Summer SAVY 2018: Session 2, Day 4 – Archetypes and Literature (Rising 5th and 6th)
Today we continued on with our quest for a deeper understanding of specific archetypes. Our focus was – of course — the quest. To start, the students were asked to develop images they associate with the word quest. Students drew swords, and treasure, and heroic types of all sorts.
From there we shifted to brainstorming about the essential components of quests: who might go on them, what they might strive for, the obstacles they might face, and who/what might assist them along the way. It was here that the idea opened up and gained complexity. Some students suggested that quests might also be for non-material things, like knowledge or even a better understanding of self, and that the type of quest is defined by the type of character – sage, everyday person, villain.
Since our focus later in the afternoon would be the quest in videogames, we examined a very basic example of the quest pattern in that staple of 80s pop culture: Pac-Man. We analyzed the setting of the maze and linked this to other story/game examples of this particular obstacle, but also considered the symbolism of power pellets, the fruit, and the ghost.
(Enter the conversation: what other early video games – or even traditional board games – fit the quest pattern? Which is your favorite? Here’s a link to play another one we looked at briefly in class. I have many found memories of it! http://my.ign.com/atari/adventure . Or, you can play a classic text adventure quest here: https://classicreload.com/zork-i.html . What quest elements can you find in each?)
Shifting gears, we looked at a story that provided a less traditional but no less compelling take on the quest. In “The Scholarship Jacket”, the protagonist seeks to win the coveted jacket of the title, but an unexpected obstacle blocks her path. The students had so much to say about the piece, by popular demand, we had to extend this section of the lesson substantially. At one point, I literally had goose bumps at the incredibly profound things the group was saying. Great stuff.
Finally, we began work on our own quest-driven video game concepts and returned to the lab to finish up our narratives, storyboards, and flyers from the previous days.
Can’t believe we only have one day left!
Writing Narratives Without Words
Creating Our Leadership Flyers