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Summer SAVY 2018: Session 2, Day 2 – Archetypes and Literature (Rising 5th and 6th)

Posted by on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 in Grade 5, Grade 6, SAVY.

Happy Tuesday!

Since yesterday’s session covered identifying archetypes in ads, today we shifted to an exploration of how narrative texts make use of archetypes. Our focus: picture books. Like ads, these employ the shorthand of archetypes to deliver often-times profound messages in very little space.

First, we worked as a whole-group to try to unpack the meaning of the mind-bending _Sam and Dave Dig a Hole_. As we read, the room was filled with a chorus of “Wait, what?!?”. That’s always a good sign! Using the archetypes of darkness/light, the quest, the companion, the circle, and the explorer, we were able to reach some rich interpretations of this seemingly simple children’s book.

(Here’s a great post discussing the book: ; it includes a link to a review that also explores theories about what happens at the end of the book)

To refine their analytical practice, the students broke out into small groups and took on some other deep texts including _After the Fall, _Beyond the Pond_, _Lost and Found_, and _Otis_. Not only did the group very successfully identify archetypes, they began to delve into patterns of archetypes that frequently occur together and how those archetypes enhance a work’s theme.

(Can you or your child think of some other picture books that draw on the power of archetypes to deliver their message? Which? How so?)

For our final stop, we tried using what we’d learned about archetypes in stories. The students planned and wrote synopses of prequels/sequels to the books we’d read, but this time with a whole new set of archetypes plugged in. The students also had an opportunity to revise and expand upon their ads from yesterday.


-Mr. Finn