What is the Caregiver Archetype?
The caregiver archetype comprises characters such as helpers, parents, guardians, and friends of old age. They often serve the hero or others while staying altruistic and selfless and even sacrificing their lives for their wards. Although sometimes they appear at the beginning of the stories, they stay until the end. Some of them just stay for a few episodes, while others stay with the hero until the end. The interesting thing is their critical role in saving the hero, but they are not heroes themselves.
Character Traits of Caregiver Archetypes
The caregiver archetypes have certain character traits. Although they are meant to be present to help others, they make every effort to save the major characters in the nick of time when it seems that the situation is over for them. They are often loving, caring, kind-hearted, compassionate, empathetic, and trustworthy. They attend to the needs of the heroes and encourage them not to lose heart in the face of adversity. Sometimes they prove feminine in nature to nurture the heroes better, but more often, they are patriarchs.
Negative Traits of Caregiver Archetypes
Although the caregiver archetypes are highly loving and kind, they have some negative character traits. They are often not very courageous, powerful, or bold. However, they encourage the heroes or other characters to show boldness. Second, they often appear late in the storyline and go until the end or just a few episodes when the heroes need them. It means they are a temporary presence until the odds against them are over or are surmounted. Third, they do not demonstrate emotions and mostly stay calm, which sometimes makes them heartless characters, and they are actually not.
Dominating Features of Caregiver Archetypes
In their excessive love, caregiver archetype characters become overbearing. Such type of caregiver archetypes are often called helicopter parents or helicopter guardians. In several cases, they control the entire lives of their wards and keep themselves always alert to secure and save them. In this attempt, they often prove highly manipulative to the point of exploitative. Therefore, it is natural for them to seem distant, unloving, and cold.
Examples from Literature
Beth March in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The character of Beth represents a caregiver archetype example. When her sisters face any untoward situation, she comes to the fore to help them out or else sits back and watches them amusingly when they perform well. She takes care of their needs and appears when they need her. That is why she seems a good caregiver archetype despite her less age and not-so-significant role in the presence of her mother.
Lisa Carter, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Although Lisa is not the major character, she proves her caregiver role when it comes to Starr Carter. Starr faces the worst of her life when she sees the police shooting her best friend or when she faces the worst on account of her African American background. Lisa Carter appears when she needs her the most. She proves her sympathy as well as kindheartedness toward her. That is why she proves herself a caregiver archetype.
Marlin, Finding Nemo Film
The character of Marlin is interesting in Finding Nemo on account of the role that he has played to save the life of his son. When his son is abducted, his entire life faces an upheaval. He has a choice either he leaves him or goes after him. However, the clownfish becomes a father figure and resolves to save his son at every cost. This thing makes him a caregiver archetype when he embarks upon this journey. Although he is often forgetful, it does not hinder him from playing his caregiver role.
The Old Major in Animal Farm by George Orwell
Although he stays for a brief period in the novel, the impact of the Old Major goes with the animals and with the revolution until the end of the story. His disappearance, however, in the very early part of the story does not bless him with the caregiver archetype character trait, yet his fatherly care stays with all the animals, and even the decision about the pigeons to include among the animals is made by him. That is why he is also a good caregiver archetype.