Perspectives of the Quest – Six stories in Discoveries, written by Schechter (1993).

“The story of an hour” written by Katy Chopin covers the stage “The Call”. The narrative pattern is Irony, although it might be classified as tragedy. Chopin does not describe her protagonist at length, but the few detail she does provide are so important. Mrs. Mallard is afflicted with a heart trouble. She was young, fancy, with a fair, calm face, whose line bespoke repression end even certain strength and thought intelligently. She had loved her husband, who died in a train accident, and also died of a joy that kills. She replies: Free! Bodyand soul’s free. She kept whispering, although the call comes to her indirectly. There’s a response to an actual telephone call or Western Union Message; the herald in Chopin’s story takes the form of a telegram containing shocking news (Schechter 23).

The setting, or the locate of the story is her house, her bedroom, and maybe the last place anyone will be lied before eternal sleep. She had no one to follow her. She gets so introvert, and looks firmly through the clouds. Josephine, Louise’s sister, is the one who could have saved her life [. . .]! Louise, open the door! I beg, open the door… you will make you ill. What are you doing Louise? For heaven’s sake… open the door. Go away. I am not making myself ill”. She was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window (Schechter 87). It can also be observed the figure oxymoron, in this passage: “[. . .] she did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial.” She loved her husband, but there is an uncertain position about it. “[. . . ] And yet she had loved him - - sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being (Schechter 87)? And then, one can recognize irony, admitting that it occurs on literature when there is a contrast between what is said and what is meant. And the last paragraph sums it up [. . .] But Richards was too late. When the doctors came, they said she had died of heart disease – of joy that kills.

“He and I”, written by Alberto Moravia, reveals exactly “the other”, and as a content of alternate theme “Misfits, Murderers, and Fools”. The pattern is irony because the hero calls down terrible curses on the head of an unknown criminal, only to discover in the end what the audience has known all along. That he himself is the guilty person (Schechter 617). In this story, the other is an imaginary personage created by Guglielmo. He and I chart the narrator’s gradual mental deterioration, his descent into madness. There’s successive stage in reminds the reader the Dionysus” myth --, and having introspection in front of the mirror – it reminds us the myth of Narcissus. He starts to lose his sense of responsibly, including his job. There is a moment Guglielmo speaks about two different persons, and someone who is lucid, reports about both. Moravia relies so heavily on dialogue in constructing his story to demonstrate the builder. He’s very original and demonstrates several stages until he presents a nice conclusion, presenting a moment of self-enlightment. The narrator calls the police to warm them that a manmade Guglielmo Palombini is on his way to commit murder. I guess Guglielmo has chosen his own destination. It sounds that he wanted to be helped and had no way. Destiny could be understood if we consider someone who persists in looking for a goal. That’s what the reader wants this person to find. It is up to anyone to look for personal goals. In this case, facts, lead to Tragedy.

The third selected story is “The Open Boat” written by Stephen Crane. It is included in Discoveries, as covering the stage “The journey”, and as a content of alternate theme “Facing death”. The technical element in evidence is theme. The narrative pattern seems to be tragedy, because of the danger of the ocean. But there is not the sensation that ironic people are in such a difficult moment because the others around are apathetic.

One can wonder why the crew cannot see the color of the sky. There are good passages about it.”[. . . ] Their eyes glanced level, and were fastened upon the waves that swept toward them. These waves were of the hue of slate”. “[. . . ] But the men in the boat had no time to see it, and if they had had leisure, there were other things to occupy their minds (Schechter 233).

Four personages are wondering for the end of the journey, and it seems a tragedy is going to take place. Will they resist? Will they survive? Crane permits us to see the trouble in a double perspective. The journey, as an adventure, presents outsiders who are unable to be of any help unless they could communicate with them. It’s not the case. The quest of the story can be explained by the following passage: “[. . .] of the four in the dinghy none had slept any time worth mentioning for two days and two nights previous to embarking in the dinghy, and in the excitement of clambering about the deck of a foundering ship they had also forgotten”.

One can imagine the setting. “[. . . ] Slowly and beautifully, the land loomed out the sea. The wind came again. It had veered from the northeast to the southeast (Schechter 238). Finally, a new sound struck the ears of the men in the boat. There’s something beautiful about it, which is the huge ocean, and the people who firstly had a direction, but did not have the absolute control of the direction. (A nice description of the four members is given – cook oilier, correspondent and captain)”. The oilier talks with the captain: “[. . .] Captain, he said… I think I’d better bring her about and keep hear head-on to the seas and back her in the last line means that all the scenery does not seem to be put in motion if, interpreters are not interacting with those elements.”. Everything seems to be calm and beautiful, anyway, controversies are hidden behind this apparently scenery of calm and peace. Crane means that people or nature does not have the obligation to help or to participate with anyone. It’s two much of anyone’s existential defenses and opportunities to determine what and how anyone will level, as well as the best way to reach goals. His description seems to be the life readers get involved  since birth. Facts urge for continuous action, so that transformations can take us to a better statement or condition. The quality of life depends too much of the environment people are involved, and the way anyone interacts with it. The author of this article has a personal belief that the spectrum of life has to admit several different interpretations, since myth is the penultimate one. The best view is still coming.

The fourth selected story is “The Poet” written by Herman Hessen. Is included in Discoveries, as covering the stage “Helpers and Guides”, and as a content of alternate theme “Youth and Age”. The technical element in evidence is point of view. The narrative pattern is romance. The rite of passage is complete. The hero comes back as a successful person, ready to get his award, which is the recognition of his talent. His dream comes through.

Han Fook’s , A Chinese poet that from early youth is animated by an intense desire to learn all about the poet’s art and to perfect himself in everything connected with it. He undergoes the trials of marriage, being engaged, and then, meeting the bride. The ambitious to become a perfect poet is also part of his dreams. The author provides enchantment and poetic environment.

It seems to be a typical Chinese event. A lantern festival was being celebrated on the river. He saw a thousand lights floating and trembling, he saw men and women and young girls on the boats and barges, greetings each other and glowing like beautiful flowers in their festive robes. Then, that was his chance. He had fallen asleep, but all of a sudden meets a man who expressed verses beautifully. These passages are only reported. There are no direct lyrical passages in the story.

There was a Wide Old Man, a stranger appearing with a smile of one made perfect, and the one had the secret of being a poet. After his wedding, the Master appears to him again. One day, the Master had gone. Han Fook’s decision to abandon his family and his bride to pursue his studies seems to be strange. But it’s up to anyone. Decisions are necessary, but choices are fundamental. It seems ironic that a bride can be changed by the groom’s career as a poet. The hero is also taking a different way that he was supposed to. His future as a poet depended on hero is also taking a different way that he was supposed to. His future as a poet depended on someone to teach him to make things right. Maybe he wants to live one thing at a time.

What makes Han Fook realizing that he is after all destined to be a poet is the question: You’re free to do whatever you want, said the Master. That’s it. Since one finds freedom to do something, in my opinion, this person has found the key.

It is like a fable, full of descriptions of setting, and virtual images. Like the hero being thought all the abilities, and producing enchantment to people. That’s very romantic, because he decided he was not ready to get married. Maybe he wanted to enchant his bride, by acquiring new skills. Anyway, the prediction that the poet sometimes cannot distinguish the difference between reality and fantasy, is a nice clue. His style is remarkable because the poet is going on spiritual journey questioning the development of skills, it’s not abnormal to see the helpers of the hero in a story. It sounds that we do have to make choices whenever going on a journey. He’s called for the journey, and returns as a hero, playing his lute beautifully. The desire of the father is always the given opportunity for the sun, to choose one way, and conduce himself, as far as he looks for the essential values of a society.

It is nice because one can just think about what could be Han Fook1s arts. But with the silence, one can wonder it is so beautiful. It is somewhere in our imagination. An unreachable poem remains secret.

The fifth selected story is “The Blue Jar”, written by Isak Dinesen. It is included in Discoveries, as covering the stage “The Treasure”. The technical element in evidence is symbol. The narrative pattern is romance, although one can have the sensation a tragedy was taking place, because Helena was considered dead. After nine nights she was found. Lady Helena is searching for old china of a particular shade of blue, and she speaks longingly of a time “when the entire world was blue”. It provides the sensation she makes reference to the time God was making the world.

It sounds that Helena was always looking for something. The blue pot should not be easily found as far as her life goes on. Her insistent position against any proposal. As older as she became, as resistant her desire was. When someone brought her the Chinese pot, she did not have so much time to improve resistance. Then, she accepts that one as being the right one. The story itself has a larger meaning if we consider our desires and expectations to search and reach goals.

Both characters can be observed by the basic methods. The expository and the dramatic. For instance, we have the sensation that we need approach to the personages in terms of life style and determine their ambitions and desires. The character is dynamic as far as one admits Helena will one day, find her blue pot. Her dad does not live to see that. They both live in the boat for a long time. They were both aristocrats. That’s not the place she wanted to stay. The sea, most of the time, and home.

The blue pot is a symbol of her desire to find the right thing for her (The right place to keep her heart safe when she dies). When she finds the pot, she admits she is ready to die. It is nice to observe that one can have the prompt to die. The vase is representing the eternal place for it. It is compared with a fairy tale as far as one admits there is an object of desire and it can be satisfied. The story portrays a life story, transition, ambitious, and journey.

Lady Helena has been changed by de episode on the lifeboat because she got lost when the ship caught fire. She was considered dead. She was saved by a young English sailor and after all, by a Dutch merchantman. She becomes a hero after resisting to the accident with the ship.

Dinesen’s more specific about Lady Helena’s nine days aboard the lifeboat because he wants to demonstrate how pure she was. She is a survivor. The sensation her life is saved is an evidence, so, she found the time to find her treasure.

Lady Helena’s father pays the young sailor who has saved his daughter’s life to disappear in order to preserve her personal image as a single lady, who had stayed nine days with a man. But didn’t Helena fall in love for this sailor? If we interpret by this way the reader can understand the story as a displaced romance. The meaning of the ship Lady Helena claims is sailing on the other side of the globe, and with which she must keep pace is compared with her destiny. Her ship is like her life. She wonders that it can finish one day. The sailor should be there.

At last, Lady Helena finds her treasure, a jar of the very blue she has been seeking from youth. When she finds the blue pot, she has the sensation that she has reached her goal.

The sixth  chosen story is “The Legend of St, Julian the Hospitaller” written by Gustave Flaubert. It is included in Discoveries as covering the stage of “Transformation”, and as a content of alternate theme “Facing death”. The technical element in evidence is plot. The narrative pattern is romance. A perfect rite of passage is observed, although it seems to be displaced romance. The fact he donated everything in the name of faith, demonstrates his purification. Saint’s legends were brief narratives of the lives of early Christian saints, and Flaubert’s title suggests that he is merely retelling one of these legends. It portrays the life in the castle, the church and the forest. The little boy has entered in an adventure, receiving the best education, and does not come back. The rite of passage can be observed. His initiation imposes him a long self-learning. Someone tells the story, like a storyteller, probably the author. Descriptions of little animals provide a certain innocent environment of the little boy. He loses the people he loves most. He tastes the adventure. Then, the passage is proposed. It is quite hard to determine the age, but it covers childhood, adult life and elderly age. It obeys rules of a transition of different phases, so that Julian becomes ready to assume his last position, which is dying with the leprous disease.  

Julian is innocent and does not want to hunt. Animals and birds affirm it. All these metaphor presentations are really reinforcement for the process of his education as a noble citizen, as well as the first collocation, that Julian was a special kid, maybe a saint. The stage is about transformation – the ending is Julian’s final transformation as a saint, one with Jesus. He cried when he listened to the animals. He had a falcon and he hunts after certain time to be familiar with the hobby itself. Julian fled from the castle. He took service with a passing troop of adventures and knew hunger and thirsty. Before this, he mentions he had seen a pair of wings fluttering by the top of certain supports. It was his other. He became a simple person. It seems he had abandoned all the luxurious status of a life in the castle.

Julian can find peace in the nature. He conquests the sympathy of people around. He was a necessary person for them, in terms of transportation. So, he was determined to taste a special event, because of his character and nobility. Julian establishes his ferry service, and he negotiated the food, and his surveillance. The posture of the leper was of certain majesty. He was treated with the entire honor Julian could provide. Feeding him, giving him something to drink, and taking care of his sleep. Like a noble person. He was the one. Who could receive all the honor of a Lord, because he knew how to treat a humble and sick man. The number three is very significant. In accordance with the bible Jesus was deceived three times. He also stayed in the mountains for three days. It is the recognition as a hero. As a myth, Julian had noble blood, but in front of the eyes of the Lord, everybody suffers from the same problems. He becomes an idol, in a church window of the region the storyteller lives.

He compares Adam in the midst of Paradise, among all the beasts, as well as the animals, behaving like the day he entered in Noah’s ark, in dreams, having the sensation he could see himself in this situation. That was exactly what happened with him afterwards. He has a relation with a crime, and the necessity to preserve his soul. He faces a bird and a man with his wife. They are all dead. Then, he has taken the decision  to take the road leading toward to the mountains.

The final of the section is exactly the opportunity to be recognized. It is the moment to explain the reader, why Julian was supposed to be a saint. His death seems so exaggerated, the way the transcendental moment of God meets him, and a justification of his mercy and benevolent behavior.

In conclusion, general technical information about Archetypes can provide good support for the Analyses of stories written by different authors and stages of the quest, as it is observed in the proposed stories and comments all done.


Works Cited


Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, New York: Modern Language Association, 1988.

Harold, Schechter & Jonna Semeiks, eds. Discoveries: 50 Stories of the Quest. 2nd Ediction, Oxford, 1993.

Smyth, Lyle E. Archetypal Criticism: Theory and Practice, Carson, CSUDH, USA, 1997.


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