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Getting Ready for the Final Exam. Course Summary. The Functions of Myth. The nature of the world Code of behavior Life Stages Relationship to the divine. Function of “Telling Stories”. Rehearsing ideas in a social context Presenting culture specific realizations of mythic themes

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the functions of myth
The Functions of Myth
  • The nature of the world
  • Code of behavior
  • Life Stages
  • Relationship to the divine
function of telling stories
Function of “Telling Stories”
  • Rehearsing ideas in a social context
  • Presenting culture specific realizations of mythic themes
  • Critiquing the problems of society
stories have two levels
Stories have two levels
  • Literal
    • The plot
    • The setting
    • The characters
  • Figurative
    • Metaphors
    • Symbols
    • Allegory
example gilgamesh
Example: Gilgamesh
  • Be brave
  • Serve your people
  • Don’t fear death
example beowulf
Example: Beowulf
  • Be brave
  • Serve your people
  • Don’t fear death
example bhagavad gita
Example: BhagavadGita
  • Be brave
  • Serve God
  • Don’t fear death
sundiata
Sundiata
  • Be brave
  • Serve your people
  • Don’t fear death
implied social critique
Implied Social Critique
  • Stories address some crisis
  • Tension makes them interesting
knowing cultural background
Knowing cultural background
  • Myths are about the human condition:
    • Fear (be brave)
    • Selfishness (serve others)
    • Mortality (accept death)
we tell myths to do specific cultural critique as well
We tell myths to do specific cultural critique as well
  • Kings should not abuse their people or blaspheme the gods
  • People shouldn’t steal gold from other people’s hordes
  • Kings shouldn’t invade other people territory and interfere with the line of succession
power of myth
Power of Myth
  • Speaks to human condition
  • Applicable across time and culture
speaks to individual cultures
Speaks to individual cultures
  • The reader must also understand the implied cultural critique
  • The reader must also understand the cultural context
    • History
    • Religion
superheroes historical context
Superheroes: Historical Context

Real history

Fictional history

superheroes religious context
Superheroes: Religious Context
  • Judeo-Christian underpinning
  • Modern ecumenical
  • Global crisis of faith
    • doubt and conflict
  • Nietzsche: God is dead
    • unsettling of shared belief
  • Separation from the traditional divine
    • Superheroes are not in direct contact with the divine
  • Rise of personal agency
post modernism
Post Modernism
  • A pastiche of conflicting genres
  • The only constant is change
humans still need myths and heroes
Humans still need myths and heroes
  • Star Wars
    • Classic hero’s journey
    • Bad guys have to be faceless (and ultimately non-human)
  • Wall-E
    • Classic hero’s journey
    • Bad guy is a computer
  • Avatar
    • Classic hero’s journey
    • Bad guys are corporate eco-busters
frank miller s batman
Frank Miller’s Batman
  • Batman and Superman
    • Classic hero
    • Modern hero (flawed)
  • Frank Miller’s Batman and Superman
    • Social critique
    • Hero critique
as you read
As you read:
  • Keep a chart of behavior for Batman and Superman
    • Heroic -- Not Heroic
  • Note social critique
    • what is Miller upset about in his culture.
    • Age? Justice? Politics?
how to read a graphic novel
How to Read a Graphic Novel
  • Look at how the panels are arranged and how they relate to each other.
  • Note the emotion evoked by the drawing style
  • Read the word balloons and panel action from right to left, from up to down.
  • Don’t think this will take less time to read than an all-word novel! You have to read the pictures as well as the words.