Jungian Archetypes in The Social Network

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Jungian Archetypes in The Social Network

Post  tessroby on Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:38 am

Plot Summary

The Social Network, directed by David Fincher and released in 2010, tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg and his creation of the popular website “Facebook.” It follows Zuckerberg’s journey as he becomes the youngest billionaire in the world.

Situational Archetype

When reading over the different situational archetypes, the most obvious archetype that relates to The Social Network is that of The Task. The archetype of the task is for the character to save the kingdom, win the fair lady, identify himself so that he can reclaim his rightful position and to perform a superhuman deed.

In Mark Zuckerberg’s case, he does not do what he does to save the kingdom, but rather to gain the respect of girls after he insults them. Previous to creating Facebook, Zuckerberg had come up with an idea for a website, titled ‘Facemash’, that put two girls faces on a page, leaving the viewer to decide which one was ‘hotter’. As soon as the website went live, within six hours it had received 22 000 hits and had shut down the Harvard system. Because of this, Zuckerberg faced six months of academic probation and lost respect from all of the girls on his campus.

In a Jungian analysis of this, Zuckerberg is trying to reclaim his rightful position at Harvard by creating a site that will connect people. Shortly after the creation of Facebook, Zuckerberg is seen as somewhat of a campus celebrity. He has regained the respect of his peers and has reclaimed the position he had before, if not moving to a higher position. When I look at this analysis, the superhuman deed is the creation of Facebook. No one had ever come up with this idea before and it was to take days of programming that would be impossible to complete without the right qualifications. To some, Zuckerberg is seen as a genius. He is the one who came up with a billion dollar idea, and with his previous knowledge on the subject of programming, he was able to fulfill it.

Symbolic Archetype

The most prominent archetype that I see is Light vs. Darkness. In this case, the light is the hope of Facebook, how the internet can bring so many people together in such a small amount of time. The invention of Facebook has definitely started a revolution in social networking websites. Through Facebook, there is hope for the future of the internet and hope that we can expand on what we already have. The dark side of this is that many people believe the internet is expanding too quickly. There are many ‘unknowns’ in the world of the internet. Problems could easily arise based on money and leaked personal information.

In The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg comes up with an innovative idea that will change the world forever, but along the way he will lose friends, gain enemies and dive into the unknown.

Character Archetypes

When forming the idea for Facebook, Zuckerberg chose to work with a friend at Harvard, Eduardo Saverin, who was an economics major. Zuckerberg decided that Saverin would be the chief financial officer and business manager of Facebook. Saverin came from a family of money and could afford to help Zuckerberg start off the foundations of Facebook. When Facebook starts to become very popular, the two embark on a trip to New York to see if they can get advertisers for their company. While on the trip, Saverin organizes a meeting with Sean Parker, who was the creator of Nabster, a popular free music site in the 2000’s. Parker overtakes this meeting, mesmerizing Zuckerberg and casting out Eduardo.

I could place the character of Sean Parker into two archetypes. The first that comes to mind is that of The Devil Figure. He offers his knowledge of the business world to Zuckerberg, coaxing him into taking his advice and abandoning Eduardo. Parker takes over Zuckerberg, eventually earning himself 7% of Facebook’s shares. The second archetype is that of The Mentor. Parker shares his knowledge with Zuckerberg and becomes an influential character, or a role model in his life. People could see Sean Parker in both of these archetypes, though I believe he fits more into the archetype of The Mentor.

Eduardo Saverin easily fits into the archetype of The Outcast as he has been isolated from Zuckerberg after they meet Sean Parker. Parker took control of the business aspects of Facebook, diminishing Eduardo’s role in the company. He was more or less cast out of the company, yet still owns 5% of Facebook’s shares and remains Facebook’s co-founder.


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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:02 am

Tess - well done. It's funny - I have this movie sitting at my house right now. My companion rented it and I didn't think I would watch it, but I'll see if I can now before we have to return it. I particularly liked your character analysis of Parker as the Devil/Mentor. Another "darkness" for the symbolic might be the addictive qualities of Facebook and allowing minors access to it. There is no doubt that Facebook has been another tool used for cyberbullying. Does the movie address that?...The fact that in the hands of unsophisticated users, Facebook can be an all consuming addiction and destructive to relationships?
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