A mythological critic examines a work for repeating patterns that show the
reasoning for various aspects of human life. In other words, upon analyzing a piece of
literature, one will discover the "why's" of the human race. This could be anything from
birth and death to defeating death itself.
A story that contains these aspects would be "Young Goodman Brown" by
Nathaniel Hawthorne. In this story, Goodman Brown has to take a spiritual journey on a
walk through the forest. He encounters the Devil and he tempts Brown with all sorts of
ways to 'leave the path.' The exact opposite of the Devil is represented in Brown's wife,
Faith. Faith represents Brown's faith in God.
An excerpt that best represents the Mythological Approach to Criticism is as
follows: "'Dearest heart,' whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close
to his ear, 'pr'y thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-
night. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she's afeard of
herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the
year!(2186)" This is a prime example of Faith's relying on premonitions.
An example of the use of Archetypal Approach to Criticism would be the pink
ribbons found in Faiths hair. There is a point in the story where Brown can't turn back
from his journey, and because of this, Brown sees Faiths' ribbons fall from the sky.
"There was a scream, drowned immediately in a louder murmur of voices, fading
into far-off laughter, as the dark cloud swept away, leaving the clear and silent sky above
Goodman Brown. But something fluttered lightly down through the air and caught on the
branch of the tree. The young man seized it, and...