Archetypes in "The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood"
The film "The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" examines the lives of four southern women who have sustained a bond over many decades based on a mysterious childhood alliance, unmet dreams and dark secrets. When the relationship between one of these women and her daughter threatens to become permanently broken, her childhood friends come together, as always, to help them mend their relationship as well as heal the painful past that drove them apart.
The alcoholic parent, is manifested in the character of Vivian Joan "Vivi" Abbott Walker, mother of the young playwright Sidda Walker, a daughter who is just beginning to make her mark in the New York theater circuit. At the start of the film, Vivi is portrayed as a woman who, troubled by the comments made by her daughter in an interview for Time magazine, resorts to extreme outbursts of anger and grudge holding. In flashbacks of her life as a young mother, Vivi turns to alcohol to soothe her own pain however the alcohol works to blur her role as mother and causes her to neglect and, on more than one occasion, abuse her children. In fact, the alcoholic as archetype is manifested not only in the character of Vivi, but also in the characters of the other ya ya sisters, Neci, Caro and Teensy, who regularly ensure that they have alcoholic drinks available throughout the film.
The scapegoat as archetype can also be identified in this film. Through much of her young life, Sidda Walker has had to play scapegoat to her mother's eccentric and alcohol-charged behaviors. Vivi randomly takes out her pain on the young Sidda through verbal chastising and unusual mother-daughter role-playing, which often leaves her daughter confused about whether her mother is a tyrannical caretaker or peculiar playmate. Sidda's role as her mother's scapegoat is demonstrated from the start when Vivi b...