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Myths and Culture

Theories of Myths

I need some help understanding myths and theories.

Write a 900 word paper summation and apply theories of myth to selected creation myths.
The book Myth & Knowing discusses a variety of theoretical approaches scholars use to better understand mythology. Select three of those theories and summarize them in your own words. Then, compare two creation myths using the theories you summarized to explain how each creation myth functions in the culture in which it is a part. Conclude your essay by reflecting on these theories to help explain the cultural function of myths in general.

Format your paper according to APA standards.

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Theories of Myths

Why are myths so important in understanding a people, a tribe a culture? Myth comes from the Greek word 'mythos' which simply means story or word. Before histories and books on fiction, fact or fantasy were ever written, man from the earliest days told stories to each other and for each other to communicate, reassure, share and make sense of their realities. Myths enact and present a narrative of how a character lives out or goes through an event or a set of events. Myths have now come to symbolize a particular genre of fiction along the lines of legends and folktales - important aspects of meaning-making and identity-creation in cultures all over the world. Mary Magoulick (2009) defines myths as such, "Myths are symbolic tales of the distant past (often primordial times) that concern cosmogony and cosmology (the origin and nature of the universe), may be connected to belief systems or rituals, and may serve to direct social action and values." William Bascom's 1965 essay cemented the importance of myths on particular cultures revealing how they have become sacred and divine in the belief system of a particular people.

From the above we can gather that myths are important areas and source of sociological, psychological, and even historiographical discourse in our attempt at understanding and learning of the world of our ancestors and the people and civilizations that came before us. From these myths we learn their world views, how they made sense of their realities and how they reacted to and processed natural and social phenomenon. Theories of myths explain the nature, purpose and origins of myths. There are a number of theories that are comparative, psychological and structural in nature and according to Csapo (2005), all myths can be explained by these theories and in doing so explain and express the sociological, psychological, ritualistic and structural underpinnings of the purpose and origins of a particular myth. For this paper, I have chosen the following theories - Max Muller's notion of myths as nature myths, Andrew Lang's notion that all myths are aetiological and Branislow Malinowski's proposition that myths function as a form of charter.

Max Muller's Nature Myths

Muller (Scarburough, ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a 1,681-word essay that presents and explains different theories of myths via the comparison and contrast of two creation myths to explore how they are relevant to the establishment of cultural identity and practices. References are listed for expansion, a word version of the solution is attached for easy printing and download.

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