A to Z Challenge – Y


My theme for the A to Z challenge is Villain Archetypes.

Yes, 26 descriptions of some of your favorite villains of literature, TV, and movies.

April 29 –  Y is for Yanquis

I chose the more stylized, Latin version in order to avoid any confusion with the New York Yankees (who also happen to be pure evil) and also to translate a more open version of the definition for villain archetypal definition. The Yanquis is a villain filled with the unshakable belief that what he’s doing is sanctioned by God and whatever governmental system he (or she) espouses. This person is often American (please…don’t stone me) but doesn’t have to be. He possesses an aloof confidence and stubborn attitude, as well as ill regard for cultures that are not his (or her) own. These villains loan themselves to Civil War stories, overseas conquest tales, pioneer adventures, and even war stories. It takes a lot for an American audience to embrace and appreciate a Yanquis villain, but they occupy a specific niche and thus, shall be mentioned as an Archetype.

This Bad Guy is less sympathetic, but more understandable. Most people reading this (and I apologize to my overseas fans…you can waggle your finger at me) live in Yanquis central. It’s why American tourists do not have the most sterling reputation in other countries. An ingrained belief that our way is better (Capitalism!) and yours is just cute. Yes this is a generalization, but to fully understand what makes a Yanquis a villain, you have to take these stereotypes and multiply them by a thousand. The embodiment of manifest destiny (literally and figuratively) the Yanquis pushes forward, conquering without thought for the effect he’s having. The cultures and environments he crushes beneath a (typically) iron boot don’t even cross his mind. What he’s doing is right, he (or she) knows it. Without a doubt. Its this blind faith and unshakable stubbornness that leads to a Yanquis rolling over or oppressing a people, and thus giving birth to the hero that must stop them.

What separates the Yanquis from some of the more diabolical archetypes is the lack of self-realization. Most of the time this antagonist has little to no idea what he’s doing, and how deleterious and affect he has on his surroundings. A very redeemable and relatable villain, the Yanquis is rarely an arch-villain, although there are occasions when the self-assuredness takes on a colder, darker hue. This manifests as cruelty, sadism, and genocide masquerading as a patriotic pride. This is when the Yanquis can become a truly despicable overarching antagonist, taking all the worst parts of capitalistic endeavor and twisting it into something evil and unforgivable. They typical Yanquis is employed by a much larger, greedier antagonistic force, and he/she will recognize the grievous wounds his fervor has left on his surroundings, leading to an anti-hero turn, or at the very least to undo some of the damage. A relatable villain that can sometimes make the audience painfully self-reflective, some of the most interesting baddies in fictive history are Yanquis, and deserve a place in the pantheon of villainy.

Some famous Yanquis villains:

  • Doc Durant (Hell on Wheels)
  • Cutler Beckett (Pirates of the Caribbean)
  • Governor Ratcliffe (Pocohontas)
  • Bloodbath McGrath (Wild Wild West…my apologies)
  • Major Fambrough (Dances With Wolves)
  • Dynamic Man (The Twelve)


4 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge – Y

  1. lol, yes, the Yankees are evil. Can’t believe anyone who isn’t a New Yorker actually roots for them. But anyways, agreed about being a stereotypical American. The vacationer totally describes one of my great aunts that travels the world.. Yes, the lack of self-realization is definitely one of the biggest key points. Been loving reading your descriptions and that you included Governor Ratcliffe who is exactly who I pictured when reading the post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree…the yankees are pure evil. And you’re right yanquis as villains are generally from the US, though mostly in the past (at least in the stories I’ve seen)…where authors can be more clear of the villainous intent without it turning into a current political battle on issues – which is good and bad. Good in that more people can enjoy the story without arguing over politics and Bad in that there are several issues that should be argued about, discussed, and fixed in our own time.

    Liked by 1 person

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