Friday, February 4, 2011

Babies, Another Archetype and An Anniversary

Connye Griffin writes My Writing and Editing Coach

Fifty-two entries. One calendar year. My blog-baby is due for a cake with a single candle in the middle: My Writing and Editing Coach is officially one year old today, and with this anniversary, let’s celebrate birth, beginnings, and the future.

An archetypal approach to literary analysis provides a useful framework for the interpretation of symbols and symbolic patterns . . . [and] partakes of the essential nature of the human learning process--to compare the unfamiliar with the familiar; the unknown with the known (Preminger and Brogan).

In other words, knowing archetypes helps readers recognize familiar ideas and characters in fresh new stories and contexts. Archetypes, then, are like the lines on a map; they are guidelines to help readers navigate new terrain.

One familiar pattern and archetype is birth, a beginning imbued with meaning and significance. In fact, we refer to birth as a miracle and revere life itself by honoring new life.

A new day provides us with a clean slate upon which to write our best selves. It is a brilliant spotlight in which to perform our daring deeds.

New life is need personified. Few creatures come to life self-sufficient. A small, delicate creature needs tenderness and guidance. We summon our finest nurturing skills and mutate into selfless beings in the presence of new life.

Like Mufasa, presenting little Simba to the all residents of Pridelands, we humans hold our babes high in hope. We strive to insure that our babies’ lives are better than our own, that the promise within grows to full blossom, that their tomorrow shall not fade. For these reasons, we judge harshly those parents who fall short. For these reasons, we grieve the loss of every child who does not live to maturity.

The seed of life signifies a future; thus, every new life insures that this mysterious, wonderful life continues in spite of the lives that fade and conclude

Reading Challenge:

I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven celebrates the birth of understanding and profound humility, both of which flow from and through an understanding of loss and death. Read it for the beautiful language and for the comforting story.

Writing Challenge:

Try to capture in words the miracle of birth. If you are not a parent yet, consider the birth of an idea, the conception of an achievement, a new puppy or kitten, or the beginning of a new friendship.

Grammar, Usage and Mechanics (GUM):

My students’ essays revealed that many students confuse allusion and illusion and delusion; they also confuse allude and elude. Let’s review these.

An allusion is a literary symbol. Writers refer to other works of literature, art, or historical events in order to convey ideas with only a few words. For example, 9/11 connotes national tragedy and the death of innocence. A writer can communicate the tragic tone and an atmosphere of death with just three numbers.

Illusion is mistaken notion; it is the result of being misled. For example, many in the government and broadcast media created an illusion by linking Iraq and WMDs to 9/11. Many people are still deluded, believing that Iraq struck down the World Trade towers.

Delusion is a false belief. As stated above, many people hold the false belief that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. Other delusions include those loyal viewers who believe Ghost Hunters will ever prove the existence of ghosts. (Still, a lot of fun to watch occasionally.)

Allude, as you may have already guessed, is the verb form of allusion and means to refer to other works of literature, art or events. Writers allude to scripture or mythology in order to communicate volumes with only a few words.

Delude is the verb form of delusion. Some people maliciously and others unknowingly pass on incorrect information. Whether they intend to or not, the result is to deceive.

Elude means to escape those in pursuit. The fox, for example, often eludes the hounds. Those who maliciously delude the public also frequently elude capture.

To help you remember these, focus upon the first letter in each:

A begins allusion, an academic term for concepts referenced or alluded to.

D begins delude, the same letter that begins the words dull and dim, adjectives we might well use to describe those poor deluded folks, clinging to a delusion.

E begins elude, a word that means escape. One might even cry Eek when beginning to escape pursuers.

I begins illusion, the same letter that begins incredible, incredulous, and ill-advised, all words that aptly describe mistaken notions that, once exposed to critical thought and reason, melt like ice sculptures on a hot day.

Happy Anniversary to Me, the writer, editor, and producer of My Writing and Editing Coach!