I'm reading The Sibling Society by Robert Bly. Some of the stuff he writes about our society and the effect of social movements like feminism really resonate with me. Especially the bits from Iron John about the 50's male archetype, a mummified non-feeling do-no-wrong father-knows-best ideal and how the world and our children suffer because of it.
I especially like the way he includes old stories and mythology as support for his thesis. He uses a really old version of Jack and the Beanstalk in The Sibling Society. It's fascinating, and I'd never given the story much deep thought.
Anyone know who is missing in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk?
To which you answered, "I dunno DEANPAUL Jack's father?"
I appreciate your interest in archetypes and Robert Bly's methodical and anylitical (and sometimes to a fault) breakdown of specific tales as they apply to a specific genre/era. I too have read/digested 'Iron John' and thought it to be quite enlightening and interesting. I think when one reads books such as these, one brings their own experiences to the table. It is inevitable that one also relates these experiences to writings like this. As far as it's scholarly or educational value is concerned, 'Iron John' is apt to stir up some good debate and conversation. I related a lot of it to my life when I read it and it helped me see things differently. It was a very personal experience for me when I read it and it's cool to know there are other's that appreciate Bly's work.
Sorry I did not chime in on the Jack question. I missed it, but I knew it. I used to take a course in Fairy Tale analysis form a Jungian perspective and Jack and the Beanstalk was the first tale the group looked at. I was the only male voice and wwhenever I spoke of my insights or observations, the women in the group (all of which were mothers, and I was early 20's) were very attentive and probed me for answers to their own mother/son complexes.
I assume you also have read books by Joseph Campbell ("The Power of Myth"). His insights and knowledge on historical archetypes was scary. Very good stuff, but not quite as personal as Bly. Bly reads a little less like a textbook in some cases. The books where he is interviewed are more personal and amazing.
I also recommend 2 books I believe are called 'He' and 'She' (can't place the author right now). They are short and sweet, but very enlightening and informative about male/female roles as archetypes and how it applies to reality. C. S. Lewis wrote a book called 'Til We Have Faces' which is fiction, but traces the hero's journey in a text book manner. It is great.
I'm not sure why the 'father' complex and absence in Jack would be important for you. We all have our favorites and those that apply profoundly to our lives. My personal favorite is a Grimm's Fairy Tale called 'The Golden Bird' in it's original form. It just speaks to me in so many ways.
Finally, parents in Fairy Tales usually are missing, dead or overbearing to make up for the absence of another. But you can't have a hero with parents. Look at any classic hero and somebody that is a parent or parental figure usually dies or is already dead. Why do you think that is?