A QUICK GUIDE TO ARCHETYPES & ALLEGORY by Ken Johnson analyzes the multifaceted characters of myths, legends, and reality in this easy to read guide.  The author anchors them into the established roles our subconscious mind allegorically (symbolically) attributes to each archetype.  For example, the word dragon conjures images and perceptions without the provision of further details.  Just as the word vampire, werewolf, or witch relies on an established bank of knowledge obtained from years of preconceived notions each archetype represents in both film and literature.  This knowledge releases the writer from bogging himself into lengthy descriptions or backstory destined to detract from his current works overall theme.  On the other hand, matching the wrong archetype to the wrong allegory will create a dysfunctional read.  A storyline where a vampire survives on lettuce shifts this preestablished archetype into one of disbelief for the reader, ultimately causing a disconnect with the archetype and failure of the author’s work.

Likewise, the terms hero, villain, or scapegoat creates the foundation of a dimensional character.  The word hero immediately conveys someone who will save the day, not someone who brings about death, destruction, or misery.  To portray a hero in this light contradicts the very definition of a hero making him the villain.

Johnson does a marvelous job using relatable, not archaic, examples in this quick guide.  His explanations help readers understand on a deeper level the vital relationships between various archetypes and their allegories.  Using past and present works, he delves into allegories otherwise unnoticed.  This would be a great addition to any college curriculum or high-school honors class for the study of literature or cinema.

*I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. *

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