The Nurturer is altruistic, compassionate, and keeps calm and collected under pressure. These heroines are capable and practical, but they can also be prone to sacrificing and compromising too much to help others. They can also be smothering or meddlesome in their care for the group.
“People depend on her competence and steadiness in moments of crisis. She is the glue that holds everyone and every situation together. And she likes it that way. She has a need to be central and indispensable in the lives of those she loves.”The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines
Nurturers need to be needed. This heroine finds a sense of purpose in helping others, in part because she may not know exactly who she is outside of the group and her ability to fix a problem. The Nurturer can’t stand by and rest unless her loved ones are safe and thriving. She’s the glue in her friend group or office. She’s a mediator, confidant, adviser, and healer.
To grow, this archetype needs to learn how to pull back and establish boundaries. She’ll need to follow her own advice to find happiness.
Elinor Dashwood (Sense & Sensibility)
Elinor Dashwood is the polar opposite of her sister. Marianne is expressive, romantic, and impulsive. Elinor is practical, steady, and reserved. Marianne wears her heart on her sleeve, while Elinor keeps her true emotions under wrap.
Elinor takes on responsibility naturally. She keeps a watchful eye over her family, especially her sister. She’s the one to remind Marianne to wear her hat in case it rains and stands vigil at her bedside when she falls ill. She is practical, capable, and rarely flustered (at least outwardly).
However, her cool head and common sense can also cause her problems. Elinor struggles to express her feelings to Edward, and is quick to step aside when she hears about his engagement to Lucy Steele (ugh!).
As a Nurturer, Elinor isn’t used to putting herself and her desires first. And she has even less of an idea on what to do when someone like Edward does. In fact, it results in some fantastic, full-on blubbering.
Sgt. Terry Jeffords (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
OK, the Nurturer is traditionally an archetype for heroines. HOWEVER, there is no equivalent for the men in this framework, and Sgt. Terry Jeffords fits the Nurturer archetype to a “T”.
Think of Terry as the very buff mother hen of the 99th precinct. Captain Holt may be the leader, but Sgt. Jeffords is the one who holds this squad together. He instinctively knows when something is “up” with one of his officers because he’s put in the time to listen, learn their quirks and tells.
Terry will go out of his way to help his friends, even if it’s outside of his comfort zone. That could mean teaching a claustrophobic Holt the moves to “Push it” by Salt n’ Peppa to distract him from being stuck in an elevator, giving Rosa dating advice, or making sure Jake doesn’t get himself killed in his latest shenanigans.
Terry is a doting father, devoted husband, and protective sarge. He has this drive to serve his community, which is part of why he became a police officer in the first place.
Of course, he could get the job done by going Hulk-mode, but that’s not Terry’s style. His true strength (pun intended) comes from his ability to nurture the squad and make sure the 99 is at its best.
Penelope Alvarez (One Day at a Time)
Penelope Alvarez, a self-declared Hufflepuff, is a caregiver committed to service in all areas of her life. She was Staff Sergeant in the US Army, a medic in Afghanistan, and then a nurse while also caring for her mother and two children.
Penelope is warm, quirky, and doesn’t want to let anyone down. She’s capable and personable as a nurse, an involved parent, and a devoted daughter. This can lead her to burnout under all the demands, but she’s also energized by being indispensable to her community. Her apartment becomes the de facto gathering place for her friends and family. She made that. She did that.
As a Nurturer, it’s often easier for Penelope to take care of those around her than it is to follow the same advice for herself. She struggles to accept her PTSD and anxiety diagnosis in part because she doesn’t want others to take care of her — that’s her job in the family and she needs to be shipshape!
Luckily, that’s not how the Alvarez family (Schneider included) does things. She raised them right, the Penelope way.
*This series is based on The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders.
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