Document Type


Date of Award



College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences (COLABS)

Degree Name

MA in English

Committee Chairperson

Iris M Lancaster

Committee Member 1

Charlene Evans

Committee Member 2

Bess Montgomery

Committee Member 3

Michael Zeitler


• African diaspora • Alice Walker • archetypal analysis • linguistic hegemony • myth • Toni Morrison


Language, as an expression of consciousness, is an integral tool of construction and destruction, because it serves as the foundation of an individual’s perception and affects one’s ability to process information. One cannot conceptualize that which they have no language for, and throughout literary periods and genres, language has been intentionally used to articulate the various manifestations of consciousness that exist beyond time, cultures, and individual experiences. In literature, this is demonstrated through the presence of archetypal patterns and figures that contribute to the development of a character’s mythic journey. Although archetypes demonstrate the commonalities within humanity, much of the language that defines their function and nature is inherently gendered, and consequently contributes to the erasure, minimization, subjugation, or vilification of marginalized individuals who do not uphold the implicit gender assignments that exist within them. This contributes to limited, and often inaccurate interpretations of characters that exist outside of pre and post-colonial, patriarchal, heteronormative informed perspectives. Because of this, the language used to describe and define archetypal figures and patterns should be examined irrespective of gender, so that they do not further perpetuate perspectives that intentionally marginalize people that exist beyond these antiquated interpretations of consciousness.