Archetypes in Die Linkshändige Frau
Throughout history, humans have tried to explain the phenomena of this world. Whether through pure imagination or actual quantified observation, various explanations of why we are here, why things happen to us and where punishments and blessings are written in a culture’s story. Many of these explanations have passed into myths and legends, stored forever in the heroic epics of lore. They follow similar patterns that reverberate throughout the ages and across cultures. These archetypes help us to reflect on our own experience and sojourn here on Earth. As Erich Fromm stated: “Both dreams and myths are important communications from ourselves to ...view middle of the document...
During such an archetype, we follow a protagonist as they embark on a journey to obtain or attain something and eventually return home to share their knowledge or wealth with those he or she left behind. Our protagonist Marianne in Die Linkshändige Frau makes a similar journey, but we do not see it come to an end.
At the beginning of the story, our protagonist is simply a “Frau”. It is almost as if Handke wants us to know she is much like a hero who has not gotten a name for himself yet, that she too starts out her journey as someone whose name is known only to a few, but not to the rest of us. It is only after she separates herself from her husband and strikes out on her own that we learn her name (Handke 20). These seem to be the feats that start her on her way to knowing herself and accomplishing her goal.
It seems that until she reached the point that she wanted to strike out on her own, Marianne has been playing the self-sacrificing and dutiful house-wife without much thought to her own happiness. For reasons not quite sure, she now wishes to discover something, though what exactly she wishes to accomplish is not known to either herself or us. As the journey progresses, it becomes clear that she wants to become her own solid person. Through Marianne’s conversations with Franziska, we glean that that she has never lived on her own, apparently having gone straight from her parent’s household to her marriage with Bruno.
A common theme in the hero’s journey is a confrontation with a dragon of sorts. During the course of Marianne’s journey, we see that she experiences a few dragons: her own lack of self-confidence as one, but mostly it is the frustration from the advice of others trying to give her a nudge in some direction she does not want to go. Franziska tries to get her to join a Frauenverein, but Marianne only sees that as another form of oppression. To her, if she cannot stand on her own without having to have a circle of women to support her, her journey is not complete. Bruno tries to bully her into coming back to him, but she sees only servitude and abuse in that relationship. The actor tries to get veer her off course with his profession of love and desire to court her, but again, she sees this as just another dragon. The problem is that she does not know how to express herself enough to slay the dragon. She seems to wait, hoping for someone or something to rescue her from these onslaughts.
The rescue comes when Marianne receives a visit from her father, a sort of magician or wizened...