The Birth House is a story of an ordinary girl with an un-ordinary mind. Dora Rare lives in Nova Scotia during the early 1900’s with her family of brothers. She is on a journey of apprenticeship to a midwife known as the ‘witch of births’. This woman takes her is as her own, showing her the ins and outs of birthing children.
At the beginning of this book, Dora seems as though she is not fully out of her shell. This being said, Miss. B brings out the life in her and her joy for reading. When looking at this novel from an archetypal perspective, many things can be unfolded.The archetypal character of ‘The Shadow’, describes a character that slightly relates to Dora Rare. Wikipedia identifies the shadow as ‘ an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself’ (Wikipedia 1). Dora does not come out of her shell at the beginning of the book. Miss. B allows her true personality to shine through, which I don’t think she notices she has.
Miss. B tends to relate to ‘The Great Mother’ due to her ageless and caring views. She is a midwife that tends to give her power towards the women that give birth. She uses her celestial
energy and is very close to the earth and deep powers. God is usually who she looks to for guidance in these situations, but also can be looked up to by Dora. By allowing herself to be so close and given to the earth does not go unnoticed. By combining both of these connections, you get the archetypal character of ‘Mother Earth’. Earth Mother is a symbol of fertility; she offers spiritual and emotional support to others (Wikipedia 1). Miss. B is a perfect example of this by providing her child birth expertise and offering the emotional support needed towards these mothers.
Brady Ketch is the father of one of the stillborn children delivered under Miss. B’s care. The ‘dictator’ is an archetypal figure that is perceived as a villain. It is more easily described as an abusive authority figure (Hunters Writing 1). In the household of the Ketch’s, he is abusive to his wife and 16 kids. Miss. B is afraid to leave Mrs. Ketch in the hands of Brady, for she knows she will be sexually abused. Regardless, the abusive authority figures goal is to climb and stay at the top (Hunters Writing 1).
Overall, the first half of this book has many deeper literary theories that can be perceived through the eyes of archetypal characters. Each character can connect to one another by further evaluating the themes. This novel can be broken down and pieced together just by reading it through different eyes.
- Word Hunter. (2018). Character Archetypes – V for Villain (28 Villain Types). [online] Available at: https://hunterswritings.com/2016/08/08/character-archetypes-v-for-villain-28-villain-types/ [Accessed 11 Jul. 2018].
- En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Mother goddess. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_goddess [Accessed 11 Jul. 2018].
- En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Shadow (psychology). [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_(psychology) [Accessed 11 Jul. 2018].