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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A QUICK ASIDE ON FUNCTIONALITY

On rereading this sentence from my previous essay, I felt I should elaborate the definitons of stereotype and archetype a little more:

That [Superman] gets his science-defying powers from a yellow sun, or loses them in the presence of a red sun, are stereotypical devices to quickly explain why the hero does or does not have powers.

A stereotype, or stereotypical device, is identical to what I called a "simple variable" in this essay. For my purposes a simple variable is any item, event or entity within a narrative that is as close as one can conceive to a bare function; one that is static with respect to associative links to other items, events, or entities.

An archetype is equivalent to what I have called a complex variable, following Northrop Frye's logic on this subject. A complex variable is any item, event or entity within a narrative that proves itself dynamic with respect to associative links to other items, events, or entities.

Therefore in my schema:

A stereotype is defined by bare functionality.

An archetype is defined by some degree of "super-functionality."

I suppose I could call it "surfunctionality" if I wanted to distance it from the various "supermen" associations of Nietzsche, Shaw and Jerry Siegel. But that would be an elitist's consideration.

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