While I didn’t begin writing Theo and Sprout as a coming of age story, I definitely began writing with Jungian concepts in mind. Granted, I realize now that probably wasn’t the best theme from a marketing standpoint. But I give myself some slack here since it was clear from the beginning the story and the characters were in control here and not me.
Since the impetus for the story came from a dream, it only makes sense that some Jungian themes came with it. Now I only have a layman’s understanding of Jungian psychology, but I have always been intrigued by the Anima and Animus, our inner masculine or feminine natures depending on who you are. I especially like the idea that these should be in balance, especially in a world where there doesn’t seem to be too much of that around.
I don’t give too much of the story away by saying that Theo and Sprout have some imperfect and indirect conversations about feminine and masculine qualities. I suppose the growth implied is that Theo and Sprout are challenged to engage with and practice some of these archetypal behaviors and hopefully learn from them.
I also think the story plays with the idea of the Persona, that mask that we wear or assume to interact with the world. The age old adolescents struggle with coming to grips with who we are, who we project as, and who and how the worlds sees us. Though to be honest I’m sure I’ve yet come to grips with that puzzle.
While I still acknowledge that these subtle, underlying Jungian themes are not good marketing, I do hope they add to the richness and depth of the story, or provide some reasoning for their behavior.