“The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff” While literature is can be for entertainment, it is also used to teach a lesson or get a point across. Throughout a literary work, an author will include many possible topics, themes, theories, archetypes, symbols, and ideas to teach their lesson or make their point. As one reads through “The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff,” written by Patrick Chamoiseau, it is important to know that the author is not only highlighting the life of a slave, but also expressing everyday struggles through the parallels of the story. While the story focuses on the life of slavery, the Master of the plantation, and a mastiff, it is imperative to analyze the different archetypes in the story. The archetypes are “recurrent as a symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology” (Archetypal). “The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff” is comprised of the following literary archetypes: a hero, a dog, a master, and slaves. To begin, “The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff” is comprised of the literary archetypal, a hero. A hero is someone who saves the people, gives them hope, and makes the world a better place. “The old man has never participated in the slave parties, nor in the evening storytelling sessions…He doesn’t dance, doesn’t talk, doesn’t react to the ringing of the drum…His presence reinforces the drummers’ beat” (Chamoiseau 157).
In “The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff,” the Old Man Slave is the hero in the eyes of the other slaves, he gives them hope. “But the old