Skip to contentSkip to Main Site NavigationSkip to Site Left NavigationSkip to Site Utility NavigationSkip to Site SearchSkip to FooterDownload Adobe Reader
English 98 Impact Banner
Instructional Resources
Home » People » Karl Sherlock » English 098 » Instructional Resources » stdq | Silver and Kelly

Study Questions: Character Archetypes

Gather into small groups of 5 or 6 (but no larger than that). 
Using your assigned readings by Curtis Silver and Dr. Ryan Kelly, discuss your responses to the following questions.  Someone in the group should volunteer to record the notes of your discussion to present to the class later.
  1. A character archetype is a typical example or type on which other characters frequently seemed to be modeled. One way to think about this is a game avatar: a character you, as the player, slip into, whose skills and personality traits you adopt during the game play. Quest adventures of this type are common in all media, not just games. For a while, youngsters were play-acting the characters of Harry Potter, or were fantasizing about being a member of the Fellowship of the Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring saga. Select as a group any three characters from quest narratives (it doesn’t matter if they’re in a game, a movie, a book, etc.) and discuss the underlying character archetype that causes those three characters to be alike.
  2. Curtis Silver prefaces his case studies of the personality types in Scooby-Doo with a general discussion about the role models and the cultural lessons we’re expected to learn from children’s cartoons. The characters “were designed a certain way, with certain problems that we—as children—may have absorbed into our subconscious.” In short, Silver argues that cartoon characters are influential, which perhaps explains why, as an adult, he feels the need to psychoanalyze the cartoons that were influential to him as a child. Discuss cartoon characters that were influential to each of you, either positively or negatively, and choose one to analyze in the same way Curtis Silver does. What cultural lesson and/or role model were you supposed to have “absorbed into [y]our subconscious,” even if the character served as an example of what not to do or be?
  3. In describing anime as “an allegory for the strife of adolescence”—an allegory is a symbolic story with a hidden moral message—psychologist Ryan Kelly, Ph.D., categorizes the kinds of teenage “strife” that makes the heroes of shonen anime so relatable and therapeutic to young viewers. What would be his analysis of an anime character based on Curtis Silver? What sort of personality analysis would Curtis Silver offer about a cartoon character based on Ryan Kelly? Collaborate as a group on a story and setting for a cartoon, anime, manga, comic book, or other graphic medium, in which the animated characters of Silver and Kelly are featured archetypes. What kind of character models would they offer, and what sorts of traits and motivations would they have? What sorts of cultural lessons would they represent? Would one be a hero and the other a villain? Would one be a supporting character, and the other a protagonist (a main character)? When you present your answers to the class, be prepared to identify the likely age and make-up of your story’s audience.
Last Updated: 09/27/2017


Karl J Sherlock
English / Creative Writing
Office Hours: M/W 6-7pm T/Th 3:30-5pm 52-558A (inside, corner office)
Phone: 619-644-7871

  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District