WHAT IS MYTH? • A traditional, typically ancient, story dealing with supernatural, ancestors or heroes in the worldview of a people by explaining the natural world, customs or ideals of that society (i.e. creation stories, Prometheus)
WHAT IS MYTH? • A popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal (I.e. John Wayne, JFK, Ghandi) • Myth is a body of story that matters
Myth as Literary Theory • Mythological criticism is used to identify the recurrent universal patterns underlying most literary works • Uses archetypes to create meaning (which most of the time is shared experience) • Carl Jung (Swiss psychologist): • we all share a "'collective unconscious (primal memories common to the human race based on basic primordial experiences -such as the sun, moon, fire, night, and blood, • archetypes "trigger the collective unconscious."
Myth as Literary Theory • Joseph Campbell (American author) – • His ideas reveal psychological truths across many areas of study and cultures • monomythic structure - the commonality of archetypes appearing in myth, legends, folklore of all cultures (I.e. the hero of a 1000 faces) • The Hero Journey – a hero must go on a journey (can be internal or external) that includes a departure, journey and return