling and imagination, they are able to express personal experiences in a creative way without directly stating that the story reflects factual experiences. Every form of literature has some sort of relation with humanity even if the story takes place in a fairytale world with magical creatures. Imagination encourages people to think freely and express their personal opinions on situations. If one were forced to repress their imagination then the right to their freedom of speech would be taken away, resulting in everything being censored. In Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories the parallels between the text and Rushdie are clearly outlined, as well as the importance of expressing one’s imagination. Stories are mirrors that reflect reality because they draw on primordial images passed down from ancestors, they display the close relationship between author and text, and they provide social commentary on the society they emerge from. The concepts of storytelling date back to the primitive ancestors of modern society. These basic concepts of storytelling consist of a variety of templates to guide an author/storyteller through sequential events pertaining to the genre. These basic templates or models used by authors are referred to as archetypes. According to an analytic psychologist Carl Jung, an archetype is a universal aspect in storytelling which stems from the collective unconscious of the human brain. According to Jung humanity posses three levels of the mind which are the conscious, personal unconscious (a thin layer below the conscious), and the collective unconscious (part of mind which can never be remembered as it was never repressed or forgotten). The reason why archetypes are said to be a universal aspect of storytelling is because it relates to the fundamental facts of human existence such as birth, love, and death. A valid piece of evidence which proves that archetypes are universal is that stories written halfway across the world share similar or exact storylines with one another. Through distant countries having similar storylines, it proves that archetypes are universal and that they are based on the fundamental facts of human existence and nature. In the novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories Rushdie incorporates a wide variety of archetypes to successfully write an award winning masterpiece. The main archetype that Rushdie uses throughout Haroun and the Sea of Stories is the monomyth, also referred to as the hero’s quest. The monomyth archetype is clearly demonstrated throughout the novel as the main character Haroun begins on a quest to the land of Kahani in order to restore his father’s water supply. As the quest progresses Haroun makes a tough decision to go and defeat the shadow of Khattam-Shud in order to save the Land of Gup. At the end of this quest Haroun saves the land of Gup from the evil villain and is proclaimed a hero through the eyes of society. Through this brief summary on the novel an individual can easily conclude that the story uses the monomyth archetype. A quote in the novel which supports the fact that the story and Haroun fit the criteria of a monomyth archetype is, “Now, if you and the General wish, I’ll spy for you upon Khattam-Shud, or his Shadow, whichever of them is down there in the Old Zone, poisoning the Ocean” (Rushdie, 136). In this quote the protagonist (Haroun) makes a tough decision to go and face his fears in order to save the Sea of Stories. The decision made by Haroun is